Office Of Public Affairs

6 Tips for Winter Skin Care

Jan 12, 2009 9:00 AM

You know it’s winter when your skin starts to feel dry, chapped, and even itchy. Relative humidity is significantly less during winter months and heating systems make indoor air even drier, depleting the skin of moisture and essential oils. According to Payam Tristani, M.D., a University Health Care dermatologist, there are six things people can do to prevent and treat winter skin problems.

Take Cooler, Shorter Showers
Limit the number of long hot baths and showers. Hot baths sap the moisture and natural oils from the skin surface. 

Use Mild Soap
Use non-scented, mild soaps, or cleansers.

Moisturize with Creams
Immediately after a bath, when the skin is well hydrated, is the best time to apply a moisturizer. Creams are preferred over lotions, which are typically water based and quickly evaporate from the skin.

Slather on Sunscreen
Although temperatures are cooler, the skin is still susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) coverage during outdoor activities such as skiing, even on a cloudy day. Most experts recommend reading the list of ingredients in sunscreens because many products labeled as “broad spectrum” or “UVA blockers” do not adequately block UVA rays. For significant UVA protection, sunscreens should contain avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. Reapply often or as directed on the packaging for full protection.

Protect Your Lips
Spread on plenty of lip balm with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more. 

Humidify Indoor Air
Consider using a humidifier. This is particularly important for people with eczema since the condition can become worse with exposure to dry, cold air.

If you develop severe winter itch or eczema, it is probably best to see your dermatologist.

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