How to Keep your Skin Healthy During the Winter Months

Let’s be honest – our skin, hair, and nails are affected by lots of different things. These can include your genetic makeup, hormones, the type of products you use, and even the weather. As the weather in winter gets colder and dryer, many of us notice disconcerting changes. How do we proactively help our skin, hair, and nails stay healthy during these changes? 

An excellent place to start is to understand why winter affects us in the first place. Winter months are generally much dryer because cold air holds less moisture than warm air. What little moisture there is gets quickly dissipated into the air. This hampers your skin’s ability to keep its own moisture. The dryness combined with extreme weather changes can wreak havoc on our skin, hair, and nails. In addition to the lower humidity in the air, running the heat in our homes makes the air drier. All of a sudden, our skin becomes itchy, our lips chap, the inside of our noses starts hurting, and our throats become scratchy. For some, it can cause skin conditions such as Rosacea to flare up.

What is a Winter Rash?

These winter changes can affect some of us more than others. Even if your skin is not ordinarily dry, you may experience symptoms such as redness, itchiness, swelling, flaking, cracking, and overall sensitivity. This condition is called a winter rash, which occurs as the natural oils in our skin are depleted due to the cold, dry air and wind. If you start experiencing these symptoms, our Board-Certified Dermatologists at Vitalogy Skincare have options for these types of rashes. Treatment may include topical creams, antihistamines, or antibiotics, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms resembling winter rash, your Provider will be able to help you get some relief. 

Other Skin Conditions that are Affected by Winter Weather

Rosacea is a prevalent skin condition that causes redness and swelling and can be affected by seasonal changes. For example, you may notice flaring during the winter months due to harsh weather conditions. There are options available to help reduce inflammation, such as oral and topical medications. Our medical spa also offers light therapy treatments that reduce redness and inflammation. 

Psoriasis is a long-lasting skin disorder where skin cells are produced at a higher rate than normal. The symptoms can include dry, itchy skin that may crack and bleed. It can also cause you to have burning, painful skin. Drier weather and skin can trigger an episode of these symptoms. Your Provider may administer topical or oral medications or biological agents whose aim is to block the activation of skin cells.

Eczema is a term used to describe several varieties of inflamed, irritated skin. This chronic condition can also be affected by dry winter weather. As with any other condition, treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition and the patient. The affected area can be treated with topical corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and oral antihistamines. In addition to medication and creams, light therapy can be helpful for some patients.

If you are experiencing a flare-up, your Board-Certified Dermatologist can customize the treatment to the symptoms you are experiencing. Working with you is important to put together a good plan that will help you weather winter.

Protecting Your Skin, Hair, and Nails in the Cold Weather

Why is it important to be proactive during the winter? Besides wanting to look your best and getting relief from any winter-related flakiness and itchiness, there are also good health reasons to keep your skin healthy. Your skin is the protective barrier that keeps bacteria and other germs at bay, protects you from UV rays and keeps your body temperature balanced. So, are there things you can do to help keep it healthy? Yes! Here are some tips that are easy to do that will go a long way to keep you at your best:

  • Avoid the use of harsh soaps, cleansers, and detergents. This includes products that are alcohol based and have fragrant ingredients. 
  • Be sure to protect your skin with a barrier cream or moisturizer. Using thicker creams in the winter will help keep skin from losing moisture.
  • Moisturizing hair masks are great for winter flyways and dry hair.
  • Use an emollient nail cream to rub on your nails and your cuticles.
  • Don’t forget your lips – use a moisturizing lip balm with SPF.
  • Avoid taking long, hot showers (I know, hard to do when it’s cold.) The hot water will only irritate your skin further. Once you get out of the shower, finish with a moisturizing cream all over your body to lock in the moisture from the shower.
  • Finish off your daily skin regimen with sunscreen, regardless of the weather or season. We recommend using one with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Try using a humidifier in your home.

As winter months approach, changing your skincare routine may be required. For example, you may need to switch to a more occlusive moisturizer to help the loss of natural oils in the dryer months. SkinCeuticals® Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is an excellent option in the winter as it helps with the external barrier and supports the natural self-repair of skin. You may also want to try a clinical facial, which helps boost the moisture in your skin. There are different cosmetic treatments you can look into that are great for the winter months.

At Vitalogy Skincare, our qualified, knowledgeable, Board-Certified Dermatologists, Certified Physician Assistants, and Licensed Aestheticians will work with you on whatever skin concerns, both medical and cosmetic, that you might have. You can make an appointment online at our locations in Bastrop, Burnet, Cedar Park, Georgetown, Harker Heights, San Marcos, Marble Falls, and Southwest Austin.