Brrrr. Chicago Winter Skin Survival Tips

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SnOMG!! Chicago Blizzard of 2011 is gone with another Chicago winter blast coming this weekend. Wind off of the lake and between those  downtown Chicago  loop buildings can leave your skin looking chapped and dry. Here are a few skin saving tips to get you through the next few weeks(and not months) until we hear that first sign of spring.

  1. Use heavier products: you change your wardrobe for the winter, change your products. Go for creamier products which are heavier in texuture to seal in moisture. For your body think JAR, scoop the cream and apply. You may need to do this twice a day.
  2. Rethink your antiaging routine: most antiaging products are irritants of some sort (glycolic acid retinoids, alpha hydroxy acid). If your face is more irritated, try using the product every other night or mixing with a bit of moisturizer. If this still doesnt work, consult your dermatologist for suggestions of other products that will help to achieve your skin care goals without irritation.
  3. Shorter Showers: Cold Chicago winter mornings mean long hot showers! Shorten the duration to less than 10 minutes, use a moisturizing cleanser (my fav is Eucerin Calming Body wash) and make sure to layer on a heavy moisturizer (see # 1). If your skin is still itchy, it may be time to see your dermatologist.
  4. Hydrate: most people are slightly dehydrated during the winter. We drink less because we are less thirsty. Keep your fluid intake up even if it is hot herbal tea!
  5. Humidify your home: once the heat goes on everything dries out. Increase the humidity gage on your furnace or place a humidifier in your bedroom
  6. Gentle Fabrics: Cold chicago winters mean bundling up with warm cozy sweaters. Avoid scratchy fabrics next to the skin such as wool. Make your first layer silk or cotton.
  7. For those brave enough to run/ski/walk/bike in Chicago winter: apply a thin layer of vaseline to your face before heading outdoors to play. It will provide a barrier to the wind and minimize windburn
  8. Dont forget your sunprotection: just because chicago has long winters does not let you off the hook for sun protection. Sun reflects off of the snow and UV damage can still occur. Make sure to apply your sunscreen every single day!
  9. Watch out for frostbite: when the windchill dips dangerously low, limit your time out doors and remember that all exposed skin is susceptible to frost bite. So layer up and keep an eye on the time
  10. Dont for get your pets: My dog loves to play in the snow but hates walking on the sidewalk or street after it has been salted. Pet’s paws can burn and when they lick the chemicals off of their paws they can become ill. Consider boots for your pooch or walk them in the snow. Once inside, dip their paws in warm water to rinse and give them a paw-massage with some vaseline. You will be thier best friend.

Enjoy, be safe . Spring will be here soon!

Brooke Jackson, MD

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