Protect your skin from the cold and snow

Dermatologists talk a lot about skin care in summer but perhaps we do not insist enough on the skin care needed in winter.

Wind, cold and low humidity have negative effects on the skin, causing dryness, redness and irritation. The regions of the body most affected are the so-called acral regions, i.e. the most peripheral and exposed, such as the nose, lips, ears, hands and feet.

Another common problem in winter is the dryness caused by indoor heating systems. For this reason, the use of radiator humidifiers is recommended to counteract the loss of humidity they produce.

Radiator humidifiers protect against environmental dryness
Radiator humidifiers protect against environmental dryness

Skin problems secondary to cold appear more frequently in people suffering from atopic dermatitis, psoriasis or rosacea. Preventive measures and treatment for these cases is the use of mild soaps, very moisturizing creams and sometimes ointments with anti-inflammatory drugs. Insulation with warm clothing is also essential to avoid cold damage to the skin.

Dry and chapped lips are a frequent problem in the population and this is generally worsened by cold and dry environment. To avoid this, it is essential to use specific lip emollients that are free of perfumes and colorants. Lip filters should also be used in case of sun exposure. Often the problem of chapped lips is due to an underlying skin disorder such as dermatitis or allergy to cosmetics. In these cases it is usually necessary to use a topical medication to reduce inflammation and close cracks and fissures.

Chilblains, also called perniosis, are itchy, dark red or purplish inflammatory lesions most often located on the ears, nose and fingers. To avoid its appearance, it is necessary to protect oneself from the cold with the appropriate means: earmuffs, lined gloves, scarves, etc… and to moisturize the skin thoroughly. Once chilblains have appeared, in addition to the use of warm clothing, it may be necessary to use medical treatment ointments.

We cannot forget that the winter sun can also have its negative effects on the skin, especially if we live in high altitude areas or in the snow, due to the increase in radiation and the reflection of the sun’s rays respectively. This is why it is very important to use quality sunscreens higher than 50 SPF on both exposed skin and lips (lip filters).

There’s still time to gear up and protect yourself from the cold. Enjoy the winter!

Dr. Virginia Sánchez