Once again, winter is right around the corner. New York winters can be particularly harsh on the skin. Are you prepped with winter skin care basics?
The most foundational element of winter skin care is plenty of moisturizer. This goes for anyone with any skin type -- normal, dry, oily, or combination. We all need to moisturize, and not just in winter, but year-round.
If you’re not already cleansing once or twice a day and using a moisturizer that’s appropriate for your skin type, now is a good time to start. Don’t wait until winter weather cracks and dries out your skin to start adding moisture. Get your skin used to high-quality skincare products and a daily regimen now.
There are water-based and oil-based options, so find what works best for you, or ideally use a combination of both. Look for humectants, which draw in water molecules from the air, attracting moisture naturally. These products might contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. You can also look for emollients, which are a little thicker and greasier, so are best applied at night. Emollients are great for rough spots like lips, elbows, knees, and feet, too. Occlusives, which contain natural oils, will help seal in moisture by creating a protective layer over the skin.
This is a pretty simple way to take care of skin (as well as your respiratory system), but it’s often overlooked. Invest in a humidifier to prevent dry skin and help boost the air quality in your home. Don’t wait until the dead of winter to buy one -- they’re often hard to find in dry winter months.
Some people opt for a small, silent humidifier to put beside the bed, which can hydrate your skin overnight. Most have low and high mist settings depending on your preference. You can size up based on the size of your room.
While the majority of people will suffer with some sort of dry skin in winter, those who have an existing eczema condition can be hit especially hard. Ensure you have the right types of products on hand -- plenty of moisturizers, body lotions, and hand creams. Look for hypoallergenic and gentle products made for sensitive skin so you don’t add to irritation.
Prepare yourself for outdoor activities and day-to-day exposure to cold weather. Make sure you’ve got plenty of layers on hand, as you’ll want to bundle up and cover any areas that are prone to eczema flare-ups. Cotton clothing is ideal because it’s soft and breathable -- steer clear of wool if you can.
Finally, have supplies on hand to treat flare-ups. Calamine lotion and OTC hydrocortisone creams can help soothe the itch. A cold compress is another way to relieve pain or itching from an eczema rash.
If you have psoriasis, a skin disease resulting from inflammation, you need to take extra precautions for wintertime. Psoriasis causes patches of red, itchy skin with shiny scales. Being armed with plenty of moisturizer is going to be key for the winter months.
But if you already know that you tend to need topical medications -- with compounds like synthetic vitamin D, tar, or anthralin -- it’s a good idea to refill any prescriptions or contact your dermatologist as soon as you can. There’s nothing worse than making a trip to the pharmacy in a snowstorm with a painful psoriasis rash because you didn’t prepare ahead of time.
If you’re looking for help with winter skin, or have concerns about eczema or psoriasis, contact Vanguard Dermatology today. Making an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists in the greater New York City area is the first step to finding the right treatments and skincare routines for you.