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We spend a lot of time protecting our skin from the sun's UV rays during the warmer months. However, our skin is just as susceptible to damage during the winter months. In fact, people of all ages suffer from dry skin during the winter because the humidity is typically much lower. When skin becomes dry, it looks dull and feels rough to the touch. Existing fine lines may become more pronounced while wrinkles can begin looking slightly fractured.

Dry skin is manageable. And with winter looming, it's important that you take preventative measures to ensure that your skin can retain sufficient moisture. Today, I'll explain how you can help to keep your skin hydrated during the coming winter months.

Using Sunscreens During The Winter

The epidermis protects the underlying layers of skin. It is made up from several layers; the top layer is called the stratum corneum and contains natural oils that help the body retain water. When the stratum corneum retains enough water, the skin is smooth and supple. However, when this uppermost layer of skin loses water, it becomes dry, and if left unchecked, can crack and even bleed.

There are a number of environmental factors that can influence how quickly the stratum corneum loses moisture. One of these factors is excess exposure to the sun's UV rays. While some may consider it counterintuitive, you should be using an effective sunscreen during the winter that offers broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. The sun is damaging to your skin throughout the entire year.  

Moisturize To Retain Water

Because dry skin is so prevalent during the winter, consider using emollients that help your skin retain water while replenishing valuable lipids and essential fatty acids. As humidity decreases, your skin has a difficult time maintaining its smooth and supple appearance. Look for products that contain emollient ingredients such as glycerin, shea butter, ceramides, lipids, hyaluronic acid to repair a damaged lipid barrier and aid in water retention. Natural moisturizing factors found in the stratum corneum are water soluble compounds that retain water and absorb it from the environment to keep skin hydrated. They include ingredients urea, lactic acid, amino acids and salts.  

Exfoliate to Shed Dry Skin Cells

Though it seems counter-intuitive, exfoliating not only gets rid of dry, rough skin cells that sit on the skin's surface, but can also help to increase penetration of moisturizers. Consider products that include ingredients like lactic acid and other [Link Removed] 

Preparing For The Cold Months

Plan to use a combination of well formulated sunscreens and emollients to prevent your skin from drying out. While an effective sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun's UVA and UVB rays, moisturizers can replenish dry skin with essential lipids while helping it retain water. Exfoliants can help your skin absorb moisturizers more effectively. Taking these steps can help ensure that your skin looks smooth and healthy during the winter months.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care including [Link Removed] 


Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kmarie wrote Oct 22, 2008
    • I have started using the sunscreen under or sometimes mixing it into my lotions, do you know if this is okay to do? I did it because i was orignally putting the sun screen on top of the lotion.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Oct 22, 2008
    • what do you think of bag balm and corn huskers? are those good to use everyday, and will they help?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kmarie wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Now that it is turning colder,  my last year’s winter routine was body oil, then heavy cream lotion then sunscreen. Will it matter if it is body oil, suncreen then lotion?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Hi Kmarie

      Re sunscreen and mixing into lotion, it’s not advisable to do this and you can dilute the sunscreen and decrease its effectiveness. When applying different skincare products, apply them in order of density with lightest going on first, followed by those that are heavier in formulation next. So, you’d apply serums first, lotions, then creams. Last of all is make-up. This order will help you to avoid a very light formulation from ‘dissolving’ heavier products underneath and thereby creating a messy look.  

      If your lotion is lighter than sunscreen apply first. If it is heavier than your sunscreen apply after.  

      The same would apply to your question re body oil, lotion and sunscreen.  

      Hope this helps,
      Sharmani



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Oct 23, 2008
    • Hi Sharmani,

      This is great because it’s organized into a nice 3-step regimen that I can remember. Your answer to Kmarie’s question is a big help, too. Thanks for the great informtion. I keep forgetting to use sunscreen in the winter, and each year my hands get more and more freckled! I use mineral makeup year round, so that probably works in the winter as a sunscreen, but I’m going to have to start carrying around hand sunscreen in my purse.

      Namaste,
      Suzann
      [Link Removed]


      Suzann, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • Hi Suzann

      Hands are important too, you‘re right. And sunscreen in the purse is a great idea.

      Sharmani



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • Hi Linni

      Corn Huskers contains glycerin, an emollient and Oleyl Sarcosin, a lubricant so I can see why Corn Huskers may be beneficial to dry skin. However, the formulation also contains alcohol, which is listed as the third ingredient so there is the potential for this product to actually dry skin.  

      Bag balm is a medicated salve with lanolin and petrolatum, both which are beneficial in soothing and protecting dry skin. This combination of ingredients would be quite heavy and occlusive so many may find it unappealing for use during the day. However, it will work. Note that some individuals are sensitive to lanolin and if that’s the case Bag Balm should be avoided.  

      Sharmani



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dennie05 wrote Oct 27, 2008
    • I am a nurse, and we have to use the alcohol based foam or liquid hand sanatizer when entering and leaving a patients room or when going to another patient.  Needless to say, my hands are always dry.  They used to crack very badly around and on top of the fingertips, but that has improved since drinking Monavie, which has very high levels of antioxidants that helpsyour body heal.  (an additional benefit I noticed after drinking it last winter!!).  But my skin on my hands usually remain dry while at work  and it really is no use to put on lotion because you just have to wash it off within minutes.  Any suggestions??



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