Article furnished by Dr. Jay Kulkin -It's that time again to pack away the swimsuit and sandals and suit up in boots and scarves. I personally love this time of year, pumpkin bread, warm fires, and cozy sweaters! I'm happy to say goodbye to the summer heat but sad to say hello to dry, scaly skin.
It's important to remember that as weather conditions change, so should your skin care routine. Here are 5 easy steps to help your skin survive this winter:
Exfoliation should be part of your skin care regime all year long, but it's especially important during the winter months. When the cold weather rolls in, lotion is the primary defender against dryness. But dry skin means you have dry skin cell buildup. Therefore, before slathering on creams, increase your exfoliation to remove old, flakey skin cells, and then moisturize the new skin cells, resulting in smoother, hydrated skin. (shop some exfoliants: http://www.wifh.com/shop-online/skin-exfoliator-exfoliation-products.html)
This one is a no-brainer. Dry, itchy skin craves moisture. Winter is the season to upgrade that lightweight oil-free moisturizer you loved during the summer to its more emollient counterpart. Look for a moisturizer that contains oil (hint: most night creams contain oil and will do the trick). If you are prone to acne and thicker creams cause breakouts, then stick to your oil-free moisturizer and add hyaluronic acid or argan oil on top for added hydration, not to mention silky smooth texture. (WIFH Hydraboost works wonders http://www.wifh.com/skin-care-products/hydraboost.html) And don't forget to lotion up your whole body, especially cracked hands and feet. Always apply creams to damp skin to help lock in moisture before dry patches appear.
Most people instinctively know to use a thicker moisturizer during colder months but what about your cleanser? The wrong soap can make your already itchy, dry skin even worse. For example, bar soaps or soaps that contain irritating ingredients and fragrances can be drying and strip skin of natural oils. Instead, start washing with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser, use less soap and limit hot showers. Make sure to switch to cream-based cleansers and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all, unless your skin is excessively oily. There is also a huge difference between manual cleansing vs. brush powered cleansing. I highly recommend a Clarisonic Pro, it is a must have for anyone http://www.clarisonic.com/
Just because it's cold outside does not mean you can put away your sunscreen. The sun might not feel as threatening as it did in the summer, but when it's colder outside there's actually more of the sun's harmful rays hitting the earth's surface and, yes, your skin. Although you're covered with winter layers, don't forget to keep your face, neck, and hands protected from the sun. If you play winter sports beware of windburn and make sure to reapply sunscreen. Always use a product with SPF 30 or higher.
Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin and offset the lack of humidity. I love a pumpkin spice latte as much as the next gal but coffee, tea, alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body, so make a special effort to increase hydrating beverages. If you don't like the taste of water, add lemon or lime, or eat more foods with a high water content. It's also a good idea to turn on a humidifier to infuse moisture into the air and soothe dry, itchy, cracked skin.
Dr. Jay Kulkin, Founder of WIFH in Atlanta, is an internationally recognized laser expert and teaches doctors from from within the U.S. and around the world about laser techniques. He is a Board Certified Gynecologist and is often quoted in the media and featured on a number of TV networks including CNN, Headline News and local Atlanta networks on laser issues. He has been practicing in Atlanta since 1983 and is a Fellow (the highest distinction achievable) of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and is the former Executive Director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Women's Health Program, which he was instrumental in creating. Dr. Kulkin is committed to bringing the latest advances in laser research to his patients.