8 Tips For Winter Skin Care

Cold winters can wreak havoc on our skin.  Cold air often leads to dry skin that can be itchy, flaky, and in some cases red and inflamed.  Proper skin care can go along way toward preventing and treating dry winter skin.  The following guidelines may help keep your skin healthy and hydrated this winter:

1) Avoid long, hot showers.  Everyone loves hot showers, but the hot water dissolves some of the natural moisturizers in our skin that help keep our skin healthy.  Limit showers to 10 minutes or so, and use lukewarm rather than hot water.

2) Avoid soap.  Traditional bar and deodorant soaps remove some of the oils in our skin.  Reserve soap for areas like the groin or underams, and use a gentle liquid cleanser for the body.  Examples include CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Olay 2-in-1 Advanced Ribbons Soothing Cream + Advanced Moisture Body Wash.  

3) Use a gentle liquid cleanser on your face too.  Avoid washing your face with soap.  Examples include CeraVe hydrating cleanser, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Spectro Cleanser and Toleriane Dermo-Nettoyant.

4). Moisturize!!  Generously apply a rich moisturizer within 3 minutes of finishing your shower or bath.  This seals in the moisture from bathing and keeps the skin hydrated.  Examples include CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion and Lipikar Baume.  If your skin is very dry, consider switching from a lotion to a cream.

5) Consider using a moisturizer with SPF for your face.  The sun's rays cause skin aging in both winter and summer (see this post for more information) and daily sunscreen use is our best defence against this.  Examples include Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 and Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer SPF 15.

6) Cover up.  Avoid going outside with wet or moist skin.  Cover exposed areas as best you can using gloves, hats and scarves.

7) Use a humidifier.  Adding a humidifier to your bedroom can be a good way to combat the dry winter air.

8) If your skin is red, flaky, and itchy, and doesn't improve with the use of a moisturizer, you may have developed eczema. See your dermatologist for advice.

Michelle Levy

Dr. Michelle Levy is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and aesthetic dermatology. A graduate of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Levy provides a full spectrum of dermatologic services in Toronto, Canada. Education: M.D., University of Toronto, 1999 Residency in Dermatology, University of Toronto, 1999-2004 Employment History: Self-employed, North York, Ontario, 2005-Present Medcan. Consultant Dermatologist. 2007-Present