How to Avoid Dry, Flaky Skin This Season
By Susan Van Dyke, MD, on www.EVliving.com
The onset of winter is heralded by the winter itch. When the temperature drops and the heat is turned up, we all start to itch. Artificial, indoor heating has the negative effect of lowering the moisture in the air. In turn, the moisture from the surface of the skin declines and severe dryness sets in. When skin dries out, the all important “epidermal barrier” breaks down and the skin becomes irritable--irritable skin feels itchy. Preparing your skin can combat the itch and can go far in preventing the dreaded winter skin woes.
The solution for winter itch is to replace the moisture and then seal it in. Oils (both natural skin oils and those we apply in lotions and creams) are essential to limiting moisture loss. Arizona, of course, does not get that cold, but as soon as you turn on the heat, the winter itch cycle can begin. Your winter routine should consist of short, warm (not hot) showers with a rich, non-drying creamy cleanser. Towel dry and quickly apply a good body lotion to seal in the moisture. Skin will be soft and comfortable all winter!
Winter Products That Work
MD Forte by Allergan has a high-content glycolic Hand and Body Cream that works by removing superficial dead cells to allow for better hydration. Those dead skin cells act like a dry flaky barrier to moisturization and this product helps to get rid of those “scales.” This is a treatment to start early—before your skin has reached the irritation and inflammation stages.
Facial skin is also susceptible to dryness and dehydration. This is a great time of year to indulge in a hydrating facial! Exfoliating treatments such as Illuminize Peel by SkinMedica help remove dead, dry skin and stimulate cellular turnover resulting in plump, hydrated cells that translate into a beautiful winter glow.
Lips can also bear the brunt of winter wind, as well as cold and dry air by cracking and peeling. Chapstick is a great start, but true physician-grade lip conditioners are better. Kinerase by Valeant Pharmaceuticals makes an effective Lip Treatment or, try out SkinMedica‘s Lip Conditioner plus added lip plumper to combat the dryness and add fullness!
Tackle Winter Challenges
Other challenges in the winter can be related to winter sports. Skiing exposes the face to blasts of frigid, dry air as well as excessive UV radiation due to high altitude. It is crucial to slather on the sunscreen—pick a rich moisturizing formula to counteract dryness. Choose a physical sun block such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide if your skin is very dry—sun blocks are less likely to irritate the skin than the chemical sunscreens.
You may be tempted to keep your summer tan with a trip to the tanning booth. Don’t! Keep a golden color with safe self tanners. Be aware, however, that self tanners tend to be drying—double-up on your moisturizer. Winter tans obtained artificially with sunlamps and tanning beds are just as damaging, if not more so, than chronic sun exposure. Wrinkles and skin cancer aren’t the results you are looking for, so protect your skin year-round.
Good winter skin care goes a long way, but don’t forget that when you are all bundled up against the weather, it is advisable to think of your vitamin d requirements. When our skin is exposed to sun, it is a great source of vitamin d. Winter may drastically reduce incidental sun exposure and reduce our natural vitamin d production. The solution: don’t forget your daily multivitamin.
ABOUT DR. SUSAN VAN DYKE
Susan Van Dyke, M.D. is a board certified dermatologist who has performed more than 10,000 non-invasive cosmetic procedures and has received the “Physician’s Recognition Award” from the American Medical Association each practicing year. She is a top consultant and national physician trainer for Medicis, Allergan and Lumenis; on the speakers’ bureaus for Clinique Medical and Obagi; a “Platinum Plus” BOTOX Cosmetic and Juvéderm Provider; and her practice is designated as a BOTOX Cosmetic National Training Center. Dr. Van Dyke has also lectured internationally for Thermage and is on the advisory board for Valeant Pharmaceuticals. For more information on Dr. Van Dyke and her practice, visit www.VanDykeLaser.com.
ABOUT VAN DYKE LASER & SKIN
Named the “Top Medspa” by Arizona Woman magazine in 2007 and 2008, Van Dyke Laser & Skin was one of the first dermatology practices in the world to focus exclusively on cosmetic dermatology. Founder, Susan Van Dyke, MD, is known across the nation for her expertise; in fact, she is a national media consultant and broadcast personality on skin care and beauty topics. Helping to keep Scottsdale at the forefront of beauty nationally, Dr. Van Dyke is recognized as an expert in “combination therapy” by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and is typically one of the first to launch the latest proven therapies in cosmetic medicine. For more information, visit www.VanDykeLaser.com.
Hours of operation for Van Dyke Laser & Skin are Tues.-Fri. from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sat. from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Consultations and appointments can be booked through 480.948.5045.
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