Winter's arctic blast can wreak havoc on delicate skin.
Newswise — Nicole Burkemper, M.D., a SLUCare dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, shares her tips for updating your skin regimen for the season. If your skin feels drier in the winter Burkemper recommends looking at the products you use on your face. Ointments and creams, which are oil-based, tend to be more moisturizing and less irritating than lotions, which are water-based.
"A moisturizer that contains ceramides - the main component of the natural skin barrier - can be especially helpful in the dry winter months," Burkemper said. "Cerave Cream is one that I recommend and use myself."
If you are suffering from dry skin on your face, it is best to avoid harsh peels, masks, alcohol-based toners or astringents which can strip the oil from skin.
Alpha-hydroxy acid and retinoid in facial rejuvenation products can also worsen dry skin, according to Burkemper.
Plain petroleum jelly is an effective and inexpensive lip balm to keep lips from chapping during winter months.
Taking care of your skin begins with your bathing routine. You should apply your moisturizer immediately after a shower or bath, Burkemper said. She also recommends changing up your shower regimen.
In the winter, or anytime your skin is particularly dry, the following tips are recommended when bathing:
* Shut the bathroom door to trap the humidity* Limit your time in the bath or shower to 5 to 10 minutes* Use warm rather than hot water* Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser* Only use cleanser to "strategic areas"-armpits, groin, feet* Blot your skin gently dry with a towel* Apply moisturizer immediately after drying your skin.
Once you are ready to face the day, there are several ways to protect your skin from the elements. It is important to remember that winter sun, especially when combined with snow glare, can still damage skin and a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 should be applied to exposed skin before going outside.
"Gloves are important, and leather gloves hold in warmth better than cloth or woven gloves," Burkemper said. "You should also remove wet gloves and socks as soon as possible since the moisture can actually worsen dry, irritated skin."
Those with dry skin on their hands should apply a moisturizing cream after each hand washing to prevent further irritation.
"If dry, itchy skin does not respond to the above recommendations, see a dermatologist," Burkemper said. "Severe dry skin may need a prescription ointment or cream and dry skin may be a sign of a skin condition that needs medical treatment."
Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious diseases.