January 4, 2016 | by Erin Moore MD

The days are shorter and the days have been chillier. Slowly I have noticed the signs of winter skin creeping in. For most people, winter skin brings dry skin, and mine is no exception. For those with sensitive or acne prone skin, it can be a trying time: trying to keep the skin moisturized without causing irritation or acne breakouts.

Some tips that I find helpful to keep my skin looking bright and hydrated during the winter:

  • Decrease use of anti aging and acne products.
  • Anti-aging and acne treatments can be drying to the skin. It is important to keep them in the regimen, but decrease the frequency. Alternate your washes, using a very gentle wash (I like Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser or Neocutis gentle cleanser) on most days, and your more aggressive washes (anything with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or hydroxy acids) only a few days per week. This gives you the benefit of the treatment washes without the irritation.

  • Change to more gentle anti-aging products.
  • During the winter I rarely use a prescription Retin-A, relying instead on a less drying retinol such as the SkinCeuticals retinol or Beaute Pacifique Super 3 Vitamin A or Neocutis Nouvelle (retinol). These give the benefit -- treating wrinkles and acne -- of a retinol without the drying. I also rely more on peels, which give you the peeling/dryness all at once over 3-5 days instead of every day.

  • Find a good moisturizer and eye cream.
  • I need to switch to a more hydrating moisturizer during the winter. I have acne/rosacea prone skin, which can make moisturizers difficult to find. In the summer, I use EltaMD and in the winter, I often use Neocutis Bio Gel or Biocream (sometimes both) for extra moisture. My skin tends to breakout with topicals that contain hyaluronic acid, but if your skin is OK with this product, it can be very hydrating.

  • Take care of your hands.
  • We often neglect our hands until it is too late. Use a good moisturizer (I like Cerave hand cream and Neutrogena Norwegian hand formula) and rub into the nails as well. Carry a non irritating hand sanitizer such as Avagard D to avoid washing hands too much and harsh sanitizers such as Purell. At night, I coat my hands with Vaseline and rub Vaseline into my cuticles. In the winter I avoid wearing rings because I get eczema underneath; sometimes I even need to take off my wedding ring. If you get a rash under your ring in the winter, it doesn’t mean you have an allergy but more likely irritation from water and sweat trapped under the ring.

  • Wear your sunscreen.
  • UV light penetrates through the clouds and can be very intense when reflecting off the snow. I carry my sunglasses and hat even during the winter. When skiing, make sure to apply a high SPF sunscreen every 1-2 hours.

  • Take care of your lips.
  • I always have a little pot of Vaseline with me during the winter. Be careful with deeply pigmented and long wearing lipstick as they can be very drying to the lips.

  • Hydrate your body.
  • This is a hard one for me --I love coffee! Try to increase your water intake or at least drink one glass of water for every cup of coffee or alcoholic drink.

Hopefully these tips will help keep your skin bright and glowing during the winter months.

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Written By: Erin Moore MD