Keeping Your Skin Healthy All Winter Long

Nov
22
2011

November is designated as National Healthy Skin Month by the American Academy of Dermatology. While most people may think this observation is more appropriate during the summer months to urge beach-goers to slather on the SPF, the reality is that wintertime can bring on more skin complications than most people realize. In the winter, a drop in humidity and temperature, coupled with a higher thermostat setting at home and in the office, results in drier air. For most people, dry air leads to dry, itchy skin.
Your ultimate goal should be to keep as much moisture in the skin as possible to prevent itching, irritation, and redness. Here are a few tips to help achieve that goal:

  • • Use humidifiers throughout the house or at least in the bedroom.
  • • Wear protective gloves to minimize exposure to the elements.
  • • Take shorter, cooler showers instead of longer, hotter ones.
  • • After showering and before drying off completely, apply a moisturizer or emollient to the skin.
It is also important to realize that sunscreen is not just for summertime. In fact, it could be argued that you need sunscreen even more in the winter because the sun is closer to the earth and its rays are even stronger. Additionally, if you plan to play in the snow, keep in mind that you face increased exposure to ultraviolet rays. The reason for this is snow reflects 80 percent of the ultraviolet rays that hit it. Adding to the problem is that for every 1,000 feet of elevation, ultraviolet exposure increases about 2 percent. So if you are taking part in winter activities such as skiing, ice skating, or sledding, you need at least an SPF of 30 to protect against the added exposure.
The reality is that no matter what the season, sunscreen is important to protect yourself against the harmful UVA and UVB rays that are linked to skin cancer, brown spots, premature aging, and wrinkles. Most experts agree that a minimum SPF of 15 is needed to minimize damage to your skin

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