Simple changes to soothe dry skin this winter
The skin is our body’s largest organ, and just about everyone wants to put their best skin forward. It takes some work to keep skin healthy and looking its best, though, especially when temperatures are colder and the air is dryer.
As temperatures drop, this is the perfect time of year to learn about the functions of the skin and how to keep it working and looking its best, but it’s important to keep your skin fresh and hydrated, not only during the winter but all year round.
“As we age, our skin loses moisture, so it’s important to create healthy daily habits and skin care regimens if you want to maintain optimal skin health,” said Thomas Howard, MD, FACS, Aspirus Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. “It’s never too late to start,” he added.
Here are seven tips to adopt this winter for a lifetime of healthier skin, courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD):
- Stop baths and showers from worsening dry skin. When the humidity drops or your skin feels dry, be sure to turn down the temperature, wash with a gentle cleanser, limit shower or bath time to 5 or 10 minutes, and pat your skin dry with a towel.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. Ointments, creams, and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, you need to apply a moisturizer within few minutes of drying off after bathing or washing your face or hands.
- Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Look for products with moisture-locking ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone.
“When applied topically, hyaluronic acid acts as a powerful humectant, meaning it draws water to itself. It’s good at hydrating because it can bind so much water,” Dr. Howard said. “It leaves your skin feeling moisturized and softens the looks of lines and wrinkles.”
- Wear lip balm. Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.
- Wear gloves. Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you go outdoors in winter, perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet, or when you get chemicals, greases, and other substances on your hands.
- Stay warm without cozying up to a fireplace or other heat source. Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin. Layer up your clothes and use blankets instead.
- Add moisture to the air. Plug in a humidifier. If you can, check your home heating system to find out if you have a humidifier on the system—and whether it’s working.
The skilled board-certified and specialty trained providers at Aspirus Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics helps rejuvenate skin with a variety of treatment options. For more information about in-office procedures or skincare products available, visit www.aspirus.org/plastic-surgery or call 715.870.2162. Aspirus Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics is located at 1901 Westwood Center Blvd. in Wausau, with some providers now offering outreach in Wisconsin Rapids and Rhinelander.