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Keep Skin Summer Soft All Winter Long

Getting outside during the winter can be a great way to stay active and fight off the winter blues, but the cold air can really wreak havoc on the skin.

Posted: Jan. 1, 2018 12:25 PM

Getting outside during the winter can be a great way to stay active and fight off the winter blues, but the cold air can really wreak havoc on the skin.

Thomas Knackstedt, M.D., a dermatologist at Cleveland Clinic, recommends that when we're heading out to the sledding hill or the slopes this season, to remember to pack the moisturizer.

"Having petroleum jelly on the lips or the face when you're skiing, hiking - anything outdoors, can really be helpful," he said.

Dr. Knackstedt said going from cold outdoor temps to warm, dry indoor temps can spell disaster for the skin, especially our lips.

Harsh wind, sunlight bouncing off of the snow and bitter cold air – when combined – can cause irritation, which is why it's a good idea to carry some lip balm.

And while it can be easy to remember sun protection when it's warm outside, if we're not careful, we could suffer a bad sunburn in the winter too.

"Especially in the winter months, the sun is strong," said Dr. Knackstedt. "When we have snow on the ground, or ice on the ground, it reflects the rays of the sun. A good compromise can be to use a nice moisturizer that also has a built-in SPF if you're going out skiing or doing other winter sports."

When it's time to come inside, a nice hot shower might sound nice, but stay in there too long and it will dry the skin out even more.

Dr. Knackstedt recommends cutting back on the time and the temperature.

"What can be helpful is keeping those showers as short as possible and keeping the water as lukewarm as possible," he said. "When you exit the shower, just pat dry rather than thoroughly dry your body off."

Applying moisturizer right after showering can help keep skin hydrated too. Dr. Knackstedt said leaving some of the residual water on the skin can actually lock in moisturizing cream.

For those who are prone to severely dry skin on their hands after spending time outdoors in the winter, Dr. Knackstedt said wearing cotton gloves on hands at night with a moisturizer or petroleum jelly can help restore very dry skin.

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