Have you found that the winter months can be annoyingly harsh on your skin? Between the frigid temperatures, harsh winds, and dry indoor heat, winter is the worst time of year when it comes to keeping our skin hydrated, healthy and supple, especially if you’re not sure of the best way to go about it.
With summer winding down, you may be starting to notice the effects that all those fun outdoor activities have had on your skin, all of which have been accumulating over the years. These include more wrinkles, age spots, scaly patches, cracked, and even bleeding skin. With the damage done, skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis may also flare up during these cold, dry months.
At-Home Tips to Protect Your Skin
Staying out of the cold in winter helps to lessen the damage, but you need to do more to effectively counteract winter’s effects and keep your skin looking youthful and smooth. To reduce chapping, redness, and itching, and keep skin more healthy and comfortable this season, start by trying these eight simple tips.
1. Wash in Lukewarm Water
Hot showers and baths may feel good in the winter, but choose lukewarm water to avoid stripping oils away from the skin.
2. Moisturize Immediately
Not only does your skin need more moisture, but it’s best to immediately apply moisturizer to your damp skin and help seal in that dampness.
3. Choose Your Moisturizer Carefully
Avoid moisturizers with petroleum-based ingredients that can further dry your skin in the winter months. Be sure to choose a formula that has natural, nourishing ingredients and look for an oil-based rather than a water-based solution. Doing this will more likely help your skin retain moisture in the winter.
4. Protect Exposed Areas
Wear gloves and scarves for protection against cold winds, snow, and rain. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. The sun in winter can be just as damaging as it is in summer, so apply a liberal coating to any exposed areas before going outdoors.
5. Humidify Your Home
The heating system in your home dries out the air, so consider installing a humidifier, particularly in your bedroom. Putting moisture back into the air and will help prevent your skin from drying out.
6. Drink Water
Because we prefer hot drinks like hot chocolate and tea in winter, we tend to drink less water. Your skin needs hydration, best provided from the inside, by freshwater.
7. Moisturize Overnight
The dryer areas of our bodies like our hands, feet, elbows, and knees have thinner skin. These tend to lose moisture faster than other areas on the body. Consider slathering on a deep moisturizing balm night, and even wear cotton gloves and socks to seal in the moisture until morning.
8. Exfoliate Dead Skin
We often forget to remove dead skin cells in the winter, particularly on our hands. Moisture has a hard time penetrating a layer of dead skin cells. Look for an exfoliating mask and use it on your face and your hands, then follow immediately with a moisturizer.
Restoring Your Skin’s Healthy Glow
Even following all this advice may not reverse all of the sun damage accumulated over the years. However, you absolutely can restore your skin’s healthy glow without the need for surgery. Dr. Malena Amato, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon, offers non-surgical topical treatments and laser procedures that can be fully customized to restore your skin’s healthy glow.
To select the best option for skin treatment, let’s take a more in-depth look at the two treatment options.
TCA Chemical Peel
You might have some success with a chemical peel at home and can achieve a more youthful skin texture. However, you would probably also be overwhelmed by the large variety of over-the-counter peels available. Add to this the risks, side effects, and dangers of chemical peels, and you might change your mind entirely about doing it yourself.
A medical-grade trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel like that offered by Dr. Amato is provided as an outpatient procedure and fully customized to your specific requirements. This TCA peel will rejuvenate your skin, gently remove the thin layer of dry, damaged skin and give it a smoother texture and a younger, fresher look.
This procedure dissolves cells that have become discolored or aged. In the process, new, healthy cells are stimulated to replace them. This new cell production causes the body to generate a surge of fresh collagen, which goes towards the formation of new cells during the healing process, making the skin healthy, full, and supple. Having regular chemical peels can counteract some of the effects of normal aging by maintaining optimal collagen levels.
Your recovery time from a TCA peel will depend on the strength of the peel you and Dr. Amato have chosen. In as little as 48 hours, you should be able to resume your normal activities. However, it’s best to allow up to a week to recover from a deeper peel. Of course, after a chemical peel, not only is it important to avoid overexposure to the sun, you should also moisturize several times a day, which keeps the skin hydrated and encourages healing. If you can’t avoid going out into the sun, try using a sunscreen made for babies or sensitive skin.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Another non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatment is to use the fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser, the latest in medical technology, which effectively “resurfaces” the skin. This type of ablative laser has the longest wavelength of all the lasers available today, making it not only highly effective and safe for a wide range of skin tones but also excellent at turning back the clock on the discoloration, wrinkles, and uneven texture brought on by too much sun damage.
CO2 laser treatment may also address your other concerns, such as scarring from acne or injuries. Gentle enough to use on the delicate skin around the eyes, these lasers are also powerful enough to noticeably improve the quality of even thicker skin, such as that found in the neck and chest.
As with TCA peels, the depth of your laser treatment, as customized to your goals, will influence the time necessary for healing.
Next Steps to Keeping Your Skin Glowing All Winter Long
Apart from following the tips above to hydrate and take care of your skin during winter, did you know that this is the best time of the year to plan your peel or ablative laser treatment? With your skin becoming especially sensitive to the sun’s rays afterward, fall or winter are the ideal seasons for these treatments.
By the time next summer rolls around, you’ll be ready to take on the world with your revitalized and younger-looking skin. Be prepared for all those outdoor activities, beach trips, pool parties, and family getaways and your best summer ever!
Dr. Malena Amato’s customizable, non-surgical treatment options can remove your skin discolorations and signs of premature aging, making your smooth and unblemished skin a reality. To erase years of sun damage and look your best, call our Austin medical spa today at 512-501-1010 or contact us online.