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5206 N Scottsdale Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

(480) 948-5045

5 Winter Skin Dilemmas Solved

By Dr. Susan Van Dyke
November 10, 2010

1) Tight flaky complexion:  Winter is nearly here and with it comes low humidity aggravated by indoor heating and cold outdoor temps. Even normal skin produces oil which functions to seal moisture in.  Washing your face takes away the natural oils and allows escape of precious moisture.  How to avoid over degreasing? Go with warm not hot water, don’t scrub, use your hands, and stay away from wash clothes and brushes. A great cleansing tool is the Clarisonic (like a giant ultrasonic toothbrush for your skin) which cleanses but does not scrub.  Choose a mild cleanser like Kinerase Gentle Cleanser.   As for a moisturizer, creams are always better than lotions in the winter and are best applied immediately after cleansing. Don’t wait for skin to fully dehydrate; locking moisture in is the key. Kinerase Night Repair is my favorite winter night cream. You can’t beat a weekly moisturizing masque like ProTherapy Ultrahydrating Repair Mask or Neutrogena Hydro Boost to boost hydration and soothe dry irritated skin. Between cleansings rehydrate with a mister like Kinerase Hydrating Mist, or Aveene Mist.

2) Chapped lips. I hate things that make talking painful!   Lip lickers can have a real problem. And most of us turn into lip lickers when the weather turns cold and dry.   Not only that but some lipsticks can actually cause lip peeling.  Stick with a bland emollient lip balm without flavors or color to avoid products that you may be sensitive to.  Carmex is a classic.  An SPF 15 is a plus, believe me lips can be sunburned in the winter!   Lip treatments such as Kinerase lip treatment help remove scale and stimulate collagen production.  For the men: try Matte for Men lip balm. Chronically chapped lips that do not respond should trigger a visit to the dermatologist.  Lip cancer can masquerade as a chapped lower lip.

3) Rough, scaly arms and legs. Alligator skin slithers in the winter with the buildup of dead skin on your arms and legs. The body’s attempt to protect itself from the elements can prevent the penetration of moisturizing creams.  Dead skin can act like plastic wrap and keep moisture out.  Go for a glycolic containing cleanser with some gentle scrubbing in a warm shower, hot prolonged showers feel great but dry skin.  Follow with Glytone body lotion or MD Forte body lotion both of which have glycolic that reduces surface scale.  If you are so dry that the skin is irritable, use a barrier cream like CeraVe immediately upon toweling off.

4) Raw hands. If you are a hair dresser, dish washer, doctor or nurse you know what chemicals, water and frequent hand washing can do to your pretty/handsome hands. Alcohol containing hand sanitizers might actually be better than soap and water but can still be drying. Natural oils are stripped and your skin has no protection from the damaging effects of frigid dry air.  What to do? Avoid chemicals by wearing gloves; prevent drying by applying glycolic or lactic acid hand creams to enhance the skin’s ability to hold moisture.   Once the hands are a cracked, brittle mess barrier creams (bland Vaseline type hand products) heal by protecting the damaged skin and allowing nature to make the repairs.  A word of caution; a severe form of scaly hands called eczema is a skin disease that can flare in the winter and requires medical attention from your dermatologist.

5) Cracked heels.   Heels can develop thick calluses that dry with cold weather and develop painful deep cracks.  Applying petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the fissures can ease the pain by filling the crack and soothing and protecting the tender skin under the callus.   An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure of course, so prevent the problem by keeping heel skin soft and supple with heel/heal cream containing lactic, salicylic or glycolic. Neutrogena cracked heal cream and   Glytone heel and elbow cream are good products to try.

Blog, Cosmetic, Skin Care


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