Most people know that skin care products and regimens vary based on skin type, but did you know that seasonal changes can also dictate changes in skin care routines? To make great skin care even more complicated, region affects skin care as well. Those of us here in Arizona know this all too well, with a harsh climate and dry, desert air, skin care requires unique ingredients and attention. And when the weather turns cold, and increased use of indoor heating dries out the air, maintaining skin health can seem downright impossible. To help, we’ve compiled this list of winter skin care tips.
Winter Skin Care Tips for Desert Dwellers
Regardless of where you live in the world, winter usually leads to dry skin conditions. In the desert, however, this is truer than any other climate. That’s why preparation with great winter skin care treatments and stocking up on the best, proven skin care products is essential to prevent and treat dry winter skin.
Recommended Winter Skin Care Treatments
Professional Facials: A pre-winter facial during the fall months can help in a few different ways. Your aesthetician can provide professional treatments to help correct summer skin damage, buff away dead skin cells, and cleanse the pores of impurities before preparing the skin for the drying winter climate.
Microdermabrasion: Prior to changing up your skin care routine to improve moisture delivery to skin cells, an exfoliating microdermabrasion treatment will buff away summer skin damage, including sun damage. Microdermabrasion also helps speed up cell regeneration and collagen production, providing you with a blank slate for a new skin care regimen.
Chemical Peels: Some of the same benefits of microdermabrasion can be seen with chemical peels, and patients will sometimes get both if their skin condition warrants it. A chemical peel literally peels the top layer of skin away more quickly to reveal new, youthful skin. By peeling away summer damage, the new, active skin cells better allow the new winter skincare regimen to provide positive results.
Laser Skin Treatments: Winter is the best time for laser skin rejuvenation or laser skin resurfacing. The harsh summer months are too hot for a comfortable recovery, and increased sun exposure increases the risk of sun damage to the exposed subdermal layer. After summer is over, during the fall and winter months, laser skin treatments will help remove dead skin cells, sun damage, and the signs of aging accumulated during the summer season, allowing nourishing winter treatments to penetrate deeper and provide the best results.
Winter Skin Care Products for Home Use
Calming Cream Cleansers: During the winter, most patients benefit from switching to a gentle cleanser or a cream cleanser that nourishes the skin to help prevent drying out and irritating the skin.
Moisturize: During the summer, patients with oily skin types benefit most from a light moisturizer with SPF coverage. During the winter months, however, even patients with oily skin can benefit from slightly heavier moisturizers to help offset the drying effects of indoor heating and harsh winter winds, particularly at night when the air is cooler and the heat is running more often.
Serums: While serums can appear to provide little in the way of moisture due to their thin consistency, the right serums with the right ingredients pack a powerful punch. Used after cleansing and before moisturizing, the added layer of moisture and anti-aging ingredients penetrate quickly and deliver nourishing ingredients to the skin cells.
Lip Care: Dry, cracked lips are a common concern during the winter months. Exfoliating lip masks and moisturizing lip balms are a necessity for most and probably the most important of these winter skin care tips. Everyone in the household, including young children, deal with dry lips that crack and bleed. Remember to avoid licking your lips, as this will only provide temporary relief and will worsen the condition.
Winter Skin Care Tips for Problem Skin
If you suffer from dry skin year-round, the winter months can feel particularly painful. It’s vital to follow your recommended skin care routine to ensure that skin doesn’t dry enough that it cracks, bleeds, or becomes infected. If you live with eczema prone skin or rosacea, the winter can be particularly problematic and may require prescription topicals in addition to a great skin care routine and regular treatments to nourish and protect skin.
If you have irritating skin conditions, sensitive skin, or allergies, avoid skin care products containing fragrance. Any ingredient that isn’t essential to the product itself increases the risk of allergies. Use products that are gentle, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free. Don’t forget to read all labels carefully to make sure you avoid any known or suspected allergens that could cause serious skin reactions.
Ingredients for Winter Skin Care
Vitamin E: Skincare and foods rich in Vitamin E should be added to your routine during the winter. Cream cleansers and moisturizers often contain Vitamin E and are great for dry skin types year round or for normal skin types during the winter months. If you’re susceptible to very dry skin, consuming foods high in Vitamin E can also be beneficial. Foods rich in Vitamin E include sunflower seeds (watch out for high sodium intake), almonds, spinach, and safflower oil. For a festive treat, pumpkin also contains Vitamin E. Enjoy your pumpkin pie and pumpkin spiced lattes!
Lanolin: Derived from sheep’s wool, lanolin helps moisturize the skin just as it moisturizes the skin of sheep. If you’re allergic to wool, however, you should avoid products containing lanolin as it could trigger an allergic reaction.
Petrolatum: Often used in the form of pure petroleum jelly, petrolatum is good for lips, hands, and body moisture, but is typically not recommended for facial skin care. This is because, while it works to moisturize and protect the skin, it also clogs pores. Patients who overuse petrolatum products on the face tend to notice milia, little white pimple-like bumps that are very difficult to clear up.
Hyaluronic Acid: The same ingredient that gives facial fillers their plumping power can be used topically to bind with water and help the skin retain moisture. Look for hyaluronic acid in serums and moisturizers for better moisture and anti-aging benefits.
Other moisturizing ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids, ceramides, sodium PCA, and glycerin. Discuss which ingredients would be most beneficial for your needs with your aesthetician, and which products would best provide you with solutions to your winter skin care woes.
More Winter Skin Care Tips Everyone Can Use
In addition to getting and using the right skin care treatments and products with the best ingredients, there are some little changes you can make at home to help you feel more comfortable.
Turn Down the Heat: The warmer you keep your home, the dryer your skin will become. Home heating systems dry out the air and, as a result, the skin. Don’t turn up the heat too much. Encourage family members to wear sweaters and socks indoors, and turn down the heat for healthier skin.
Home Humidifiers: Place a few portable humidifiers in the house to restore in-air moisture in the home. This will also benefit your skin, just as it would if you lived in a humid climate. Be sure to clean the humidifier according to the instructions so you don’t introduce bacteria into the air.
Use Warm Water: Hot water for showers and facial cleansing is never recommended, but we want to emphasize this more during the cold winter months. While hot water can feel very refreshing when you’re a bit chilly, hot water strips skin of natural oils and moisture, resulting in drier skin. Opt for warm water for showers and facial cleansing, and moisturize before the skin dries to help retain as much moisture as possible.
Looking for Winter Skin Care Tips for Your Particular Needs?
The above winter skin care tips can be beneficial to most people, but as everyone is different, we recommend a consultation with our licensed aesthetician to ensure that your home skin care habits are providing you with the absolute best results possible. During your consultation, your aesthetician will recommend professional treatments to help reverse skin damage and deliver powerful ingredients for faster healing and positive results. During your consultation, she will also be able to recommend medical-grade skin care products that will complement in-office treatments and give you daily moisturizing and anti-aging benefits for your unique skin type and needs.
Schedule a consultation with our licensed aesthetician in our Scottsdale facial plastic surgery practice, and find out which winter skin care tips, products, and treatments will give you the results your skin needs most.