Keeping your skin healthy against cold weather

During the winter, the air is drier, which causes our skin to lose moisture. Jennifer Powers, MD, FAAD, says there are a few simple tricks to counteract the painful effects of cold weather.

Moisturize after showers and baths

Moisturize within three minutes after showering or bathing to seal in the moisture. Additionally, using lukewarm to cold water, rather than hot, will cause less skin irritation.

Moisturize after washing hands

Due to COVID-19, we’re all washing our hands more to keep ourselves and others safe. It’s important to note that moisturizing is also crucial to prevent the spread of germs—when the skin barrier is not smooth, it is more welcoming to pathogenic bacteria.

Moisturize before and after wearing a mask

Cold weather and harsh wind strips the skin barrier of moisture, making it more easily irritated from from friction, chemicals, and allergens. To combat this irritation, select a non-comedogenic and non-allergen moisturizer to put on before and after wearing a mask.

Use a humidifier

People with really dry skin can put humidifiers in their bedrooms to put moisture into the air, reversing the evaporation. People spend hopefully eight hours in their bedroom every night sleeping, and those eight sleeping hours can have an impact on any skin condition.

Powers says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you stay on top of moisturizing, you almost never get behind.

“People shouldn’t hesitate to call us for more help,” Powers says. “We have a lot of therapies that we can administer if you need dermatology-specific help.”

Older individuals and people with eczema or atopic dermatitis are often more susceptible to irritation.