4 Pesky Winter Skin Problems — Solved

Pro-approved fixes for all that ails your winter-worn epidermis.

Jupiter Images/Thinkstock

Jupiter Images/Thinkstock

I love winter: snowy runs along the Schuylkill, ice-skating at Penn’s Landing, sledding at the Art Museum. Too bad my skin doesn’t agree.

“The cold air, low humidity and indoor-outdoor temperature extremes can wreak havoc on your skin,” says Naomi Fenlin, skin guru and owner of About Face Skin Care in Washington Square West.

Lucky for me (and you!), Fenlin has a battery of tricks up her sleeve. Consider this your road-map to the glowy, gorgeous skin you know is under there. Er, somewhere.

PROBLEM: Help! My skin is a minefield.

No, you’re not crazy—your acne is worse than it was in the summer. Months of sun exposure caused inflammation that closed your pores temporarily. Now that it’s subsided, your pimples have reemerged—with a vengeance. Fenlin recommends protecting your skin from the sun, plus a one-two-three punch to tackle the acne: glycolic acid to exfoliate, salicylic acid to flush the pores, and benzoyl peroxide to break apart pore-clogging debris.

PROBLEM: Wait. I can put my sunscreen away until next summer … right?

Wrong. Your skin can suffer sun damage in the winter; snow reflects the sun’s dangerous UV rays. Get broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Bonus points for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, chemical shields that physically block the sun’s rays from reaching your skin.

PROBLEM: Holy. Dryness.

Unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t help a lick. What you need is a moisturizer that traps your skin’s water before it gets wicked away by the low humidity. Enter: alpha hydroxy acids. These compounds create a layer that seals your skin’s moisture. Ah, how refreshing.

PROBLEM: My lips are so stinkin’ chapped.

I feel ya. If you lick them constantly, you’ll just make it worse, as wetting your lips with saliva strips away their natural protective oil barrier. Choose an oily balm to shore up your lips’ defenses. “Vaseline works very well,” says Fenlin. Just don’t reach for lipstick: As the color comes off, it takes surface skin cells with it, creating more cracking and dryness.

This article first appeared in the December issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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