With the coldest months of the year just around the corner, it is important to understand the ways in which cooler temperatures and a drier climate can cause adverse reactions in our skin. This month, we will share some skincare tips from Vanguard dermatologists for ensuring that your skin remains healthy, hydrated, and protected throughout the winter.
Are You Experiencing the Winter Itch?
While it is vital to the health and function of the skin to maintain proper skin hydration throughout all seasons, skin moisture is most at risk of evaporating during the driest days of winter. The combination of low humidity, cold winds, and indoor heating culminates in what is commonly referred to as the “winter itch.” But the issues surrounding moisture loss run much deeper than the dry, flaky, itchy surface of our skin.
A Healthy Moisture Barrier in Protecting the Skin from Environmental Stress
As we go about our daily lives, our skin absorbs the brunt of many of our routine activities. Environmental stress brought on by things such as prolonged sun exposure, extreme weather, sudden variations in temperature, air travel, and pollution all act to weaken our skin’s natural moisture barrier and can cause harm to both the inner and outermost layers of our skin.
By using products that are formulated to strengthen and protect your skin’s moisture barrier, you can drastically improve not only the physical appearance and feel of your skin, but also the underlying processes that serve to maintain optimum skin health and guard against many potential ailments.
4 Tips for Keeping Your Skin Healthy in Cold Weather
- Moisturize: The obvious answer to dry skin is to use a topical moisturizer, but choosing the right moisturizer isn’t always easy. Some products do little more than offer temporary relief that washes off easily, while others contain ingredients that sink deep into the skin and keep the skin moisturized throughout the day, while also preventing unnecessary water loss.
Products such as Surge (which is formulated with a combination of plant-based squalane, fatty acid, cholesterol, and a ceramide) and Recovery Lotion (which contains hyaluronic acid – an ingredient favored by Vanguard’s dermatologists for its ability to bind up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water) help retain the skin’s natural moisture levels while easing the discomfort associated with dry, sensitive, compromised skin.
If you need a low-cost option for your skin, Vanguard dermatologists’ recommendations include Cetaphil, CeraVe, and a petrolatum like Aquaphor or Vaseline.
- Avoid Skin Products with Fragrances: While it may be tempting to reach for a lotion or cream with a pleasant scent, many of the chemicals used in products to provide those fragrances cause more harm than good. Fragrances and other harmful additives can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, inflammation, and chronic dryness; and these ingredients can even cause the skin to become drier and more irritated.
For this reason, both the clara and focus lines of skincare products carried at shopclara.com (Vanguard’s retail store) are 100% fragrance- and paraben-free.
- Wear Your Sunscreen, No Matter the Season or Weather: Although it may seem counterintuitive to apply sunscreen when you plan on staying indoors or on days that are overcast, the harmful effects of UV rays are ever-present, no matter the time of year. While windows, clothing, and clouds can block some UVB rays (the form of radiation that causes sunburns), they do not block UVA rays, which penetrate deep within the skin to cause the development of skin cancers, as well as signs of premature aging.
- Use a Humidifier in Your Bedroom: Winter often means your heater is on, which causes the air in the house to become even drier. Vanguard’s dermatologists recommend using a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air, especially while you sleep at night.
Experienced Dermatologists in Colorado
If the above tips aren’t helping to keep your skin moist and healthy this wintertime, we’re here to help.
Schedule a complimentary consultation at clara by calling (719) 579-5555. Our Skin Consultants can meet with you in person or virtually to provide tips on your winter skincare regimen.
For more significant dermatology issues or for a skin checkup, schedule an office visit in person or virtually with a trusted Vanguard dermatologist or a dermatology advanced practitioner by calling (719) 355-1585.
Vanguard Skin Specialists began as a Colorado Springs dermatology practice and now has additional offices in Canon City, Pueblo, and Woodland Park. Vanguard specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, and we also offer general dermatology, plastic surgery, and aesthetic medicine.
Clara is the retail skincare division of Vanguard Skin Specialists, offering medical-grade skincare products recommended by Vanguard’s dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Clara donates all profits to charities supporting women and children here and around the world.