During the winter season, you should take steps to protect your skin, experts say.
Dr. Jennifer M. Ridge of Comprehensive Dermatology in Middletown offers these five winter skin care tips.
1. "Protect exposed skin. While this may appear straightforward, many people forget their scarf and gloves and (intend) to only be out in the elements for a short while, but are typically exposed to the dry air for much longer. The winter air is extremely dry with a low index of humidity, so when the skin is exposed to this, it shares its moisture with the environment, thereby becoming drier itself. Layer clothing so some can be removed and others remain to retain heat and moisture."
2. "Provide extra moisture to combat the drying environment. Many people skip moisturizing their skin after their bath or shower, but the winter time is the one time of year when you do not want to skip this step. As mentioned in the tip above, the skin dries out significantly when exposed to the winter weather, so adding an extra layer of moisture will protect against this desiccation. Keep water intake high, too, to prevent dehydration."
3. "Avoid products that contain strong detergents and fragrances. Around the holidays, many people receive gifts of fragranced body washes and lotions, but unfortunately, these frequently will cause irritation, especially in dry weather. While many people can tolerate these very easily during humid months, most should avoid these during the dry months. I recommend to my patients using mild soaps with extra moisture like Dove, moistening with non-fragrance body moisturizers and using non-fragrance laundry products during the winter months."
4. "Pamper yourself. Many people have problems with hand dermatitis that (becomes) exaggerated during the winter months. For these patients, I recommend that they purchase a simple paraffin wax unit that can be kept on during the dry months and used on a nightly basis. We recommend that our patients apply a thin coat of an over-the-counter emollient and then dip their hands in the warm wax three or four times to provide a good coat of paraffin. This should be (allowed) to dry fully and then can be peeled off after it has sealed in the moisture. Over-the-counter super glue can be applied to small cracks in the skin before this paraffin treatment in order to seal these cracks and prevent them from spreading more."
5. "Don't forget your sunscreen. Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean that you don't need to protect your skin from the sun. If it is daylight outside, then the sun is shining. Being outdoors and participating in winter activities and sports can cause just as much sun damage as the summer time activities and sports. This catches many people by surprise, and they return from skiing, snow boarding and sledding with sunburns that are extra intense because the light actually bounces off of the snow very easily."
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