Cold and dry weather can significantly impact skin, with some of the most common concerns being cracking, chaffed skin and flare-ups of conditions like dry skin and eczema. Especially if you spend time outdoors or participate in winter sports, it’s important to know the steps in a proper winter skincare routine to help keep skin hydrated, healthy and protected from UV rays during those harsh winter months!
Swap in seasonally appropriate products
“Just like a wardrobe, products in a skincare routine are seasonal,” said Dr. Mian. Unlike humid summer air filled with moisture, dry winter air dehydrates the skin, so preventing moisture loss is key to keeping skin healthy throughout the winter. Swap your moisturizer from a lotion to a heavier cream or ointment and use a gentle, hydrating cleanser.
Replenish the skin barrier with effective ingredients
“Cold, dry air and harsh winter conditions can cause a compromised skin barrier, resulting in skin that’s more susceptible to inflammation and moisture loss,” said Dr. Mian. “Our skin barrier contains ceramides, which function as the glue holding your skin cells together, sealing moisture in and keeping irritants out. So, when natural levels in the skin become depleted, it’s important to look for skincare products that contain ceramides to replenish your skin barrier. Remember that restoring and maintaining a healthy skin barrier is key all year-round but especially in the winter!”
Dr. Mian also recommends looking for products with hyaluronic acid, a key ingredient that helps attract and retain skin’s natural moisture. “If experiencing a winter itch due to dryness, look for a steroid-free topical anesthetic such as pramoxine hydrochloride to help combat itchiness,” said Dr. Mian.
Say goodbye to winter dry
An essential tip for winter skincare is preventing dryness before it happens, especially for areas most exposed to the winter elements, like hands. If dryness or cracking does occur, soothe irritated skin with a petrolatum-based balm like CeraVe Healing Ointment. This skin protectant is formulated with three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to provide intense hydration and help restore the skin’s barrier to relieve chafed, chapped or cracked skin. To help treat chafing and dryness on the go, Dr. Mian recommends keeping a travel size in bags or pockets to reapply throughout the day after being outdoors.
Take warm (not hot!) showers
“Dryness can trigger inflammation, which has a snowball effect on irritation,” said Dr. Mian. “To keep skin hydrated and to prevent these flare-ups, take shorter, lukewarm showers and use gentle, hydrating cleansing products that are free of fragrances, which can also cause irritation. Afterward, immediately apply a moisturizer to damp skin to lock in moisture.”
For those areas that are extra dry, Dr. Mian proposes trying a skincare method called slugging to help seal in hydration by applying an occlusive product (something that has sealing qualities and forms a barrier on the skin’s surface) like the CeraVe Healing Ointment on top of a thick moisturizer. The slugging process works to prevent transepidermal water loss, so skin stays hydrated and the skin barrier is protected and allowed to repair itself. If done before bed, Dr. Mian suggests wearing gloves and socks after application to allow the ointment to soak in.
Don’t forget the SPF
Even though the UV index is lower in the winter, skin is still exposed to ultraviolet light throughout the day. For outdoor enthusiasts, snow can be a big cause of sunburns as the surface reflects UV rays, leading to sun damage and burns. Whether you are outside for hours or only a few minutes, be sure to apply a protective sunscreen prior to any UV exposure. SPF is a year-round essential!
For additional skincare tips and to research products ideal for your skin’s needs, visit CeraVe.com.