Oh the woes of winter skin. It's itchy, scaly—peely. But you can fight back! Here's your foolproof plan with helpful tips from Dr. David E. Bank, founding director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in New York City.
Q: What are the most important things to consider for my skin as the winter gets into full gear?
A: It is important to moisturize your face no matter the time of year, but it is imperative during the winter months. If you already have dry skin, you should up the amount of times you apply per day, but the key here is to not skip over your décolletage. Your neck ages too and needs to be moisturized daily.
· Drink coconut water. This elixir will hydrate your body and help lock in moisture.
· Skip the soap. Soap strips the significant lipids and proteins that make up a healthy skin barrier. Instead, use a hydrating cleanser for the face and body to protect and replenish the skin.
· Be sure to use sunscreen all year round. One of the most important things to keep your skin healthy is to use sunscreen with UV protection every day of the year.
Q: Should my nighttime regimen change?
A: In the winter months, nighttime is the best time to repair and treat your skin. Cleanse and use moisturizers with essential vitamins to nurture the skin during sleep. You may need heavier moisturizers to help provide extra protection in the winter.
Q: Do I really need SPF protection in the winter?
A: Skin damage occurs based on the cumulative amount of sun exposure that you have every day, and it keeps adding up. You should wear SPF even in the winter months, because your skin is still exposed to the sun. Even on cloudy days, the damaging rays of the sun go right through the clouds. Wearing SPF protection should become part of everyone’s daily skin care regime.
Q: How often should I be applying moisturizer?
A: Using a moisturizer on a regular basis can be the answer to getting smooth and silky skin. The best times to apply it: after you bathe, shave, or exfoliate. For most people, this could be every day. Be sure to moisturize your face after cleansing it. For your hands and body, apply moisturizer whenever it’s necessary, including after spending time outside in the winter.
Q: Should I be consuming more or less of anything to prep my skin for the cold weather?
A: Alcohol, rich foods, and a lack of sleep are things that can be harsh on your skin, especially around the holidays. To avoid breakouts, also cut back on simple sugars and carbohydrates.
Q: Are there any especially nourishing ingredients I should look for, or any I should avoid?
A: Use a thicker moisturizer and a milder, gentler cleanser. Balms and oil cleansers make a nice change from the lighter-weight gels and milky cleansers used in summer. Nourishing ingredients to look for in winter skin products include olive oil, coconut oil, borage oil, cocoa butter and shea butter. Choose a petroleum-free product to avoid skin showing signs of clogging.