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It’s official… winter weather is here so it’s time to prepare your skin to get ready for the coming frigid temperatures and cold winds.
According to Dr. Margo Weishar of Springhouse Dermatology in Philadelphia, PA, “When winter arrives and the heat goes on, the humidity in the air drops and the skin dries out. Wind can also cause the outer layer to flake and shed, and this loss of moisture in the outer layer of the skin causes it to look dull and grey. It’s more important than ever to focus on gently exfoliating away the surface of the skin, adding lots of moisture, and of course, never forgetting the sunscreen!”
Wind in particular increases the effects of cold temperature, leading to frost-nip or frostbite that causes ongoing burning, itching and sensitivity upon future exposure. Windy conditions can also affect the outer protective layer (technically called the stratum corneum), and in turn reduce some of your skin’s natural sun protection, which leaves it more prone to burning from UV rays, which can still be intense even on a sunny day in the winter. For those planning holiday getaways to mountainous winter destinations, Dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay of San Antonio, Texas adds, “UV exposure is increased while skiing in high altitudes and amplified by the reflection caused by snow.”
Dr. Weishar says, “Protecting your skin includes using moisturizing balms that can help keep the outer layer intact before you are exposed to the elements, in addition to good broad-spectrum zinc-based sunscreen that offers excellent sun protection.” Her winter skincare recommendations include Restoresea Pro products (available through select dermatologists), which offer gentle enzymatic exfoliation without causing irritation, and Avene’s Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream, because “It’s a wonderful barrier moisturizer that can really protect the skin on cold, windy days.”
Dr. Bucay also emphasizes the importance of body care during winter months, since artificial indoor heat lacks the humidity skin needs. “Though your skin may be covered up by layers of clothing, it can still be profoundly affected by limited humidity that can lead to dryness and itching. It’s best to avoid hot showers and apply a rich moisturizer while the skin is still damp after showering to lock in moisture,” she says. Glycolix Elite 15% body lotion has 15% glycolic acid to help exfoliate dull, dead skin cells and maintain fresh, healthy-looking skin. “This oil-free hydrating body lotion is enhanced with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as antioxidant green tea and CoQ-10 to keep skin in great shape all year round,” says Dr. Bucay.
As you round out your skincare regimen in preparation for winter weather and trips to high-altitude locales, consider a few more essential product additions to keep your skin happy and healthy from head to toe.
Defenage 2-Minute Reveal Masque is another favorite of Dr. Bucay’s to exfoliate, brighten and refresh winter skin in no time flat. “This masque features a blend of non-irritating enzymes and sugar crystals that melt as they are massaged into the skin to avoid over-exfoliation, use this mask once or twice a week to keep fresh, healthy cells on the skin’s surface all winter long,” says Dr. Bucay.
Winter doesn’t mean you get to store away your SPF til the seasons change either. ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is one of our favorites whether you’re on the slopes or simply running around town. This powerful sunscreen is fast-absorbing, non-greasy, water- and sweat-resistant formula leaves skin with a matte finish, much-needed moisture and unparalleled UV protection that also shields against damaging high-energy visible (HEV) and infrared (IR-A) rays.