Mind and Body

Skin care secrets: Combat the cold with these expert tips



With the recent chill in the air (was anyone else decidedly not ready for it to be this cold this soon?) my skin is starting to get parched and in need of serious hydration. 

If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, these tips from Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Stuart Kaplan, are sure to help your skin make it through the cold weather like you spent it in the tropics.


Use a humidifier.
Air inside your home becomes very dry in winter, especially if your windows are closed and the heat is on. A humidifier will replace moisture in the air. If you do not have a humidifier, using a few open pans throughout the house, especially near any radiators, will also work.

Switch your moisturizer from lotions to thicker creams or ointments and use them often.
Moisturizers protect your skin from the elements. Think of moisturizers as a daily barrier between your skin and the air. Ointments form a better protective layer on the skin, and seal in moisture. Avoid ointments in areas where you tend to break out. Even if you have oily skin, you still may need a moisturizer in the winter. Use mild soaps, and avoid deodorant, antibacterial, fragranced, or abrasive soaps, as these are more drying for your skin.

Review your skin care regimen.
If you are using products with tretinoin, such as Retin-A or Renova, or are using alpha-hydroxy acids or glycolic acids, you may want to use these less frequently, as they may cause your skin to exfoliate and become more sensitive and dry. If you are using Retin-A gel, switch to the cream. Avoid microdermabrasions and abrasive skin treatments, as these exfoliate the top layer of the skin, and leave the new layer of skin unprotected to the harsh elements. Use toners and astringents sparingly, as these are usually alcohol-based, and can dry the skin. Try to use non-alcohol based toners with aloe or chamomile. Use night creams that contain squalane, mineral oil or other moisturizing agents. This is good for both men and women.

Don’t take long, hot showers.
Frequent long hot showers remove the oils from your skin, making it dry and itchy. Instead, take luke-warm showers for less than 10 minutes. Pat (do not rub!) your skin until it is just moist, and put on an emollient cream on to seal in the moisture in your skin. Add oils to your bath water if you choose to take baths, as this will replenish the oils in your skin.