Q: Winter did a number on my face - my skin is dry, flaky, and irritated. How can I give it a fresh start for spring?
First, don't make the mistake of over-scrubbing, over-cleaning, and over-treating. Frosty temperatures may have damaged the outermost protective layer, exposing facial skin to irritants and bacteria.
Hydration and exfoliation are the keys to smoother skin for spring. Slough off dry skin cells with a gentle exfoliator. Beta-hydroxy acids loosen the dead cells of the epidermis, making room for new growth.
A mild unscented soap that won't strip away natural oils will reduce moisture loss and maintain a healthy outer-skin layer. Rebuild your skin's outer layer with a barrier repair moisturizer, which boosts hydration and reduces water loss. Don't forget to add sunscreen - SPF 30 or higher. Then add a makeup packed with moisturizers and vitamins (and more sunscreen).
Most women find they need to moisturize more in the winter when the humidity drops and skin gets drier. Yet because skin can feel raw and sensitive, they're likely to skip exfoliation. The result is a dry, flaky complexion by the start of spring.
The best way to start anew is to exfoliate dry winter skin without leaving your face red and irritated. Mildly abrasive cleansers or ones with mild exfoliants like glycolic or lactic acids help eliminate flakes. For an at-home treatment that doesn't harm weather-worn skin, try a face mask that sloughs away dead cells. Exfoliate only a few times a week. Every other time, wash with a gentle cleanser to help skin retain moisture.
At night, apply a moisturizer with glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid, which helps the gentle sloughing away of dead skin continue while you sleep. Be sure to moisturize soon after washing your face, when the skin is still hydrated from the water it absorbs during cleansing. This technique locks in more water than when you apply lotion to dry skin. Finally, always use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to prevent sun damage and skin cancer.
If you’re interested in improving your skin, call us at Holzapfel & Lied Plastic Surgery for a consultation at (513) 984-FACE in Cincinnati, (859) 331-9600 in Northern Kentucky, or (970) 766-FACE in the Vail Valley of Colorado.