Winter Skincare Tips
The holidays and winter weather are here! Sweaters, scarves, festive food and drink, and holiday cheer make these months, as the song says, “… the most wonderful time of the year!” Unfortunately, the cool, dry air can sometimes leave our skin a little less than perfect. Here are some easy skincare tips to keep your skin looking fresh for the holidays!
Skip the loofa and use a gentle, fragrance-free soap – Loofas can be abrasive and cause micro-injuries to the skin that disrupt our natural barrier function. Use a gentle, pH balanced soap (pH from 4-6) sparingly that does not have fragrance. Soaps that do not fall within the physiologic pH range of the skin (pH~ 4.5-5.5) will strip the skin of the natural oils / lipids and cause water loss from the skin. Fragrances can often cause skin allergies and are best avoided, especially when the skin is dry or open.
Keep your skin moisturized – After you get out of the shower, pat your skin dry and use a thicker moisturizing crème (rather than a lotion) to seal the moisture into your skin. Creams are water-in-oil emulsions and help hydrate the skin longer than lotions, which are primarily water based. At CDAM we like creams with ceramides, which are natural lipid molecules that help repair the barrier function of the skin and seal-in water. If your skin is particularly dry with scaling and flaking you may need to apply an occlusive, petrolatum-based barrier ointment. The latter are the most effective topical products at preventing water loss from the skin. If you notice an itchy, raised, and red rash this may be a form of eczema and need a prescription steroid to calm down the inflammation in the skin.
Keep those lips smooth – Don’t be distracted by the hype! There are an array of products out there that claim to be the best for your dry, cracked lips. Keep it simple and apply an occlusive petrolatum-based product, like Vaseline. The latter is occlusive and is the most effective way to keep your lips plump with moisture during the winter months. Many lip preparations are full of ingredients that can cause allergy and increase scaling and flaking.
For a dewy glow – To keep your facial skin dewy and glowing during the winter months you will need extra moisturizing, morning and night (and even throughout the day). Make sure your facial moisturizer is non-comedogenic (does not clog pores). At CDAM we love the Skin Medica Dermal Repair Créme, an elegant cream with antioxidants, Vitamins C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids to restore skin barrier function. HA5 from Skin Medica is an amazing product that contains five forms of hyaluronic acid. Most moisturizers simply work to prevent water loss, but HA5 actually changes the biology of your skin by increasing water binding molecules, also known as hyaluronic acid, plumping flat, dull skin and lending the skin a more youthful, hydrated appearance.
Try safflower or sunflower oil – Theses natural oils can be mixed with your moisturizing body cream in the morning to add an extra kick of moisture to the skin. Both are high in linoleic acid, which helps moisturize the skin and accelerate epidermal barrier function repair when the skin is dry.
Humidify – Moisturizing the air in your living space with a humidifier will make a dramatic impact on your skin health and prevent water loss from your skin.
Hydrate from the inside out – Fish oil supplements and certain foods are full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which may be of benefit in a wide array of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis to heart disease. The fatty acids found in fish oils may help improve the barrier function of our skin, so it can better retain its moisture, and their anti-inflammatory effects may help prevent eczema. Be sure to consult your physician prior to starting fish oil supplements, particularly if you are taking any blood thinners.