We Bust Common Winter Skin Care Myths
Trying to track down the cure-alls for dry, winter skin is a never-ending feat. As skin-care editors, we’re always on the lookout for different remedies — DIY and dermatologist-approved. Along the way, though, we’ve stumbled upon some questionable theories that left us wondering the truth about things like using lip balms to salvage dry lips, taking hot showers and all the other things we do in winter. We’re setting the record straight once and for all with the help of board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, Purvisha Patel, MD. Ahead, we debunk common winter skin-care myths.
Winter Skin Myth #1: You Don’t Need to Wear Sunscreen in the Winter
The Truth: Of all beauty myths, this one makes us cringe the most. No matter what the season is outside, you always — we repeat: always — have to wear SPF. “UV radiation exposure happens both in the summer and winter,” says Dr. Patel. “Exposure from the sun may not feel like it’s happening in the winter, but UV light reflects off surfaces and still affects the skin. Wearing SPF of at least 30 is recommended on a daily and year-round basis.” There you have it, doctor’s orders: wear your sunscreen. Need a recommendation? Reach for the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 which is a fast-absorbing formula that can be used on your face and body.
Winter Skin Myth #2: Lip Balms Make Your Lips More Dry
The Truth: This common belief stems from the constant application and reapplication of lip balm during the winter, as a method to hydrate your dry lips. The question is, if we have to re-apply so many times, is it actually making our lips more dry to begin with? To put it plainly, yes, some lip balms may be doing so. “Some lip balms have menthol, camphor or other cooling agents that cool by evaporating water from the surface of the skin and can make the lips more dry,” says Dr. Patel. The solution? Don’t skip out on reading the ingredients list of your lip balm. Opt for an option with moisturizing ingredients like Kiehl's Lip Balm #1. It’s formulated with hydrating squalane and soothing aloe vera, which is known to help replenish the skin keeping it soft, supple and moisturized.
Winter Skin Myth #3: Hot Showers Have No Affect on Your Skin
The Truth: While we wish this was the case, the truth is, Dr. Patel says hot showers can result in dry, eczematous skin in the winter. “Hot water evaporates off the skin quickly and when the water is lost, there are cracks left on the skin’s surface,” she explains. “When the nerves under the skin are exposed to air from the cracks in the surface, that results in itching.” So, whether you like it or not, if you want to avoid dry, itchy skin, your safest bet is taking a lukewarm shower.
Winter Skin Myth #4: Exfoliating Makes Your Skin More Dry
The Truth: Here’s the deal, Dr. Patel says that in the winter the skin dries more due to hot showers and overall heating. Because of this, the water on your skin evaporates faster, resulting in cracks on the surface of the skin. “The more dead skin cells on the skin, the deeper the cracks,” she says. “If the nerves of the skin's surface get exposed to air from these cracks, this results in itching and redness.” To avoid that itchiness and redness from occurring, you need to exfoliate. “Exfoliating helps slough off dead skin cells and lessens the depth of the cracks in the surface of the skin,” explains Dr. Patel. She recommends using the Visha Skincare Sugar Shrink Body Scrub, an exfoliating sugar scrub that moisturizes the skin thanks to the added avocado oil. If you’re looking for a face scrub, we love the SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub for its gentle exfoliation that doesn’t strip the skin of its moisture.
Winter Skin Myth #5: The Thicker the Moisturizer the Better
The Truth: Little did you know that thicker moisturizers are only better if you exfoliate your skin. “If thick balms are constantly applied to non-exfoliated skin, the dead cells will just pill and make the skin more likely to crack,” says Dr. Patel. So, before you reach for your intensely, rich moisturizer, be sure to exfoliate.