Living in New York City can wreck havoc on our skin during the cold, dry winter months. Here are a few tips on how to prevent dry, cracked skin from occurring.
1. Keep the air moist. Our skin acts as a protective barrier that functions to keep water inside of the body. When it is dry and cold outside water more easily evaporates off the skin’s surface. Using a warm humidifier in the home is a great way to add moisture back into the air. An indoor humidity level of 40-55% is ideal in the winter months. I recommend utilizing a hygrometer, a device that measures the relative humidity of the air in order to ensure proper levels in the apartment.
2. Avoid hot showers and baths. Taking long, hot showers in the winter months can cause a breakdown in the skin’s natural barrier, creating “cracks” on the surface of the skin. Water that is too hot causes moisture to evaporate at a faster rate, thus dehydrating the skin. This can be further perpetuated by not moisturizing after bathing, potentially leading to the development of eczema. In order to prevent this take short, lukewarm showers no longer than 10 minutes in duration.
3. Upgrade your moisturizer and use it more frequently. Using a thick moisturizer twice a day is crucial in the winter months. It is important that one of these applications is done immediately after bathing. A mistake often made is using a lotion instead of a cream. Lotions are not as thick as creams and ointments, meaning they are also not going to be as moisturizing. It is important to avoid fragrances, as these can further irritate and dry out the skin. Ointments, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor are best suited for the body, as they have the potential to clog pores on the face. Instead, patients should utilize facial creams that contain niacinamide (a vitamin B derivative), hyaluronic acid, and ceramides which are non-comedogenic.
4. Staying hydrated. Maintaining hydration is key. Drinking an extra glass or two of water daily can further prevent the skin from losing moisture.
5. Don’t forget about the lips. Dry indoor heat and cold outdoor wind can compromise the lips’ natural protective barrier resulting in loss of moisture. Aquaphor or petroleum jelly are simple solutions that create a protective coating and treat chapped lips. It is important to avoid licking your lips, as your saliva contains enzymes that can further cause irritation to already dry lips resulting in cracking. At JUVA Skin & Laser we offer the Aphrodite Lip Treatment, a once yearly treatment that prevents dry, cracked lips. We inject microdroplets of Restylane Silk into the lips; a product composed of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid’s main function is to retain water in our tissues, therefore keeping the skin and lips moist, plump, and well lubricated.
Contact us today at (212) 688-5882 today to arrange a consultation. We happily welcome patients from Manhattan, Woodside, NYC, and around the world.