Welcome back, tribe! Here we are in the dead of winter — it’s January 12th, and it is super cold in several areas of the country. During these winter months, it can be especially hard to take care of our skin. Dry skin and eczema are two of the most common conditions I see this time of year, and several people don’t know how to treat them effectively at home.
But don’t worry! During the wintertime, everybody needs just a little reminder from their dermatologist about skincare, and I’m here for you! In the last couple of episodes, we’ve discussed the skin success framework and different skin types and their specific regimens. Today, we’re discussing how we can all keep our skin healthy and glowing during these cold months!
If you haven’t discovered your skin type yet, I highly recommend you listen to Episode 26 and follow the steps I outlined to perform either the face wash method or the blotting method. Knowing your specific skin type is crucial to understanding what skincare regimen you should follow, and it will help you so much during these cold months!
I’m going to share a lot of helpful information for you today, so I thought it would be best to organize them into three categories: Bathing/Cleansing Tips, Moisturization Tips, and Lifestyle/Organization Tips. In each of these sections, I explain how you can keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful. You deserve to have healthy skin year-round, and today, I’m going to show you how! Let’s get started, tribe.
Bathing and Cleansing Tips for the Winter
#1: How to Shower (and Protect Your Skin)
You may not think taking a shower or bath has too much effect on your skin, but it really does! In the winter, it’s really tempting to take a super-hot shower — after all, it’s freezing outside, and a hot shower sounds amazing. Although it feels great, hot water can actually dry out the skin and strip it of its moisture. Over time, hot showers can have a serious impact on your skin.
So, instead of using super hot water, opt for lukewarm water. Also, try to limit your time in the shower to about five to ten minutes. Now, I’m not saying that you should avoid the spa or hydrotherapy every once in a while — definitely treat yourself! I’m talking about your bathing practices on a day-to-day basis. Trust me, 30 to 45-minute, piping-hot showers aren’t going to give you the skin you want.
#2: What Bathing Products to Use in the Winter
During the colder months, it’s so important that we use gentle soap products and cleansers when washing our skin. You don’t want to use anything that could potentially dry out or irritate your skin. Avoid using alkaline (basic pH) soap (like Ivory or Dial brands).
Instead, I recommend using Dove’s unscented bar soap or their body wash for sensitive skin. You can also try Vanicream’s moisturizing body wash and CeraVe and Cetaphil’s cleansers. These brands are my absolute favorites to use in the shower, and they don’t damage your skin!
Now you may be wondering, how often should I use these cleansing products and where should I use them? Believe it or not, one of my mentors in dermatology residency told me that we actually don’t need to be washing every inch of our bodies. We only need to clean areas that are actually dirty — armpits, groin, or any other area that is visibly dirty. You don’t need to be super harsh on other areas, such as your arms or legs. Scrub yourself gently and keep in mind that a little product goes a long way.
#3: How to Establish a Skin-Conscious Routine After Bathing
After getting out of the shower, what do you do? Do you immediately get dressed? Do you scroll through your phone and answer a bunch of emails? After bathing, it’s easy to assume that the cleaning routine is over, but it doesn’t stop there! Create a routine for good self-care and skincare practices that extends beyond the shower.
First of all, try to keep your phone in the other room during your bathing routine. It’s easy to immediately get distracted by it and lose focus on your skincare routine. Then, after you’re done bathing, gently pat your skin with a towel. I know it’s tempting to rub your face in the towel because it’s warm and fuzzy, but don’t do that. Just gently pat yourself with the towel to avoid any damage to your skin and leave areas slightly damp to prepare for moisturizer.
#4: How to Gently Cleanse Your Face (and What to Avoid)
Washing your face should be very different from washing the rest of your body. You do not want to use any harsh ingredients whatsoever that can irritate your skin. Here’s an example — as a teenager, I used to use benzoyl peroxide to reduce acne. But during the wintertime, I could only use it one or two times a week because the acidity would dry out my skin. If you notice that a cleanser you usually use is suddenly irritating your skin in the wintertime, you probably need to switch to a more mild cleanser (I recommend CeraVe or Cetaphil).
Lastly, if you love chemical exfoliation with glycolic acids or peels, you want to try to avoid doing them weekly or as often during the wintertime. Every three to four weeks is fine, but it’s really important that you cut down on frequent use of chemical exfoliation since it strips your skin of moisture — moisture that you really need during cold months.
