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Winterizing Your Skin

Lotion on Skin

Summertime skin care is the frequent focus of fashion magazines and lotion companies. But what are some good, overall tips for wintertime skin care?

David Smart, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist at University of Utah Health, offers a helpful list of things to do to keep your skin healthy year-round.

The Two Most Important Aspects of Skin Care

"The two most important aspects of general skin care are sun protection and moisturization," Smart says. "Nothing prematurely ages your skin quite like sun damage."

1. Sun Protection

Sun damage causes skin to be blotchy, saggy and wrinkly sooner than it should. And in the winter, many people don't adequately protect themselves from sun exposure. The sun seems less threatening because winter sun isn't hot, but Smart warns it's still damaging the skin.

"The little bit of sun exposure day-by-day makes a bigger difference overall than one or two beach vacations," he explains. "Sun protection should be part of your daily routine to avoid accumulating damage."

2. Moisturization

Moisturization is the next step to healthy skin. Besides cold and dry outdoor air, central heating systems also can dry out the skin. Lotion hydrates skin cells and rehydrates the outer protective layer. Smart recommends a daily face lotion that includes SPF 30 and blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

"To help keep the skin healthy, apply lotion after a warm shower or bath, when the skin is prime to absorb it," Smart says. "It's also important to remember to use face lotion on your face and body lotion on the body. The water-to-oil ratio is different in body versus face lotion, and using them interchangeably could give you undesirable and less effective results."

The ingredients in your skin and lotions also may be key to keeping your skin healthy. Retinol (a vitamin A derivative) helps to lessen wrinkles and lighten brown spots. And vitamins A, C and E can help protect the skin from harsh winter weather.

Diet also is a factor in healthy skin. First, it's important to stay well-hydrated to help your skin feel healthier and stronger. And Smart says you should also keep your diet rich in antioxidants, such as selenium (found in shrimp, lamb, snapper, halibut, tuna and salmon) and CoQ12 (in fish, poultry and whole grains).

And, surprisingly, caffeine and green tea can reduce puffiness under the eyes.

"Caffeine wakes you up in the morning and it can also help revive your skin. The caffeine stimulates collagen production and gives skin that healthy bounce," the doctor says.

Make sure your skin stays nourished and soft so it is in prime condition springtime.