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What You Can Do To Combat Dry Cold Air

Woman in cold weather

Each season has its own challenges when it comes to skincare, and winter is no different! The cold, dry air can cause acne flare-ups, chapped lips, rashes, and can be especially difficult for those with conditions like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. With the cold months upon us, we have a few tips for keeping your skin protected and healthy all winter long. This list from the American Academy of Dermatology outlines everything you need to know!

Simple changes can soothe dry skin

Following the same skincare routine year-round may not work so well when the humidity drops. Without a change in your skincare, dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Dry, itchy skin can flake, crack, and even bleed. To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, dermatologists recommend the following.

  1. Avoid taking baths and showers that are too hot to prevent exacerbating dry skin:
    • Close the bathroom door.
    • Use warm rather than hot water.
    • Limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes.
    • Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser.
    • Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil, and avoid using so much that you see a thick lather.
    • Blot your skin gently dry with a towel.
    • Slather on the moisturizer immediately after drying your skin.
  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of:
    • Drying off after a shower or bath
    • Washing your face or hands
  3. Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Look for a cream or ointment that contains one or more of the following ingredients:
    • Jojoba oil
    • Dimethicone
    • Glycerin
    • Hyaluronic acid
    • Lactic acid
    • Lanolin
    • Mineral oil
    • Petrolatum
    • Shea butter
  4. Winter skincare tip: Wear lip balm. Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that is fragrance-free. 
  5. Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products. Some skin care products, such as deodorants and soaps, are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. Dermatologists recommend using products labeled “fragrance-free.” If you see the word “unscented,” the product can contain chemicals that neutralize or hide the odors of other ingredients. These chemicals can irritate dry, sensitive skin:
    • Alcohol (except for hand sanitizer)
    • Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)
    • Fragrance, including deodorant soaps
    • Retinoids
    • Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.
  6. Wear gloves. Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you:
    • Go outdoors in winter.
    • Perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet.
    • Get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands.
  7. Choose non-irritating clothes and fragrance-free laundry detergent. When our skin is dry and raw, even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating. To avoid this:
    • Wear cotton or silk under any clothing made of wool or another material that feels rough.
    • Use laundry detergent labeled “hypoallergenic.”
  8. Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source. Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat sources can dry your skin. Add moisture to the air. Plug in a humidifier. If you can, check your home heating system to find out if you have a humidifier on the system — and whether it’s working.

When to see a SkinMD Provider 

Your skin should start to feel better quickly. If these changes do not bring relief, you may want to see a provider at SkinMD. Very dry skin can require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin also can be a sign of a skin condition that needs treatment. Your SkinMD Provider can examine your skin and explain what can help reduce your discomfort. For medical appointments, you can book appointments online at a SkinMD location near you! For cosmetic treatments like cosmetic peels, call our office to schedule an appointment at 708-636-3767.


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