When it comes to your skin, cooler fall and winter weather tends to pack a one two punch. Cold temperatures and winds can make it drier and more sensitive. The dry air created by  indoor heating systems makes your skin’s dryness even worse. Unless you can move to a part of the world where it’s always 75 degrees with 50 percent humidity, you’re going to want to take extra care of your skin in the winter and fall. Along with following these anti-aging skincare tips this winter, speak with a plastic surgeon to find out what you can do to keep your skin looking dewy and fresh, even in the midst of a freezing cold winter.

Humidify the Air

In the summer, everyone complains about the humidity. In the winter, though, many people are longing for just a little bit more moisture in the air. When the thermostat is turned up, the air indoors tends to be drier. The chilly air outdoors is also dry, which leads to drier skin, staticy hair, and sinus problems.

One way to add some moisture to the air around you is to invest in a humidifier. You can install a whole-house humidifier or purchase  a smaller, portable one to use in the bedroom. Going to sleep with your humidifier running will help restore moisture to parched skin. Set the humidifier by your bed and, for best results, set it to 30 to 50 percent humidity, if possible.

Keep Things Cooler

When there’s a chill in the air, taking a steaming hot shower or bath might seem like the best thing to do. But, that super hot water can actually leave you with skin that’s dry and generally unhappy.  Hot water strips the moisture away from your skin, leaving it dry and scaly. Instead of turning the shower up as hot it can go, stick with a tepid or lukewarm temperature. Also try to limit how long you spend in the shower to keep your skin soft and supple.

Add More Moisture

Winter’s the time to rethink your moisturizing and cleanser routine. Instead of using a gel cleanser to wash away dirt and oil, use a cream-based product. The less drying your face wash is in the winter, the better. A cleanser that contains alpha hydroxy acids can be ideal. The AHAs are humectants, so they pull moisture into your skin. At the same time, they encourage cell turnover, sloughing off dead, dry skin cells and encouraging the appearance of fresh, new cells.

If you stick with a lightweight moisturizer or lotion during the summer and other warm months, switching to something a little more heavy duty in the winter can be helpful. Just remember that heavy duty doesn’t mean pore clogging. Some ingredients that add a lot of moisture also clog your pores, making you more likely to break out. Avoid putting moisturizers that contain shea butter on your face, for example, as the shea butter is likely to clog pores.

Exfoliate and Resurface

One way to get fresher skin in the winter is to exfoliate regularly to remove the dead cells, which can make your skin look dull and dry. You want to be careful when you exfoliate, though. Some products can actually irritate or scratch your skin.

An in-office treatment might be the ideal way to exfoliate or resurface your skin this winter. Seeking out a treatment such as laser skin resurfacing in the winter might be ideal. The treatment removes the top layer of dead skin cells and encourages the production of collagen, so that skin looks fresher, fine lines and wrinkles fade, and skin looks more supple and rejuvenated. After laser skin resurfacing, you’re typically told to avoid sun exposure. Cold weather makes people less likely to spend much time outdoors in the sunlight, making winter an ideal time for the treatment.

Don’t Forget About Sun Protection

You may spend less time outdoors in the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can or should skimp on sun protection. Stick with a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You can use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen to make it even easier to remember to shield your skin.

If you have any more questions about ways to protect your skin this winter or about treatments that can keep your skin look youthful and soft, Dr. Kyle Choe, a board certified facial plastic surgeon in Virginia Beach, is happy to answer them. To contact Dr. Choe for a consultation, call 757.389.5850 today.