Healthy Skin for the Season

Your teen’s battle against problem skin can be tough—and cold winter months can be extremely tricky. However, a few simple steps can help improve skin health.

During winter, a lack of humidity and cold winds cause you and your teen to lose water from the first layer of skin. In fact, the skin actually retains an estimated 25 percent less moisture in the winter. This can result in your child’s skin becoming dry and tight, making it appear red and flaky. Add to that the embarrassment of acne and other skin issues teens often face, and your child may feel quite defeated. Help your teen establish a healthy skincare routine this winter by recommending these skin care tips.

  • Skip harsh soaps. Many soaps strip delicate facial skin of natural oils that help keep it moisturized. If the skin becomes dry, avoid products with drying chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide. For oily skin, still avoid harsh soaps, but select oil-free varieties. Wash thw face only twice a day, and avoid scrubbing too hard. Pat the skin dry with a towel.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Even for oily skin, moisturizer is essential in the winter months. When skin becomes too dry, it may actually overproduce natural oils to compensate for the moisture that has been lost. Use a light, oil-free moisturizer to keep skin from drying out and to prevent the over-production of oil. Apply after washing skin, even if you are going to wear makeup over the moisturizer.
  • Slather on the SPF. Skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful rays, even in the winter. Make sure your moisturizer has a sun protection factor of at least 15 to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. Apply at least 30 minutes before leaving the house.
  • Love your lips. Apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen, vitamin E and coconut oil at least three times per day to prevent lips from becoming chapped, and avoid the urge to lick them. Also wear a scarf around your neck and mouth in harsh winds.
  • Take shorter showers. While a hot shower or bath may sound like the perfect end to a cold day, hot water strips the skin of moisturizing oils. Keep showers short, and use lukewarm—not hot—water.
  • Trust the professionals. If your teen struggles with severe dry skin or acne, it’s best to seek the advice of a dermatologist.

To find a dermatologist for your teen, visit and click “Find a Physician.”

Reviewed by Davina Arbour, medical aesthetician, SKINnovations, St.Vincent Center for Women’s Health.

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