Winter Skin Tips

Does the healthy, moist appearance of summer skin disappear in the ‘off season’?

Here are my tips for keeping your skin it’s best when the cold wind blows.  And don’t forget the Sunscreen!

1- Avoid Hot Water– Many believe that taking a hot shower can increase the circulation and make the skin healthier.  The problem is that the hot water removes the important oils on the surface, which are essential to keep your skin healthy.  This protective layer is especially important for those with sensitive skin.  Hot water can lead to skin irritations and rashes as well.  Keep it tepid.

2- Don’t overdo the prescription skin products- I have been managing skin problems and anti-aging management since I began in practice since 1989.  I am not a big proponent of prescription-strength retinoic acid, and I have never written a prescription for that with my patients.  The lower strength products containing retinol provide a more mild mixture, which will cause less irritation.  Patients always think more is better, but irritation is our enemy when it comes to the skin.  Be patient in your rejuvenating home treatments to slowly turn the clock back.

3- Mind your fruits and vegetables- just like grandma always told us, “Eat those fruits and vegetables”!  They help to promote good digestion and are powerful antioxidants to reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin. This can help with those that suffer with acne breakouts as well. Use of Probiotics can help keep your skin clear and adding Vitamin D supplements will help maintain Vitamin D levels throughout the winter months when exposure to UV light is limited.

4- Lymphatic massage- when you wash your skin, take 30 seconds to stimulate lymphatic drainage. Gentle massage in a downward direction can decongest the skin by stimulating the lymphatics.  By promoting lymphatic drainage, one can reduce redness and inflammation thus calming the skin.

5- Scrub the Scrubs!– When I see irritated skin on my patients, my first question is, “how often do you exfoliate with scrubs?”  I can tell right away that something is causing irritation.  I usually recommend using these scrubs no more than once or twice a month.  Rather than using these home scrubs, which push the debris into the skin and create irritation, consider mechanical exfoliation with microdermabrasion at the doctor’s office.  This will lift off the dead skin cells and debris, leaving you with healthy skin receptive to the skin products you apply.

6- Sun Protection-So you think that just because it is winter, the sun won’t create damage? Think again. The earth is actually closest to the sun during the winter months. Add to that, the fact that the snow and ice act to magnify the intensity by reflecting the sun adds to the insult. They reflect about 80% of the UV rays. To top it off, the ozone layer is at it’s thinnest during the summer months, causing more need for concern. Sunblock should be the rule all year, and equally important in the winter!

7-Hydrate-Hydrate-Hydrate!– Did I say HYDRATE?- The dehydrated outside air and forced hot air inside wreak havoc on the skin by drawing out the moisture. Skin not only can become dry and cracked, it can become more aged looking with the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Drinking plenty of water can help, and consider using cream cleanser instead of gels. Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet are great year round, but especially during the winter months to help with hydration and reduce inflammation. Using a super moisturizer is a must to hold in the moisture, and should be applied twice daily, immediately after cleansing. Hyaluronic Acid ingredients are utilized in skin products to hold in moisture by way of their hydrophilic water absorbing properties.

8-Professional Skin Care-Lastly, don’t let your skin get too far-gone. Have a professional hydrating facial every 4 – 6 weeks during the winter months. An experienced esthetician will start off with a skin peel to help exfoliate the build up of dead skin layers from the summer, and then incorporate high-energy iontophoresis and sonophoresis to allow maximum absorption of the products. Enjoy the winter wonderland in Western New York, but don’t forget to protect your skin!

Until Next time….Be Well Buffalo!