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Wintertime Tips for Healthy Skin

Here in Lake Worth, Texas, warmer temperatures and high humidity are the norm most of the year. As a result, our skin is used to this toasty, moist environment. So, when winter arrives, it can wreak havoc. The weather turns cooler, and the humidity significantly decreases, meaning less moisture in the air. Our skin often finds it difficult to adjust.

Dryer weather means our skin cannot maintain proper hydration and suppleness from the oil glands contained within our pores. Cold and dry winter weather can overwhelm oil glands even for those with ordinarily oily skin, to the point that their skin begins to harden and crack.  Not only does this cause discomfort, but it also opens the skin up to allergens and microorganisms, which can cause rashes and infections.  Not to mention that dry skin can be quite itchy!

Moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize!

What to do?  The answer is simple: moisturize! This may seem obvious, but the question remains: With so many choices, which moisturizer should I use? 

First, recognize that the face is a ‘special’ place and, therefore, requires a moisturizer designed specifically for this area.  Choosing a moisturizer (or other product) not designed primarily for faces can lead to blocked pores and acne, so choose wisely for this area.

Smart choices

I generally recommend a well-known brand name (Olay, Neutrogena, Cetaphil.), particularly something that says ‘for faces,’ ‘oil-free’, or ‘non-comedogenic’.  It is a lot less complicated for the rest of the body, as any moisturizer will help, provided you use it and use it often enough.  Some of my favorite body moisturizers are Cetaphil, CeraVe, Eucerin, Aquaphor (especially hands and lips), Neutrogena, and Lubriderm.

It’s helpful to understand that moisturizers come in multiple 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), medium thickness with less oil (=creams – think Noxema), and the thinnest being more water and less oil (=lotions, solutions, gels).  Generally, the thicker moisturizers (ointments and creams) help hydrate skin best, with the others working less well the thinner they are.  That said, some people 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!

More winter skin concerns

Along with dryness, winter weather can exacerbate 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 due to the dryness and the decreased amount of ultraviolet radiation available to our skin during these months, which generally improves these conditions. 

Eczema and atopic dermatitis vary in their response to the colder months, as is rosacea and acne. The answer depends on the individual, with some improving and others worsening.  On the other hand, conditions such as lupus and polymorphous light eruption (those that worsen with ultraviolet radiation exposure) generally improve in the winter months.

We’re here to help

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and skin-healthy Winter!  If you want to discuss this topic further or have any other skin issues you would like to address; please make an appointment with Dr. Mittelbronn at Lakeview Dermatology in Lake Worth, Texas. Contact us today at 817-369-8098. Visit our website, lakeviewdermtx.com, to review the strict safety protocols we have instituted to keep both our patients and staff safe during this Covid-19 crisis.

 

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