When the weather gets cold we turn up the thermostat, layer on the clothing, and take hot showers. Then we head out into the cold winds, where our face and hands are exposed. These changes in temperature, which often occur several times a day, can do a number on our skin. Slough off the dry patches from winter and be more generous with the sunscreen to get your skin back in shape.
- Make sure your SPF is fresh. Any products you bought last spring or summer should be thrown out, since SPF begins to lose its effectiveness after about one year. Continuing to use old products is a waste of time since the benefit is not there. While at it, toss out makeup and skin care products (whether they have SPF or not) that have begun to change in consistency and color... or smell. Updating your whole supply will ensure you are only putting the best products on your skin. Clear the medicine cabinet and start with a clean slate!
- Buy more sunscreen. Speaking of SPF, you were using sunscreen in the winter months, right? Sunscreen should be worn all year, since the danger of UV rays is still prevalent even when it is cold and cloudy. If you weren't, make it a point to start now. Apply sunscreen every morning as part of your routine and don't forget to replace the bottle in spring.
- Lighten up. During the winter months you were most likely using heaver skin care products to keep the moisture locked in. As the weather warms, these can be stored away. Instead, use lighter oil-free products that will not clog your pores.
- Exfoliate from head to toe. Exfoliation is important for cell turnover rates. Aging skin in particular requires assistance in removing old, dead skin cells from the top layers of the skin to make way for the young, healthy cells coming up from below. Use a gentle exfoliant for the face one to three times a week (depending on your skin type). You should also be exfoliating the rest of your body too with a loofah to shed the dead skin cells that have been lingering since winter.
- Drink up. Water helps keep every part of your body working properly, including your skin. It is commonly recommended that you consume six to eight 8oz glasses every day, but some people need more. A good rule of thumb to follow to find out how much you personally need is to divide your body weight in half. If you weigh 160lbs you would need 80oz of water, which equates to ten 8oz glasses. If you exercise a lot, are sick, or are pregnant you should increase how much H2O you drink. This will make sure your skin stays naturally hydrated inside and out.
- Shower cooler. Hot showers may feel amazing, but they are not doing any favors to your skin. The hot temperatures are actually taking away moisture, increasing the rate at which it becomes dried out. Turn the temperature down a notch and take a warm shower instead. Then apply moisturizer as soon as you get out. The skin is still damp and the moisturizer will be locked in better.
Consult the Pros
Some skin types can be harder to treat than others, especially when conditions like acne are involved. Before experimenting on yourself with a wide range of products that could be irritating to your skin, meet with an esthetician or dermatologist who can create a custom skin care regimen. Often they offer the top skin care lines and may be able to suggest cosmetic procedures that can improve the health of your skin, such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels.
Medical grade skin care treatments are available at Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute. Dr. George Bitar is Northern Virginia's premier fellowship-trained and board certified plastic surgeon. He has performed over 5,000 cosmetic procedures on the face and body, including facelift, necklift, liposuction, and breast augmentation. He has won several awards singling him out as a top physician in his field. For more information about skin care or plastic surgery procedures, call (703) 206-0506 or visit www.bitarinstiutue.com. Offices are located in Fairfax and Manassas, VA.
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