Our skin changes along with the seasons, which often results in that feeling of dry and uncomfortable (even itchy) winter skin. Along with the feeling of parched skin, conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are prone to flare-ups. In this article, we discuss the root of these skin changes as well as recommendations on how patients in Oakville and the surrounding communities can benefit by winterizing their skin.
Why is skin drier in the winter?
As the mercury descends, so does the humidity in the air. This results in moisture loss in the skin. This moisture loss is further exacerbated by indoor heating systems. These harsh conditions can lead to microscopic cracks in the stratum corneum or top layer of the skin. The natural moisture that is found in between the skin cells is lost through these fissures, causing a cascade effect of dryness. If left unaddressed, this dryness can lead to patches of eczema or dermatitis on various areas of the body.
For psoriasis sufferers, the winter weather often marks a worsening of their symptoms. The cold weather paired with heightened stress levels over the holidays and psoriasis medications that suppress the immune system can lead to intense flare-ups.
How to manage and prevent winter skin dryness.
Bearing in mind the triggers for dry skin, here are some simple steps to comfort and protect the skin over the winter months.
Avoid hot baths and showers. While this may be a tall order for some, reducing the temperature of shower and bath water will prevent the skin from drying out.
Avoid temperature extremes. Try not to stay out in the cold for too long and conversely, stay clear of sitting right next to a heat source such as a heater or fireplace.
Make some adjustments to your skincare routine. Use a soap-free cleanser and use a moisturizer that is rich in plant ceramides to nourish and bind moisture to the skin. For men who shave with a razor, consider a creamy shave medium that is free of artificial fragrance, dyes and lanolin, which can be irritating to the skin.
Exfoliate. Regular in-office clinical peels and at-home exfoliation under the guidance of a skincare expert can be very helpful in managing dry skin. By removing the upper layer of dead and damage skin cells, nourishing ingredients and humectants in your skincare products can penetrate the skin more effectively. The key is to have just the right balance of exfoliation, as overdoing it can thin the skin and lead to sensitivity and increased moisture loss.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The skin on your body, face, eyes, lips, as well as the nails, hair and scalp, which are extensions of the skin, deserve extra attention and care through the winter months. Making a habit of moisturizing will go a long way towards relieving skin dryness. You can cover all the bases by including a face moisturizer, body lotion or oil, eye cream, lip balm, cuticle/nail oil, hand cream and a nourishing scalp and hair treatment in your medicine cabinet. While this may be a longer list of skincare steps than you are accustomed too, the benefit to your skin will outweigh any minutes you may save by not moisturizing.
As you can see, all that is needed to care for your skin in the winter months are a few manageable changes. Should you require further direction on adjustments to your skincare routine or to address a particular skin condition or concern, Oakville Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skincare welcomes you to book a complimentary consultation with our medical aesthetician. Call 604.905.9545 or email [email protected] to request an appointment.