Bear Down, Chicago! Winter Survival Skin Tips

January 27, 2009 7:39:56 AM PST
Although we'd like to 'bear down' and hibernate during the winter, we are exposed to Chicago's harsh elements, leaving lips chapped, hands cracked and feet dry. Modifying your daily skin care regimen and making changes in your home and wardrobe will help prevent the frightful weather from leaving your skin feeling tight and dry, says Dr. Brooke Jackson, board certified dermatologist and founder of The Skin Wellness Center of Chicago,

She has some survival tips to get you through the winter with softer, smoother skin from head to toe:

Humidify your home

  • Once the heat goes on in the house, everything dries out. Increase the humidity gage on your furnace or place a humidifier in your bedroom
  • Stay Hydrated

  • Most people are slightly dehydrated during the winter. We drink less water. Make sure you keep up your water intake.
  • Moisturize!

    When it's time for the winter jacket, it's time for the winter skin routine of extra moisturizer.

      Use Gentler Face Cleansers: Use milky, creamy cleansers as they are gentler. Avoid glycolic, alpha hydroxy acids which may irritate skin this time of year.
    • Cetaphil
      Facial moisturizer: You still need SPF even during the winter!
    • Dove
    • Olay Regenerist Serum
    • Aveeno positively radiant moisturizer with SPF 30
    • At-home oatmeal & olive oil mask
    • Look for products in a jar as they are a bit thicker: Aquaphor, Cetaphil
    • Take Shorter Showers: Cold winter mornings mean long hot showers. Shorten the shower to 10 min or less, avoid steamy hot showers. They will dry your skin out even more.
      Olay Ribbons, Suave, Eucerin, Dove Sensitive Skin
    • At-home remedy: Salt scrub to exfoliate body and Crisco for young children
      Feet: Neglected feet become rough and dry
    • Olay thermal pedicure, Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Cream, Vaseline & socks.
      • Lips: Vaseline is the ultimate at-home remedy, Burt's Bees

      Don't forget hands and necks.

    • While many of use focus anti-aging products on our face we often overlook the need on our hands and necks. These two areas need special attention, too!
    • Hands become especially cracked in the winter. Use specific thicker cream, like Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream
    • Be cautious of skin conditions that increase in the winter

      • Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin)
        • Try to exfoliate the area (backs of arms, sides of thighs) with over the counter low-strength glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy or lactic acid products.
        • You may also use gritty cleansers in the shower no more than twice a week. -- remember people who have this condition usually have very sensitive skin so don't want to overdo it.
        • Prescription strength products are available as well.
      • Eczema
        • Itchy dry patches usually in skin folds but can occur in all areas of the body.
        • Usually associated with people who come from families where there is hay fever, sinus problems, asthma and gets worse if body is stressed (cold or flu), so be gentle, gentle, gentle.
        • First line of defense is gentle skin care, lots of moisturizer and often these patients need prescription medications
        • NOTE: People who don't respond to these products should see a dermatologist for evaluation and perhaps prescription strength products.

      Wear Gentle Fabrics

    • Avoid scratchy fabrics next to skin such as wool. Wear cotton or silk t-shirts under sweaters