A Top Dermatologist Shares Tips on How to Protect Your Skin This Winter
January 8th marks National Winter Skin Relief Day. Declared by CeraVe—one of our favorite brands from the L’Oreal portfolio—the goal is to educate consumers on how to adequately protect their skin against the harsh winter elements. To help do just that for our Skincare.com readers, we tapped board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michelle Henry. Ahead, Dr. Henry shares her best tips on how to give your skin the extra attention it deserves—and quite frankly, needs—to look and feel its best during the bitter cold months.
Winter is unequivocally the coldest time of the year. It’s bad enough dealing with brutally cold temps and harsh winds, but that is unfortunately not even the worst of it. The frigid weather, along with an uptick in artificial heating and steamy hot showers, can cause our skin to dry out very quickly and look worse for wear. In fact, recent results from a CeraVe survey*—conducted online by Harris Poll among around 2,000 U.S. adults—found that roughly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) believe January is one of the months when their skin is at its worst. In addition, the survey found that 42 percent of Americans say having dry skin in the winter is one of the things they dislike most.
While those results may not be that shocking, we were surprised to discover that a large amount of people do little to care for their skin in the winter. Some even neglect a winter skin care routine altogether. According to the findings, more than one-quarter of Americans (30 percent) don’t moisturize their skin at least once a week, and 15 percent of Americans admit they never moisturize their skin at all. As we now know, the want to kick dry skin to the curb is there but the will to do something to help the situation could use a little work. By providing expert-approved tips and solutions on how to care for your skin in the winter, we hope to impact some of those numbers—for the better. Without further ado, read on to discover expert tips on how to care for your dry winter skin—courtesy of New York-based dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry—plus, learn about a hydrating CeraVe product that can make all the difference for your skin.
WHY DOES SKIN GET DRY IN THE WINTER?
Before we get into how to prevent dry skin in the winter, it’s important to understand why flakes and uncomfortable dryness occur in the first place. We know that cold weather, harsh winds, and artificial heating are common culprits, and Dr. Henry explains why: “When it is cold outside there is more moisture in your skin than the air,” she says. “The brutal winter air leaches moisture from your skin causing uncomfortable dryness. Furthermore, indoor radiators use dry heat to warm up our homes. That dry heat causes further drying to the skin.”
CAN YOU AVOID DRY SKIN IN THE WINTER?
We’ll start with the bad news. “Most people (even those with very oily skin) suffer from some level of dryness during the winter months,” Dr. Henry says. The good news is that getting relief from dry winter skin is possible, and it doesn’t require you to uplift your belongings and move to a milder climate.
The brutal winter air leaches moisture from your skin causing uncomfortable dryness.
HOW TO CARE FOR DRY WINTER SKIN
We asked Dr. Henry to share her best tips on how to care for dry skin in the winter.
Tip #1: Switch Your Moisturizer
Still using your lightweight moisturizer from summer? Dr. Henry recommends swapping it for a heavy-duty cream or rich ointment. While you’re at it, adjust your cleanser appropriately as well. “I prefer a cream based cleanser to a gel or foam as they are less drying,” she says.
Tip #2: Avoid Long Hot Showers
When it’s cold outside, many of us enjoy warming up in a steamy shower with. While scalding hot water may feel relaxing on your skin, it could be causing additional dryness you most certainly don’t need. “Long hot showers are terrible for winter skin,” Dr. Henry says. “I recommend lukewarm showers which are less likely to strip valuable moisture from your skin.”
Tip #3: Moisturize Often
One of the easiest ways to keep dry skin in check this winter is to be diligent with your moisturizing habits. That includes moisturizing often, but also using a powerful formula. “Moisturize your skin with a great moisturizer formulated with ceramides,” Dr. Henry says. All CeraVe moisturizers contain ceramides, and one of Dr. Henry’s favorites for winter is the CeraVe Healing Ointment. We share the benefits of CeraVe’s Healing Ointment, and how you can incorporate it into your routine, ahead.
Editor’s note: You won’t see the results you seek if your skin is bogged down with a buildup of dead cells. If it’s been a while since you exfoliated your skin, take the time to do so. “Gently exfoliating the skin can allow moisturizers to penetrate,” Dr. Henry says.
THE BENEFITS OF CERAVE’S HEALING OINTMENT
As mentioned, all CeraVe products—including the Healing Ointment—contain ceramides, “which are key to moisturizing and sustaining moisture in the skin,” Dr. Henry says. Healing Ointment—developed with dermatologists—in particular protects and soothes dry, cracked, and chafed skin, which many often experience in winter. And while some ointments can leave behind a thick, greasy residue, Healing Ointment does no such thing. It boasts a non-greasy feel, and can help protect your skin from the drying effects of wind and cold weather.
To use, apply the ointment to dry areas as needed. “I love to apply the Healing Ointment to dry hands and feet at night,” Dr. Henry says. “Apply cotton gloves or socks afterwards for a great skin moisturizing treatment.”
CeraVe Healing Ointment, $19.88 MSRP
*The CeraVe Winter Skin Relief Day survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of CeraVe from December 12-14, 2017 among 2,048 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.