Top Tips to Protect Skin From the Cold

A good skin care regimen is essential to guaranteeing our patient's skin - as well as our own skin - will look its best in the winter months.

Dropping temperatures can wreak havoc on the body’s delicate moisture balance, and the skin takes quite a beating while transitioning from the cold outside to the dry heat inside. Therefore, it is essential for us to educate our patients on caring for their skin throughout the cold months.

The following skin care tips will ensure your patients’ skin will look its best in the winter months.

Moisturize

One of the key ways to help skin survive the cold is moisturizing multiple times a day. I don’t just mean the face, because the hands are exposed to the cold, too. My advice is to carry a hand moisturizer and reapply it as often as possible.

Any moisturizer should have these 3 basic components:

  1. Vitamin C: As the number one free-radical defender for skin, vitamin C stimulates collagen production, which allows the skin to maintain its supple yet firm appearance. The moisturizer should contain vitamin C ingredients, such as L-ascorbic Acid, vitamin C ester or ascorbyl palmitate. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays deactivate the power of vitamin C, so applying moisturizer at night will provide optimal benefits.
  2. Vitamin A: Yet another excellent source for stimulating collagen production, vitamin A — or retinol, as it is more commonly known in moisturizers — also aids in skin exfoliation, which allows new, radiant skin cells to shine through.
  3. SPF: Sunblock is not just for the summer. From an early age, the liberal daily use of sunscreen is the foundational element to protect skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Exercise

Regular exercise stimulates healthy blood flow and muscle tone, which allows the skin to maintain its firmness and elasticity. If the weather gets chilly outside, there are still plenty of indoor activities to advise your patients to partake in, either at home or at their local gym. Activities like yoga offer a great way for patients to de-stress while toning and firming the skin.

Sleep

Patients often overlook sleep, due to their busy lifestyles. But the 6 hours many of them are getting a night just doesn’t cut it anymore. In general, we should be sleeping a minimum of 8 hours a night to allow our bodies — including our skin — to replenish and recharge. As an added benefit, studies have shown that 8 or more hours of shut-eye a night may help patients lose weight.

Environmental Factors

Considering this is a tenuous time of year for our patients' skin, why not advise them to reduce the number of negative factors their skin is exposed to every day? These factors not only allow winter to strip the skin, but also may promote premature signs of aging.

To promote healthier skin during the cold months, some factors to minimize include:

  • Exposure or overexposure to sun
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Cycles of weight gain and weight loss that cause the skin to loosen or sag
  • Salty foods that promote water retention

--

As we all know, a good skin care regimen is essential to guaranteeing our patient’s skin — as well as our own skin — will look its best in the winter.