There was a time when men’s skin care seldom went beyond soap and water. However, with time and increased awareness, men have become aware of their skin care needs and requirements. “Men have more testosterone hormone and hair follicles, so they tend not to be as prone to dryness in the winter as women, but men tend not to moisturize as part of their routine,” says Dr. Baxt. “So their skin can still get dry from the winter weather, especially if they like to take long hot showers which strip the oils out of the skin. The easiest moisturizer for men would be a lotion since it’s easiest to apply on hairy areas.”
WARNING: Men can get seborrheic dermatitis in the winter, which are red scaly areas on the eyebrows, ears, nose and scalp that don’t respond to regular moisturizer.
RECOMMENDATION: Over the counter antifungals such as clotrimazole cream, as well as hydrocortisone cream and dandruff shampoos may help, or seek advice from a dermatologist for prescription solutions.
Young women can get dry in the winter too, especially women who are using anti-acne or anti-aging products which often contain retinoids or acids that can thin the skin and dry it out. According to Dr. Baxt, “As women get older and lose estrogen after menopause, they are very prone to dryness which worsens with cold air and overheating of offices and homes with hot dry heat. Women tend to moisturize as part of their routine which is important to replenish the oils that get stripped from the skin as part of washing, and also to protect the skin from the cold air and elements creating a more secure barrier.”
WARNING: For women prone to acne-make sure your facial moisturizer is non-comedogenic, meaning that it doesn’t clog pores, it should say that on the bottle.
RECOMMENDATION: If your skin is getting flaky despite your best moisturizing efforts, maybe it’s just that you need a microdermabrasion-a quick physical peel to remove dead cells from the top layers of your skin.
Babies have thin sensitive skin and must be bundled up to protect from the cold. Kids also have sensitive skin and must dress for the weather to avoid frostbite. “Kids have a high incidence of eczema, which often flares in the winter,” says Dr. Baxt.
WARNING: Eczema tends to surface at the flexural surfaces-behind the knees, antecubital fossa of the inner arm, as red itchy rough patches.
RECOMMENDATION: Over the counter creams, ointments and cortisones can help, but if the rash is not resolving quickly, that’s when they need the help of the pediatrician or the dermatologist for prescription strength treatments.
According to Dr. Baxt, “The best way to winter proof skin of any age is with a good moisturizer. Lotions are the thinnest and work for many people--they are easy to use sold in pumper bottles in any supermarket or drugstore. Creams are thicker and work even better for dry skin-- they have a higher concentration of oil than a thin lotion which has more water content.”
Creams are often sold in tubs or jars, and sometimes tubes and are harder to apply because they are thicker. The best time to apply a cream or a lotion is right after a shower or a bath when the skin is still slightly damp to lock in the moisture. The best moisturizer is an ointment, with a thick petrolatum/Vaseline type base. These are cheap and great, but people often don’t like to use them because they are greasy. Even if you don’t like ointments as your general moisturizer, they are great for trouble spots like elbows, knees, heels, hands, and you can put socks or pajamas over the ointment at night to help the moisture sink in, and protect your sheets from the grease! “People spend a lot of money on tons of fancy moisturizing products but for most people, regular store bought moisturizers and Vaseline petroleum jelly in the tub are cheap, easy and great to winter proof your skin,” adds Dr. Baxt.
Finally, don’t forget about the winter sun. “Sun can still be strong and even if you don’t get a burn, the ultraviolet rays can age your skin and cause pigmentation and wrinkles, so remember your sunblock spf 30+ and above daily and reapply if you are exposing your skin to the sun. This is especially important for our winter runners and skiers!” says Dr. Baxt. For more information, go to:
Enjoy the winter!
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