Winter is a time for giving, gathering with loved ones…and dry, damaged skin.
That’s the truth for most of us in these cold, dry climates during this time of year. And while it’s more difficult to deal with, a few tweaks to your skincare routine can make all the difference!
Here to teach us exactly how we can protect our skin this season is Dr. Sara Lohser.
About Dr. Sara Lohser, MD, FAAD
Dr. Lohser grew up in Cleveland Heights, OH where she graduated with honors from Cleveland Heights High School. She comes from a family of proud Ohio State University Buckeyes, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue her undergraduate degree there, earning a BS in Biology and BA in Spanish (both with Honors Cum Laude) in 2001.
While attending medical school at Case Western, Dr. Lohser was honored to accept a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. As a Fellow, she provided research assistance to faculty investigators at UNC’s Cystic Fibrosis Pulmonary Treatment and Research Center. Throughout her education, professional training, and medical career, Dr. Lohser has always prioritized volunteer work.
She provided medical support and Spanish translation for a pediatric urologic surgery team during multiple medical mission trips to Guatemala and Honduras, she has volunteered her time at the Cleveland Free Clinic since she was an undergraduate student and has pursued other volunteer activities.
Showering and Washing Your Face in the Winter
You might not think it, but your daily shower and face wash might be doing more harm than good!
1. How often should I shower in the winter?
The key to showering in the winter is to take shorter showers and for some people decreasing the number of showers per week.
“Some patients take multiple showers a day, due to work-related activities and/or workouts. Those people are more likely to suffer from noticeably dryer skin.”
Often dryer skin results in more itchy skin as well, this can create a problematic cycle.
2. Should I take a cold shower in the winter?
It may seem scary to take a cold shower in the winter, especially since we tend to go the opposite way, cranking that heat up as high as our skin can stand!
“While there is no need to take a cold shower, our tendency during the bitter cold winters of Northeast Ohio is to take very hot, very long showers. While this “escape” may feel good during the shower, the effects on your skin are not good!”
Taking warm (tepid) showers, and as mentioned shorter showers, is best!
3. When should I apply a moisturizer in the winter?
Another way to help beat winter dry skin is how and when you apply your moisturizer and what type you use.
“The best method is immediately following your shower or bath, pat yourself dry (avoid rubbing the skin!), leaving some of the water on your skin. Then apply your moisturizer to help lock in the extra layer of hydration.”
As many of you may know, a walk down the lotion aisle of any drugstore can be overwhelming with options!
Key things to look for in your winter moisturizer:
- While lotions may do the trick in the summer, thicker options like creams or ointments will help combat dry or itchy or irritated skin during the winter
- Look for products that contain ceramides, which are lipids (fats) that are key components in preventing water loss. When ceramides are depleted and low, the skin is more likely to be dry, itchy, and irritated. There are many products that have ceramides, ranging in prices but Cerave and Cetaphil Restoraderm are generally the easiest to find and reasonably priced. You can also often find coupons online or sales at local drugstores— I recommend that my patients stock up when they are on sale!
- Another ingredient to look for in your moisturizer is dimethicone, this also helps prevent water loss by forming a hydrating barrier
4. What kind of soap or shower gel should I use in the winter?
“Mild, gentle soaps and shower gels are best always but especially in the winter! Ideally avoiding things with fragrances and dyes as these can further irritate dry skin.”
5. What is the best face wash for dry or sensitive skin in winter?
The key to winter skin care is moisture. Since there’s already less moisture in the air, washing with a harsh, drying cleanser will only further the skin irritation.
Here are some options for winter face washes:
- Cerave offers a hydrating facial cleanser
- Neutrogena offers an ultra-gentle hydrating cleanser and the Hydroboost is also a fan favorite.
- Cetaphil gentle cleanser has been around for many years and while it may be met with some criticism, it is a great inexpensive and very gentle option. I have had very sensitive skin throughout my life and it is still a go-to product of mine.
For more skincare tips and to read “The Best Skin Care Regimen for Winter” visit Apex Skin blog at https://www.apexskin.com/2020/01/14/winter-skincare-routine/.