Best Face Forward

Emerge from winter with fresh skin


The start of a new year is a great time to put your best face forward.  With the temperature extremes of winter and the effects of traveling during the holidays or vacationing in different climates, your skin may require attention. Woodhouse Day Spa owner Kim Stevens knows the seasonal impact on skin. “Winter months bring a combination of cold, harsh wind and indoor heat that produces dry, flaky and itchy skin and can wreak havoc on your complexion and be very dulling,”  she says.
According to the American Association of Dermatology, simple changes can soothe dry skin, and following the same skin care routine year round may not work so well when the humidity drops. Without a change in your skin care, dry air can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Dry skin can itch, flake, crack and even bleed.
It’s not just what you use, but how. Stevens recommends moisturizers containing vitamin E to help lock in the moisture and serums to penetrate the epidermis more deeply  to hydrate and plump up the complexion.  “Think of it as layering … like getting dressed for a cold day,” she explains. “Layer your serum and moisturizer, and don’t forget the sunscreen. Just because it’s winter does not mean you are safe from the sun’s powerful rays, especially if you’re skiing!
“In addition to preventive measures, treatments can help your skin cope in the winter. Having regular facials will help to combat dry, dull complexions by regenerating, oxygenating and stimulating your skin for maximum absorption of nutrient-rich products,” says Stevens.  She recommends a HydraFacial for all skin types, saying, “It will give you the best results with its breakthrough resurfacing and fusion technology.  Antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid are infused into your skin, and the results are immediate, with no downtime.” For home use, she suggests Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Mask: “This highly concentrated masque infuses dehydrated and stressed skin with optimal amounts of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to replenish depleted moisture levels. It is also available in a serum, Hydrating B5 Gel.
“One of the best investments you can make for your skin year round,” says Stevens, “is a Clarisonic Sonic Cleansing Brush that will ensure that you cleanse your face six times better than hands alone and provide a greater absorption of serums and moisturizers.” She also recommends special attention to the eye area. “Don’t underestimate the value of eye creams both morning and night,” she says. “ This much thinner skin around the eye is working hard  —  blinking, squinting and smiling —  and can show signs of aging faster than the rest of your face. Look for ingredients that include peptides and vitamins K and C.  Keeping the area around the eye moisturized and hydrated will soften the look around the eye and slow the signs of aging.”

Healthy Skin Care Tips

Prevent baths and showers from making dry skin worse.

When your skin is dry, be sure to:
•    Close the bathroom door when you bathe.
•    Limit your time in the shower or bath to five or 10 minutes.
•    Use warm rather than hot water.
•    Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil, but avoid using so much that you see a thick lather.
•    Blot your skin gently dry with a towel.

Ointments, creams and lotions (moisturizers) work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. To trap this much-needed moisture, apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after a shower or bath or after washing your face or hands.

Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. Look for a cream or ointment that contains an oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil. Shea butter also works well. Other ingredients that help to soothe dry skin include lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum.
Wear lip balm. Choose one that feels good on your lips. Some healing lip balms can irritate your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction.

Some products are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin. When your skin is dry, stop using deodorant soaps and skin care products that contain alcohol, fragrance, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA).  Avoiding these products will help your skin retain its natural oils.

Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin.  Be sure to put gloves on before you go outdoors in winter,
perform tasks that require you to get your hands wet and before you get chemicals, grease and other substances
on your hands.

Use detergent labeled “hypoallergenic.” When skin is dry and raw, even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating. To avoid discomfort, wear cotton or silk under your clothing made of wool or another material that feels rough.

Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat source can dry your skin.

Add moisture to the air.
Plug in a humidifier. If you can check your home heating system,
find out if you have a humidifier on the
system — and whether it’s working.

© 2014 American Academy of Dermatology.
American Association of Dermatology


By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen

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