When cold outdoor air mixes with warm indoor air, it can take a toll on your skin. According to Cooper Clinic Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist Kejal R. Shah, MD, FAAD, our skin is a very dynamic structure. Winter weather can cause dryness, itching and even painful cracking.

Give Dr. Shah’s winter skin care tips a try to retain your skin’s moisture this winter season!

Replenish Your Home’s Moisture

Keeping your thermostat set to a low to moderate setting and placing a humidifier in a room where you spend most of your time can help replenish the moisture in your top layer of skin. As cozy as it can be, don’t sit too close to your fireplace or directly under heating vents as this can dry out your skin even more.

Moisturize Head-to-Toe

  • Face: With so many moisturizing products on the market today, it can be overwhelming knowing which one will give you the most bang for your buck. Dr. Shah recommends using a thick, cream-based moisturizer twice a day—once in the morning and once at night. Look for key ingredients such as ceramics, hyaluronic acid or glycerin to lock in moisture and give you a beautiful glow.
  • Lips: Invest in a lip balm that has aloe vera and vitamin E and avoid products that contain rubbing alcohol.
  • Hands: Commit to using a hand cream with urea each time you after wash your hands to protect your skin during the harsh winter months.
  • Feet: Cream-based products with urea in them are particularly effective for areas that can get especially dry such as the feet and even hands and elbows.

The Gentler, the Better

Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. During the winter, avoid scrubs or exfoliants as they strip away your skin’s natural oils, further reducing its moisture content.

Rub-a-Dub, but Don’t Scrub

As tempting as it is to treat yourself to a long, hot bath or shower on a cold winter night, it’s important to keep your bathing routine short and sweet to retain your skin’s moisture. Dr. Shah suggests taking warm showers lasting about 5-10 minutes. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel and apply a thick body moisturizer right away to help your skin trap and hold onto the moisture throughout the night.

Make Sunscreen a Year-Round Routine

Don’t be fooled by the lack of sunshine in the winter. Our skin is constantly under attack by free radicals and UV radiation year-round. This is why it is best to wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF and that contains zinc or titanium to protect your skin from all types of UV rays, even on cold and cloudy days.

As our skin’s needs change with the seasons, so should your skin care routine! By taking care of your skin and keeping it moisturized throughout the winter, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of healthy, hydrated and happy skin just in time for spring.

For more information or to schedule a comprehensive skin exam at Cooper Clinic Dermatology, visit cooperclinicdermatology.com or call 972.367.6000.