03 Feb 5 Winter Skin Myths and How to Really Beat Winter Skin Problems
Winter brings two tough beauty challenges: dry, itchy skin and chapped lips. There’s countless advice on how to beat these nuisances, but it can be contradictory. Is lip balm good or does it make your lips drier? Should you take a steamy shower or not? We’ve compiled a list of the most common winter skin myths, explained why they’re false, and given you the real advice. Take a look at the top winter skin myths below to arm yourself against the elements.
Winter skin myth #1: Steamy showers help to lock in moisture.
It feels so, so good to take a hot shower after coming in from the cold, but it’s not worth the damage to your skin. Showering in water above 98.6 degrees will cause your blood vessels to dilate, which causes the skin to lose water. As soon as you get out of the shower, your skin loses moisture because the hot water stripped your skin of its natural oil. This can give you the dry, itchy skin that’s a common complaint during winter. It’s best to bathe in lukewarm water for only five to ten minutes. If you’re really craving a hot shower, keep it under five minutes, and use a soap-free body wash. Follow this by patting your skin dry, don’t rub it, so you can keep the moisture leftover from the shower.
Winter skin myth #2: Extra-rich moisturizers are better during winter.
A concentrated formula doesn’t always hydrate your skin better. Some moisturizers have too many lipids that keep dead cells on your skin. Instead of completely drying your skin after a shower and then applying a moisturizer, apply the moisturizer within three minutes of getting out of the shower to trap water in the upper layers of your skin (remembering to pat dry). This will help to retain moisture.
Give your skin an added boost by eating enough poultry, meat, and whole grains in the winter. The vitamin B, particularly niacin, in these foods helps to open capillaries on the skin’s surface, which improves blood delivery and boosts skin health.
Winter skin myth #3: Exfoliating makes dry skin worse during winter.
If you already have dry skin, exfoliating can help to renew it and allow moisture-rich cells to surface. If your skin is damaged, though, it can make it worse, so don’t exfoliate skin that’s too dry or cracked. Consider buying a humidifier to maintain at least 43 percent humidity in your home. This will help put moisture back in the air and prevent the damaging effects of dry air on your skin.
Winter skin myth #4: Gray skies means you don’t need sunscreen.
You’re exposed to UV rays no matter what time of year it is and the depleting ozone layer has made the effects even worse. Although snow is far from our minds in Long Beach, those of you in snowy areas need to beware that snow reflects more than 80% of the sun’s damaging UV rays, so while you’re standing and enjoying the picturesque snowfall in the daytime, your skin is absorbing harmful UV rays. Always (and we mean year-round) wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
Winter skin myth #5: Extra lip balm helps to prevent chapped lips.
The dreaded chapped lip. It attacks every winter, making you look dehydrated and unkissable. Cracks can allow bacteria in, which can cause more chapping. Some lip balms have mineral oil or petroleum jelly, which creates a film on your lips. Others have long lists of perfumes, artificial flavors, and color that can dry your skin further. Avoid flavored lip balms- because they’ll tempt you to lick your lips, which makes the problem worse. The enzymes in saliva break down the skin and cause cracks. This is one of the reasons why some people complain that lip balms make their lips chapped; it’s actually saliva that’s the problem.
If your lips are already cracked, gently exfoliate with some raw sugar on a soft toothbrush, then apply balm. Save your long-lasting lipsticks for warmer weather when your lips can handle their drying properties. Opt for a more natural lip in winter to keep your pout looking healthy.
If you’ve tried treating your winter skin problems and they persist, you may have eczema or psoriasis that needs to be treated by a doctor. Give Ulmer and Wu Dermatology a call at (562) 435-5621 to make an appointment.