The cold and dry winter months often lead to uncomfortable and dry skin. To keep your skin happy and healthy this winter, follow some of these key tips:
- Switch to Warm Showers – Hot water and soap strip your skin of the natural oils that keep the skin hydrated.
- Moisturize Within 3 Minutes of Bathing – Emollients in moisturizers saturate the skin to keep it hydrated, and moisturizing before you completely dry will help keep some of that hydration throughout the day.
- Check the Ingredients – Look for products containing ingredients that help moisturize and protect your skin like glycerin, lanolin, urea or Hyaluronic acid.
- Don’t Forget the Top of Your Hands! – The top of our hands is covered by a thin layer of skin that may need extra attention. Consistent use of hand sanitizers can really dry out this delicate area. Try to limit the hand sanitizer to the bottom of your hands when possible to minimize dryness.
Coconut oil has become a very popular moisturizing tool in the last few years because it can penetrate the deeper layers of skin. Unfortunately, it can also aggravate sensitive skin when used by itself in large amounts. For those who are acne prone, have sensitive skin or combination skin, it may be best to add a drop or two to your moisturizer to minimize irritation. If you like to use home remedies and natural ingredients, you can put together a Greek yogurt face mask to help hydrate and promote skin turnover. Just add honey and mashed avocado to the yogurt, and you have an easy DIY face mask!
If you’re lucky enough to go on a beach vacation to escape the cold, don’t forget to pack sunscreen! In fact, it’s good idea to apply sunscreen before you leave the house to avoid getting a sunburn while you are traveling. For those staying home this winter, it’s also a good idea to keep sunscreen in your daily routine, as snow can reflect UV rays as well. UV rays are especially harsh in spring when the sun is closest to the earth, so getting in the habit of applying sunscreen can save your skin from damage when you least expect it.
Dr. Natalie Depcik-Smith is a dermatopathologist and the medical director of the Melanoma Treatment Center at the Cone Health Cancer Center. She is also the Director of Dermatopathology at Greensboro Pathology Associates. Dr. Depcik-Smith earned her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She then completed a one-year internship in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, a four-year residency in pathology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and a one-year fellowship in dermatopathology at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Depcik-Smith has over twelve years of experience in cancer research.