Dr. G’s tips to keeping skin healthy & hydrated this winter!

Winter can be a wonderland but not for your skin. Dry, flaky, red, irritated, inflamed and itchy skin can wreak havoc on a healthy complexion. Hydration is the main key to keeping skin balanced during the winter. Getting a head start on your winter skin regimen is the most important thing to do entering the Fall.

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The reason winter months can be damaging to the skin is because there is less water or humidity in the air. Less humidity means less natural moisture on your skin. Inside heat doesn’t help the skin out either. To help control this, invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers blow cool wet air and add humidity into the room. Leaving the humidifier on and your heat off during the day can help to control inside air and keep it humid but it is especially important to run it during the night. Not only will the humidifier help keep your skin hydrated it will also help your nose and mouth not to dry out.

Two other culprits during the winter months are the Sun and wind. Many people are under the misconception that skin cannot get sunburned or windburned during the winter. Cloudy skies can disguise the actual strength of the sun and UVA/UVB rays. When there is snow on the ground the sun reflects off the white and can cause sunburn if your skin is exposed. Cold, harsh winter winds can dry the skin and cause cracking and redness. Always wear an SPF during the day and a hat if outside. To avoid windburn, cover your face with a scarf when outside in the elements.

Another easy way to get ready for winter is to look at which products you will carry into your winter regimen. If you are a retinoid or exfoliation junkie, back off. Use of Retinoids/Retinol usually causes redness, so do not add insult to injury by over usage during the winter. Try cutting back on exfoliation too, as this can strip the skin of natural oils if used too frequently. Instead of a physical scrub exfoliant consider using a hydrating acid peel, such as Fresh A Peel, which contains Lactic acid. Lactic acid is a larger molecule than Glycolic acid so it does not penetrate as deep or as quick, which makes it less aggressive. Lactic acid is also very hydrating as it pulls moisture to the surface of the skin. Try and exfoliate only a few times a week or as much as your skin can tolerate. Invest in a creamy cleanser to get skin clean on days you do not exfoliate. Choosing a hydrating serum (think Hyaluronic acid) and a hydrating moisturizer or facial oil is imperative in your regimen. stay clear of moisturizers that contain Dimethicone. While Dimethicone will make you feel hydrated it is actually only sitting on the surface of the skin and not getting absorbed. This ingredient mimics a hydrator but in reality is only a silicone blocking any nutrients from the applied moisturizer from penetrating into the skin. Consider products with coconut oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil and rose hip seed oil.

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As good as it feels after a long cold walk home, avoid very hot showers as the water and heat can irritate already dried out skin. Make sure to hydrate the body and face immediately after getting out of the shower or bath as this will seal in the moisture. Drinking plenty of fluids will also help to keep the skin and body hydrated all winter long.

Stay warm and hydrated!

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