Getting Warmer: The Seasons And Your Skin

Dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, shares the cold, hard facts about the havoc weather can wreak on your skin.

Growing up in Southern California, I knew winter existed, of course, but I didn’t really know it in my bones (literally) until I went to college in New England and medical school in the Midwest. Weathering the storm — the cold, the coats, the chaos — represented a whole other skillset for an L.A. lightweight like myself. And one of those was the negotiating the havoc of what winters, real winters, can do to the skin.

The cold alone can make your skin dry, cracked and irritated. It can even cause unexpected flare-ups for various skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.

But the primary challenge to wintertime skin isn’t just about the cold but rather the shock of going from freezing temps outside to hot stuffy rooms inside. A sudden transition in temperature will weaken your resistance, as your body tries to re-balance itself quicker than usual.

The best advice I was to give to my winter-bound patients and friends (and middle son who is in medical school in Ohio) is to keep warm with layers of clothing, watch the weather (viruses survive longer when the weather is moist), and stock up on those probiotics that will help boost your immune system and combat the flu.

Moving forward, as winter gives way to spring, skin may appear rather dull and in desperate need of rejuvenation.

Spring is a good time to bring the ‘glow’ back to your complexion. Microdermabrasion facials do just that. Erasing dead skin cells, renewing youthful tone and texture, this treatment will leave your skin beaming with confidence, welcoming spring.

As always (soapbox alert), as the weather warms and you expose more skin to the elements, be sure to be conscientious about adequate UV protection of at least SPF 30. As a dermatologist, if I had my druthers you would apply sunscreen all year around (UV rays don’t care if it’s cold or even overcast outside). But now more than ever it’s critical to protect tender skin that very likely hasn’t seen the light of day for months.

Weather happens, but it doesn’t have to show on your skin.