Keep Calm and Moisturize.
the skinY: First of all, how does cold weather affect skin?
DLK: In northern climates such as Canada, a drop in the temperature results in a drop in humidity levels. This means your homes and offices are much drier than in Spring or Summer. Because of the lower humidity levels, I see more patients complaining of dry skin.
the skinY: Our face also feels windburned. What the Yuck?!
DLK: Windburn occurs with environmental exposure and subsequent transepidermal water loss resulting in flaky, irritated skin.
the skinY: Another WTY winter skin moment: little red dry patches! What causes those?
DLK: There are a number of different skin eruptions that can occur during the winter. The most common is called asteatotic dermatitis which is scaly, red, irritated patches. Once again the best treatment is prevention using baths with bath oil instead of showers and soap. Prescription medication can be prescribed to quickly treat the dermatitis.
the skinY: So what are the key things we should do keep our skin happy in the winter?
DLK: Avoid drying deodorant soaps, apply a protective barrier cream after bathing, take warm baths, and use an SPF of 30 or higher daily. Consider switching to a thicker moisturizer and prevent dryness by moisturizing morning and night. Oily and combination skin types do best with oil-free lotions. If you’re drier, use a cream-based moisturizer. These simple steps can make a big difference in how the skin feels and looks.
the skinY: Warm baths sound nice but it ‘s so tempting to take long hot showers when you’re pressed for time. Is that a no-no?
DLK: Yes. Try to take shorter, cooler showers to help keep your skin from drying out and switch to richer moisturizers to help counteract winter’s drying effects. And moisturize right when you step out of the shower to lock in moisture.
the skinY: You’re all about using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. But can we get away with a lower SPF product in winter since the sun is less strong?
DLK: Don’t judge the strength of the sun by the temperature outside. Always wear broad spectrum block. No matter how cold it is, skin can still burn from sun exposure in winter.
the skinY: Does the scalp need to be protected in winter as well?
DLK: Yes, I recommend wearing a hat and using a gentler shampoo.
the skinY: Any advice for our mommy readers on how to protect young children’s skin?
DLK: Remember to use sun protection on children in winter. Keep young children covered at all times and don’t forget that little finger, toes, ears and noses are more susceptible than ours to frostbite. So don’t over expose.
Product recommendation for skiers. The sun reflects off snow and ice, and you can get burned easily. Try Dr. Lisa Kellett’s sweat resistant SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray, $35. This oil-free formula is ideal for those who have acne-prone skin.