Caring for your skin in winter

Caring for your skin in winter


It is that time of year, when the weather is less kind and it starts to affect your skin. With the cold wind, wet outdoors and heating indoors, skin tends to get very dry and irritated. Here are a few simple things we need to remember to keep our skin happy throughout these colder months.

1.Try to switch to soap substitutes during these months, for both your face and body. For your face this means avoiding gel cleansers and opting for cream based cleansers. Your local pharmacist can assist you in choosing an array of soap substitutes to use either in the bath or shower.

2. Although it is tempting to have a very hot bath or shower when it is cold outside, it is better for your skin to have less contact with water and instead have a shorter warm shower. Try not to rub yourself dry vigorously, but pat yourself dry and apply a fragrance free moisturiser or emollient immediately after. This will help lock in the moisture.

Similarly, if you are washing your hands frequently, try to apply an emollient after each wash if convenient. Choosing an emollient is based on how dry your skin is and what you feel comfortable using. Cream or gel based emollients go on without leaving a greasy feeling, and although they are less moisturising they are fine for regular use. If your skin is very dry it is probably best to opt for an ointment which is greasier, but will work more effectively and quickly to sooth irritation. You could consider using a greasier emollient at night and a less greasy one in the day.

3.Exposed skin is vulnerable and more likely to dry out and become irritated, so if you can – cover it up! This means wearing gloves, hats and scarves in addition to your other warm winter gear. For some people direct contact with wool can cause irritation, so it is sensible to layer up and wear comfortable breathable materials under these.

4.Although it may not feel like you see the sun much at this time of the year, it is also advisable to use sunscreen in winter if you are going to be outside – even if you are not skiing on a sunny mountain slope.

5.It is also important to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy balanced diet. Our eating habits tend to get worse during the colder months and we reach for things that we find comforting. Additionally, it is worth considering taking supplements during this time of the year, especially vitamin D (see our blog about this for further details).

If you are still struggling with dry irritated skin despite these measures, it may be worth coming in for a review to see if your skin condition is more serious and may need topical steroids. We at Coyne Medical are always looking to help with any questions you may have, therefore please get in contact with us to book an appointment today.

Dr Katharina Kunert
GP, Fulham
Coyne Medical