Chapped, bleeding lips and dry, flaky cheeks: the unfortunate hallmarks of winter. With an influx of dry, freezing air comes swathes of dehydrated skin whose condition is only worsened by your typical heater, which saps moisture from the air. The shift from fall to winter affects everyone but is especially hard on those with conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, which flare up in the presence of seasonal dryness. At first glance, sub-par skin health during the colder months seems unavoidable, but there is good news: there are ways to tend to your skin.

How Can You Protect and Restore Your Skin?

Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit organization, has some great tips for nurturing your skin during the colder months:

  1. Wear sunscreen. Although temperatures are low and the sky is cloudy, the sun always emits UV rays that, over time, can cause wrinkles, liver spots, and even skin cancer. Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside for the strongest protection.
  2. Use a cleanser and a moisturizer with SPF-15 or higher. This will prevent cold, dry air from drawing moisture out of the skin. Ordinary moisturizers might not be strong enough to protect from winter weather, and thicker creams can oversaturate the skin. If you regularly experience dry skin, try an emollient moisturizer, which not only keeps the skin soft and smooth, but better traps moisture on the surface of the body. Those who experience acne breakouts should throw out petroleum- and oil-based formulas, which obstruct the pores, and seek out ceramide moisturizers, which break down blockages and restore the protective skin barrier.
  3. Take quick, lukewarm baths and showers. Cleansing yourself with hot water feels wonderful, especially when it’s cold outside, but doing so washes away essential oils and leaves the skin dry and exposed. It is also important to be gentle when washing, as harsh scrubbing can both irritate and damage the skin. Finally, apply moisturizer all over your body within 5 minutes of washing to keep your skin hydrated.
  4. Use Chapstick and avoid licking your lips. Enzymes and bacteria in saliva can cause rashes and infect areas on or around your mouth that are cracked.
  5. Before bed, apply a lotion that has retinoids, which clear out the pores, prevent and heal acne, and minimize wrinkling. A strong nighttime skincare routine is just as important as a daytime one!

If You’ve Exhausted Your Options, It Might Be Time to Call an Expert

While personal skincare can be extremely rewarding, there is no reason to be afraid of consulting a doctor for the best advice; they can prescribe medication to correct severe problems and help you create and tweak skincare routines.

People in the New York area can visit Dr. Andrew Jacono’s J Spa Medical Day Spa, which is widely regarded as Long Island’s top medical spa. Dr. Jacono, New York’s best facial plastic surgeon, offers a wide range of ZO Skin Health products, including the NORMACLEANSE cleanser, which instantly revitalizes dry skin. Those interested in non-surgically improving their skin can schedule an appointment by calling 516-773-2424.