Winter-proof Your Skin


After this past weekend, it appears that winter is here to stay in Atlanta for the next few months.  We have previously discussed the importance of a good skin care regimen, but we’d like to remind you of the following tips to winter-proof your skin from dropping temperatures and blustery wind conditions.

Hydrate – Taking in sufficient water is important year-round, but especially so in winter.  Cold winds cause faster evaporation of water from the skin’s surface while preferentially shunting blood to the body’s core: a winter woe that results in dry, sensitive skin that can be itchy and can tear more easily.  To prevent irritation, start each day by drinking a glass of water. Doing so will not only jump-start your metabolism, but also help you to replace the water lost during sleep.  In addition to routine hydration, be sure to follow your consumption of naturally dehydrating liquids — like alcohol, tea, and coffee — with a full glass of water.

Limit Hot Showers – High temperature showers may feel good on our skin in the cooler mornings of winter, but combined with soap, they will strip the skin of its natural, protective oils.  Excessively hot showers can produce dry, scaly patches of skin, especially in individuals prone to eczema.  Instead, take lukewarm showers limited to ten minutes, use moisturizing soaps, avoid loofahs and other exfoliants, pat yourself dry, and immediately apply moisturizer to all of your skin to lock in moisture.

Use Thicker Skin Care Products – Just as we use heavier clothing in winter to keep us warm, use thicker lotions and emollients on your face and body to combat water evaporation, dry skin, and wind burn.  Shea butter-containing products are particularly good at keeping skin soft and supple because of shea butter’s fatty acid content. Thicker skin care products will also protect you from the dry heat used to heat our homes and offices.

Moisturize – Our feet and hands bear the brunt of our activities during the day and require special attention.  With repeated hand washing and hand sanitizer use, one’s hands can dry considerably.  During the winter, use gentle soaps and limit alcohol-containing products while constantly applying hand lotion.  At night, apply a thick moisturizer to your hands and place them in cotton gloves for additional benefit.  Your feet deserve similar moisturizer care but also greatly benefit from routine pedicures, which minimize callus skin development and help prevent painful cracking of the skin.

Stop Licking Your Lips – Licking your lips only worsens chapping, as it evaporates saliva from the lip’s surface.  Instead, exfoliate lips with a soft toothbrush daily, and then apply a lip balm made with petrolatum or beeswax consistently during the day.  At night, try applying a thick layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor to your lips to help further soften and soothe them.

As an Emory, Harvard, and University of Pittsburgh-trained, ASPS board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Castillo provides in-depth consultations on skin care for not only aesthetics, but also for protection from nature’s elements.

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