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Wintertime Skin Tips

Now that we are solidly into the winter months, it is well about time to offer you some insights and my thoughts on winter and your skin.

In our area of the country, warmer temperatures and high humidity are the norms and our skin becomes used to this warm, moist environment.  When the weather turns cooler, however, there is significantly less humidity, meaning less moisture in the air.  Our skin is not able to adjust to this dramatic change easily, causing our skin to become dry in these cold winter months.

How To Protect Your Skin

Even in those with normally oily skin, cold, dry winter weather essentially overwhelms the oil glands such that our skin can no longer remain moist and supple and begins to harden and make cracks.  This not only causes discomfort but also opens the skin up to allergens and microorganisms which can cause rashes and infections – not to mention that dry skin is usually quite itchy!

The answer is simple……moisturize!!  While this seems to be a pretty simple and obvious solution, how and what to do can be confusing, especially with so much information out there and so many choices.  I like to keep it simple and so can you!  First, understand that the face is a ‘special’ place and needs a moisturizer designed specifically for this area.  Choosing a moisturizer (or other product) not specified especially for faces can lead to blocked pores and acne, so choose wisely for this area.  I generally recommend a well-known brand name (Olay, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, et al) and particularly something that says ‘for the face’, ‘oil-free’, or ‘non-comedogenic’.  For the rest of the body, it is much less complicated and in general, ANY moisturizer will help – but only if you use it, and use it often enough.

It is helpful to understand that moisturizers come in multiple different forms, each with varying potential to help hydrate your skin. The most common forms are: ointments, creams, lotions, gels, and solutions.  Overall, each is essentially a mixture of oil and water, with the thickest being mostly oil and little water (ointment – think vaseline), and the thinnest being more water and less oil (lotions, solutions, gels, et al).  Generally speaking, the thicker moisturizers (ointments) help hydrate skin best, with the others working less and less the thinner they are.  That said, some can tolerate thick moisturizers, while many cannot.  My recommendation is this:  use whatever feels best for you!!  If your skin is dry, ANYTHING you do to moisturize will help!

In addition to dryness, there are other changes the skin may experience in winter, particularly in regard to several common and chronic skin conditions.  For example, dandruff (or seborrheic dermatitis as we call it) tends to worsen in winter, as does psoriasis.  This is likely not only due to the dryness but also to the decreased amount of ultraviolet radiation available to our skin during these months.  Eczema and atopic dermatitis are variable in their response to the colder months, as is rosacea and acne, and the response depends on the individual, with some improving and others worsening.  On the other hand, conditions such as lupus and polymorphous light eruption (those conditions that worsen with ultraviolet radiation exposure) generally improve in the winter months.

Dermatologist In Lake Worth, TX

No matter what time of year, if your skin is not in the condition you would like it to be and want to improve it, then you should seek advice from an expert who can help you get your skin health where you want it to be.  This is best accomplished by a skin expert, called a ‘dermatologist’. Dr. Mittelbronn and his team at Lakeview Dermatology in Lake Worth Texas are experts in addressing both simple and complex dermatologic problems and can help you get your skin looking and feeling its best, no matter what time of year.  Please visit our website at lakeviewdermtx.com or contact us at 817-752-5256 for more information and to schedule an appointment.  We look forward to seeing you!

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