Caring for Your Skin During the Winter

It’s not uncommon to forget about your skin a bit when cold weather sets in. After all, in winter we’re not exposed to as much sun, we may be doing more indoors, and we all get busy and involved with holiday schedules and numerous events.

Unfortunately our skin and faces often get neglected during the colder months, which can lead to all sorts of unsightly issues.

  • Dangerous rays that shine even through winter doldrums inadvertently damage unprotected skin.
  • Cheeks crack and get inflamed through exposure to a combination of cold, wind and sun.
  • New and existing wrinkles tend to look even more dramatic on winter-parched skin.

In Colorado, Dr. Brent J. Smith’s patients are even more exposed to the elements. Not only does the sun shine about 300 days a year here, but also the state sits at an elevation that’s closer to harmful UV rays. Additionally, much of the population in Colorado and many western states is active, pursuing outdoor activities that further expose our sensitive skin to sun and wind burn during a day on the ski slopes, for example.

Of course, during winter being indoors for extended periods of time can be as harmful as heading out into the frigid elements. Our faces have to contend with the dry, dirty forced air from overworked heaters. There’s little fresh air to clean contaminants or humidity to save our skin. Wood-burning fireplaces are beautiful in winter, but also add smoke and carcinogens to our already full plate of indoor issues.

And it doesn’t help that during the chilly season we tend to slowly lose our summer glow. Fading complexions and undernourished skin begins to read dull, flaky and flat. This new winter “mask” does us no favors in the beauty department.

So what’s winter skin to do?

Instead of ignoring the face (and body) for the season, we encourage all Smith Cosmetic Surgery patients to think of winter as a time to “baby” skin even more. Whether you are trying to protect your youthful appearance before it shows additional signs of aging or need to learn a healthy routine to help maintain the youthful glow you just received from a mini facelift, there’s no better time to put your face first than right now.

3 tips for keeping skin healthy all winter long

1| The sunscreen routine.

Sometimes it sounds counter-intuitive, but we should all be wearing sunscreen year-round—especially in sunny, arid, high-altitude climates. One easy way to stay in the sunscreen routine is to find a daily moisturizer with sunscreen built right in.

And remember, don’t neglect those other exposed areas—ears, necks, lips, hands—on days where you’ll be spending time outside. People often forget that the neck area is truly an extension of the face—and we want those regions to complement one another! So don’t stop application at the jaw line; make sure you apply sunscreen and moisturizer liberally to the neck region, even onto the chest.

And, don’t forget those lips—one of the most exposed and deserted areas of the face. When lips are dry, cracked and sunburned they make the rest of the face look overworked as well. Consider keeping some small containers of sunscreen in convenient places, such as your car console or desk, where you can reapply throughout the day.

2| Moisturizer made for me.

Finding the right moisturizer can be tricky. Every individual face is a complex organism that combines a unique medley of genetic variants, age-related strains, and exposures from environmental and lifestyle choices.

A professional 65-year-old female who just had her first facelift may require a different application than an active 35-year-old male who’s struggling with the effects of adult acne. We’re all different people and we require (and deserve) special products designed to protect our precious faces.

At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we introduce every patient to professional-grade skincare lines made for aging skin, as well as the healing power of lasers and oxygen technologies through Dr. Smith’s original Rapid Recovery.

We know that surgery is just the first step in creating a new look. How you care for your skin, particularly in a uniform way throughout the year, is critical to maintaining new, more youthful contours. Our skilled nurses will walk you through all the steps for protecting and enhancing healing skin following a facial plastic surgery procedure.

For those who have yet to opt for surgery, there are some over-the-counter and prescription-strength moisturizers that can prolong a more youthful look until you’re ready to consider the long-term benefits of cosmetic surgery on the face. Some of today’s most effective topical solutions contain powerful retinol and antioxidants to penetrate deeper and help rebuild healthy skin while creating a smoother, more vibrant look.

3| Healing from the inside out.

One of the biggest drags on our skin is dehydration. It’s like taking a grape and drying it into a raisin. Without water—internally the form of diet or externally as humidity—we go from plump and radiant to slack and dull.

In the winter, the need for water is amplified. We’re indoors in dry environments; we’re outdoors in cold climates. And, often the lure of comfort food in winter means we’re not getting enough hydration from a good glass of water or through fresh fruits and vegetables.

In fact, there’s a great misconception that we hydrate from the outside in. In fact, the opposite is true. Our skin desperately needs replenishing moisture and nutrients from the foods we eat and liquids we drink. A common quick fix for dry winter skin is to pile on the moisturizer when instead we should be taking in more fluids and eating healthier, water- and nutrient-dense foods.

For those who really need a “restart” in winter, a laser resurfacing procedure can be a great choice for kick starting a healthy new you. The advanced CO2 lasers at Smith Cosmetic Surgery gently strip away old, winter-weary layers of skin to reveal a fresh foundation.

It’s like starting with a clean slate—one you can continue to maintain with skincare products and healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, many of our patients enjoy the challenge of building a healthy routine to support their glowing new appearance. It can be a great confidence booster and mood enhancer during the busy holiday time.

Are you ready for a fresh look this winter? Dr. Smith and the skin care professionals at Smith Cosmetic Surgery are here to help. We invite you in for a complimentary evaluation to see how you can rejuvenate your look this season.