The winter season comes with its share of festive fun, from ice skating to cozy fireside gatherings. However, when that harsh weather sets in, it can leave your skin in the lurch.
Just as you switch out your wardrobe from bikinis and board shorts to tweeds and topcoats – your skin care regimen needs to be adjusted according to the new blustery temps.
A visit to a dermatologist can be beneficial. They can assist you with selecting the right products for your skin type (based on season). In addition, there are many other tips and tricks for caring for common skin conditions when the mercury drops.
- Water, Cleansers & Moisturizers. Dry, scaly skin is hard to avoid once the weather gets frightful. It can be caused by a variety of factors, from harsh indoor heating, which sucks the moisture out of your skin, to gusts of wind and sleet that leave skin chapped. Don’t discount your ability to mitigate these effects with a few simple precautions. It may seem tempting to take long, hot baths or showers, but resist! Hot water can actually exacerbate dry skin problems and cause skin to itch, flake, and crack. Instead, opt for lukewarm water, and limit your bath time to ten minutes. Get your hands on a gentle, unscented cleanser that will clean without stripping the skin of its natural, healthy oils. Before getting dressed, it’s wise to apply a cream to seal in some much-needed moisture; this will keep you comfortable throughout the day.
- Cover and Protect. Eczema is one skin condition that flares up frequently in winter months. The hands and face are particularly prone to this condition, as they’re often exposed to the elements. Wrap up as much as possible and pay attention to which areas are most vulnerable. If your hands get chapped, make it your mantra to never leave the house without gloves. The National Eczema Association endorses topical corticosteroids for their ability to fight the inflammation and itch associated with skin woes.
- Vitamin D. Many people don’t know that vitamin D can help repair the effects of eczema. Unfortunately, time spent indoors, and harsh weather doesn’t leave much room for soaking up the sun’s rays. Supplement with a daily dose of vitamin D, which can improve your eczema or atopic dermatitis. Consult your dermatologist to see if they recommend this type of regimen for you.
- You can’t control mother nature, but you can become the master of your domain. Get yourself a humidifier, which can help counteract dry indoor heat and consequently improve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. According to experts, the ideal humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent. Keep your distance from radiators, heating vents, and fireplaces.
- Keep Your Immune System Strong. If you didn’t get your flu shot this winter season, it’s not too late. Certain skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis have an immune system element to them, meaning that when your immunity is compromised, your skin can fare worse. Contracting bacterial, viral, or fungal infections (courtesy of a dirty subway handle or sick co-worker) can cause flare ups of autoimmune diseases such as eczema. If your physician advises you to, get your flu shot and, as always, wash those hands regularly.
Are you looking for more ways to fight the effects of skin conditions this winter? Make a visit to the Children’s Skin Center, South Florida’s premier dermatology practice that serves adults and children. Run by board-certified dermatologists and certified physician assistants, the facility offers a host of cutting-edge treatments and the promise of effective, compassionate care. For more information, call (305) 669-6555.