Tips to prevent skin damage in winter weather

Randi Martin,

WASHINGTON – More than cold weather can damage your face and hands in the winter.

“The sun damages the skin in the winter, the wind dries it out and the heating systems in our homes and businesses add to that damage,” says Maral Skelsey, an assistant professor at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Though the sun may not shine brightly in the winter, Skelsey advises to wear sunscreen.

“The long wave lengths of light that are apparent in the winter penetrate deep into the skin and could promote aging and skin cancer,” Skelsey says. “The winter sun is actually damaging long term.”

Bundle up with hats, gloves and scarves, but stay away from wool. Skelsey says wool can aggravate already sensitive skin.

Indoor care is also important for your skin. Invest in a lotion or moisturizer that is oil based instead of water based. The oil creates a protective layer that will help your skin retain moisture. Skelsey suggests putting on the lotion after a shower or bath.

And forget that hot shower after a day out in the cold. Even though it may make you feel better, it robs your skin of moisture.

Investing in a home or office humidifier that will put cool moist air back in the dry air is also a good idea.

As far as preventative skin care techniques like drinking water, Skelsey says it won’t do much.

“It may be good for your overall health,” she says, “but it really doesn’t have any impact on the skin.”

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