Moisturizing Tips for the Winter
#1. Apply Moisturizer Immediately After Bathing
I absolutely LOVE talking about moisturizing routines, and they’re even more important in the winter! Remember how I told you to pat your skin dry after bathing and leave a bit of dampness? Well, right after that, you can apply moisturizer from head to toe! When you apply moisturizer right after bathing, this really helps lock in the moisture. Depending on your skin type, you can apply moisturizer just once a day or twice a day. If you use a retinol during the winter, be sure to add an additional layer of moisturizer to keep your skin from drying out.
#2: Only Use Cream or Ointment Moisturizers During the Winter
Next week we’re going to be talking about different ointments and creams, so stay tuned for that episode. For right now, just know that you should avoid using lotion for moisturizer. When you go to the drugstore, make sure to read the ingredients label to determine whether the product is a lotion or a cream. How can you tell the difference? Usually, lotions will be in a bottle with a pump, while creams are in a jar.
I know that advice may come as a bummer to some of you because some of those lotions smell really good. Do you know the products at Bath and Body Works? I used to buy them all the time, but I don’t anymore because the fragrances are really harsh on your skin. So, if you struggle with dry skin or suffer from eczema, I highly recommend tossing those.
Instead, look for ointments or creams that contain any of the following ingredients: dimethicone, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum, and shea butter — these are all great ingredients to care for dry skin!
#3: When Choosing a Moisturizer, Look for Ones That Contain Ceramides
Ceramides are natural lipids that our skin needs to stay healthy. When choosing a moisturizer that contains ceramides, I recommend Cetaphil! They have a great line of ceramide products that I actually use on my baby as well! It’s very safe for all skin types, and it helps give you an additional layer of protection during the harsh winter months.
Organizational At-Home Tips for the Winter
#1: Use a Humidifier
The dryer the air, the dryer the skin! In order to maximize the water in the air, I recommend putting a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time (most likely your bedroom). This helps keep the air moist so that your skin doesn’t dry out!
#2: Keep the Heat at a Lower or Moderate Temperature
The second lifestyle tip may be harder for some people — especially when it’s cold out — but it’s really important! If you keep the temperature low, you don’t dry out the air with heat.
#3: Organize Your Skincare Products for Maximum Benefit
You all know that I love organization, and it has skincare benefits too! How? Well, if you organize your skincare products, you are much more likely to use them! Also, I recommend keeping your skincare products in several locations throughout the day. I like to keep a cream in the bathroom and on my nightstand before bed! You can also keep some products in your car — alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers are very drying, so why not counterattack them with moisturizer? Don’t forget to have some products at your desk at work — due to COVID-19, we’re hand-washing more than ever, and over time, this can dry out our skin.
#4: Keep Vaseline in Your Purse
You will never find me without a mini Vaseline jar in my purse during the wintertime. Our lips can get very dry and cracked, and Vaseline helps guard against this! Don’t be afraid to apply it multiple times throughout the day.
#5: Change up Your Diet and Drink Water
First of all, I want to say — your diet should not replace any of the skincare routines and practices that we’ve talked about. You need all those routines in place in order to get the glowing skin you deserve! However, there is a direct connection between gut and skin health.
Increasing your daily intake of healthy fats may help with dry skin conditions. I recommend eating a diet rich in avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. I also recommend drinking tons of water and avoiding overconsumption of alcohol, caffeine, coffee, or soda. Just remember, tribe, that eating these foods or drinking lots of water is not a substitute for an excellent skincare routine!
Achieve the Glowing Skin You Deserve — Even in Winter!
Tribe, thank you so much for letting me share my skincare knowledge with you all! My hope is that these skincare tips will be your guide for avoiding dry skin during the winter months! I’ll leave you with this last tip — regardless of the cold weather, it is important to always protect yourself from harmful UV rays by using antioxidants and sunscreen. The sun can reflect harshly off snow, so despite it being freezing out, you can still get a sunburn. Crazy, right?
I want to encourage you to write down your top three takeaways from this blog post and reflect on how you’re going to implement those tips into your skincare routine — whether that’s throwing out fragrance products, using dermatologist-approved creams, or changing up your diet. People say that repetition is the mother of skill, and so it’s really important to remind yourself of your skincare goals each day! And, when you succeed at achieving them, congratulate yourself!
Changing habits can be difficult, and it’s often a long process. Just take it day by day, and don’t forget to celebrate yourself along the way! Tribe, you all deserve the skin of your dreams, and it’s totally possible for all of you!
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Until next time — Step Out with Confidence® and protect your skin this winter season!
Disclaimer: The Millennial Doc® Podcast is advertising/marketing material. It is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor on these topics. Copyright Dr. Nikoleta 2021.