How to Protect Aging Skin in Winter, According to a Dermatologist
We turned to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum for the low-down on how to protect mature skin from the harsh winter elements.
Winter skin, it’s zero fun. While the rest of the country may think it’s all roses and unicorns down here during the cooler months of the year, Southerners know the truth. Humidity and bone-chilling temperatures don't a happy face make. That’s why winter skin care is very important, especially when it comes to aging skin. We turned to celebrity dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum for the low-down on how to protect mature skin from the harsh winter elements. Learn about her favorite products for cold weather defense and be sure to avoid long, hot baths . . . read on to discover why. And of course, don’t fret; these tips and tricks will get you through the snowy season, as the sunflowers bloom, we’ll start complaining about the heat again.
SL: Is it worth swapping out our go-to products in the winter months?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: Absolutely! Our skin changes every few months with the changing of seasons. The dropping temperatures, harsh outdoor elements, and dry indoor heat zap the skin of its moisture and very often create a dry, itchy, and inflamed skin barrier. When not taken care of properly, the skin can become dry, red, cracked and even infected. Therefore, avoid harsher products like bar soaps, which can leave the skin feeling dry and itchy, and choose a gentle moisturizing cleanser as well as a thicker moisturizer for the face and body.'
SL: Fact or Myth? Hot baths and showers dry out aged skin.
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: Fact! Hot baths and showers strip the skin of its natural lipid barrier and can create a tight, itchy feeling afterwards, especially if you’re using traditional bar soaps. Look for a gentle moisturizing body wash like Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash with Shea Butter which gently removes impurities but also deeply moisturizes the skin layer by layer with shea butter. After just one week of use, your skin will be well hydrated and supple.
SL: Is SPF in the winter still important?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: Extremely. Even though the temperature is dropping, your skin is still being exposed to UV radiation daily. While the UVB rays that cause the skin to burn are weaker during winter months, the UVA rays are just as strong. The UVA rays are responsible for sun damage leading to skin cancer, fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging! Not only that, but UVA rays go through windows; therefore, sitting next to a window or even driving still exposes you.
SL: What are your skincare tips for aging skin in the winter?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: I recommend 5-minute showers maximum with warm, not hot, water. Use a gentle moisturizing body wash that penetrates the skin. Pat the skin dry, never rub, and immediately apply a moisturizing body lotion containing ingredients like shea butter, ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Switch up your products from thinner variations to thicker formulas which will increase hydration and lock in the moisture (serums to lotions to creams to ointments). Maximize hydration on the face with nighttime hydration masks that will seal in hyaluronic acid or ceramides to improve the appearance of fine line and wrinkles and volumize the epidermis. Never neglect the sensitive skin areas such as the eyes and lips. The skin there is thinner with little to no sebaceous glands to remoisturize. Therefore, use a moisturizing eye cream twice daily as well as a lip protectant with rich emollients throughout the day to avoid fissures. The hands withstand the harsh elements more than any other body part. Always moisturize with a thick hand cream after each hand washing and throughout the day. Last, never forget the neck. Your neck needs just as much moisture as your face and other body parts.
SL: What are your go-to products for aged skin in the winter?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: I love sleeping on my Slip Silk pillowcases, which are great for my skin but also help to reduce hair frizz. I also get monthly Clear + Brilliant laser treatments to keep my melasma / hyperpigmentation in check.
SL: To exfoliate or not to exfoliate?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: If your skin is dry and flaky, it may be necessary to gently exfoliate once or twice weekly. However, over exfoliation with harsh products leads to red and inflamed skin. Physical exfoliators may be too harsh for sensitive skin, as the microbeads or particles can cause microtears in the skin creating inflammation and even infection. I recommend gentle chemical exfoliators such as washes containing lactic acid or glycolic acid to remove the dead skin cells. Once the dead skin cells are removed, the moisturizers can penetrate more efficiently.
SL: Is it worth investing in a humidifier?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: Absolutely! The skin loses lots of water while you sleep (which is incidentally also the time it needs to repair itself). Therefore, sleep with a cool air humidifier. It will increase the moisture in the air while you sleep while combating the dry indoor heat.
SL: Are there any changes we could to make in our diet to help prevent dry skin in the winter?
Dr. Marnie Nussbaum: Everything in moderation. Besides ensuring adequate water intake, it is important to include healthy fats such as avocado oil and walnuts which may increase hydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which are diuretics and will dehydrate you and your skin.