Beating the Big Chill: How to Save Your Skin from Winter’s Woes

We all know what happens when that snowy season approaches. As the winds pick up and the air dries out, our skin’s moisture levels plummet just like the temperature outside. No better, all the steps we take to stay warm end up harming our skin even more! The dry heat pumping inside our homes and those long, hot showers we like to take certainly aren’t doing our skin any favors.

The good news is that there are indeed some easy ways to combat and prevent winter dryness. Here are my best tips:

1 Humidify
If there is one piece of advice I cannot emphasize enough, it is to invest in a good humidifier. Humidifiers pump moisture back into the air, which helps protect your skin from drying out. The best part is the machine does the work for you, while you sleep and work and go about your business. I recommend keeping one under your desk and by your bed. The new (and very sexy!) Dyson Humidifier is my pick. It exposes every drop of water to UVC technology (ultraviolet C light), which kills 99.9% of bacteria, projecting clean, hydrated air around the room quietly and evenly. I bought mine at dyson.com and it is worth every penny.

2 Skip the Soap
Start by limiting showers to once a day, and using lukewarm water rather than hot. If you can take a bath rather than a shower, do. Baths are better because water evaporates off your skin in the shower, while during bath your skin is soaking in and absorbing that water. The big secret here though is to put down the soap. Yes, really! During my dermatology residency training, my Program Director used to always say, “No soap is good soap!” And it’s true. It’s that indulgent lather that dries out our skin. During winter, I recommend avoiding liquid soap and body washes at all costs. In places where one must use a little soap, make it a good old-fashioned bar of Dove Sensitive soap. For the face, I prefer Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser (or Skinceuticals Daily Wash*, if you want something a little fancier.)

3 Lock in Moisture
Immediately after your shower or bath, gently pat dry and liberally apply moisturizing lotion (the richer the better) to the entire body while the skin is still damp. This “soak and smear” technique locks in the moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. I keep a big tub of Cetaphil Moisturising Cream on hand at all times and lather my body in it after every shower. I do the same thing to my kids. (We’ve turned this into a fun process they like to call “getting juiced up”. Whatever works! They love it.) For a more elegant and ceremide-rich body lotion, I’m obsessed with Neocutis Bio-Body Bio-Restorative Cream *.  It’s like liquid silk on your skin.

For the face, I recommend a richer moisturizer in winter months. I could not live without my Neocutis BioCream*, which I apply twice a day. And don’t forget to keep up with SPF sunscreen, even if the sun isn’t shining. UV rays filter through clouds and reflect off surfaces all around us all the time! Not only are those rays cancer-causing and photo-aging, but they can also prevent skin from holding on to moisture. For day protection, I wear Neocutis Journee* on my face.  And to prevent chapped lips, there is nothing like Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 (in the jar, not the tube!) I keep one in my handbag, one in my car, one at my desk, and one in the bathroom. Wear it religiously like I do and you’ll have soft and supple lips all winter long.

*You can purchase any of these products from our office at your next visit.

Stay soft this season,

Dr. Dolder

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