Monday, Feb. 16, 2015

WINTERIZING

Be kind to your skin this season

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We have had quite a winter this year in the Ark-La-Tex, and chances are, your skin may be starting to feel the effects of the cold and wind. If this is the case, you can take action to keep your skin smooth and hydrated.

1) Moisturize. 

The most important tool to combat dry skin is a good moisturizer.

For those who have a tendency toward eczema or very dry skin, I recommend a cream or ointment as opposed to a lotion. These will really help to lock in moisture in the skin. Some of my favorites are Cerave, Eucerin and Cetaphil creams as well as Aquaphor and good old Vaseline. The best time to apply your moisturizer is right after your bath or shower when your skin is still slightly damp. For dry, chapped hands, it is a good idea to keep a small bottle of cream in your desk drawer or purse and apply frequently throughout the day and after hand washing if possible.

2) Avoid hot showers. 

The truth is, hot water can strip the skin of natural oils, drying it out even more. I recommend lukewarm baths or showers for five to 10 minutes, and use your hands to bathe as opposed to a rough washcloth or sponge.

3) Stay away from harsh soaps.

Working up a sudsy lather makes you feel squeaky clean, but it may not be helping your skin. I recommend avoiding harsh soaps and sticking with a gentle hydrating cleanser with added moisturizer. The detergents in soaps can take away natural oils from the skin. If a cleanser makes your skin feel tight or dry after using it, then it is not the one for you.

4) Be kind to your lips and eyes.

Always carry a lip balm or ointment with you, and reapply throughout the day. For very dry or chapped lips, I suggest using an ointment such as Vaseline or Aquaphor as opposed to lip balm. For dry, scaly eyelid skin, I recommend applying a layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor to the lids before bed.

5) Add moisture to your environment.

Humidity is lower in cold winter air, and we have our heaters going full blast. Both of these factors contribute to dry skin. Using a humidifier indoors can help replace the moisture lost from our skin and mucous membranes.

6) Put your best face forward.

Remember to take care of your face this winter. Here’s what I suggest:

Wash your face twice daily with a gentle soap-less cleanser to remove makeup, dirt and excess oil, which may clog your pores and cause acne. Don’t forget the daily moisturizing. If you have acne-prone skin, make sure your makeup, moisturizers and sunscreen say “non-comedogenic” and “oil-free,” meaning they do not have the tendency to clog your pores. If your skin is dry or irritated, avoid peels, harsh scrubs or alcohol based toners/astringents, all of which may worsen the problem.

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