The long, hot days of summer are gone, and the season of dry winter skin is still to come. How can you prepare for the cold weather elements and enjoy glowing, gorgeous skin when winter hits? We talked to Lorrie Fisk, co-founder of A Beautiful You Medical Spa, to find out what we need to do now to make sure our skin remains healthy and beautiful all winter long.
Your first line of defense is a good skin care regimen year-round. High-quality, medical-grade products, which can only be sold in establishments operating under a doctor’s license and are regulated by the FDA, give the best results, says Lorrie, who co-founded A Beautiful You Medical Spa with her husband, J.L. Non-medical-grade offerings only scratch the surface, quite literally. “The products we can carry penetrate to the dermis layer of your skin — the deepest layer,” Lorrie explains. “Other skincare lines may give you a slight improvement at first, but over time, they can actually make your skin problems worse.”
Establish a solid evening skin care routine.
An evening routine should include four basics: cleanser, toner, Retin-A, and moisturizer. You’ll add other components depending on your needs and issues. For cleansing, Lorrie says giving your face a quick once-over with a wipe just won’t do. “Use a medical-grade cleanser and a warm washcloth and sing the ABCs or ‘Happy Birthday’ two times while you are gently washing your face,” she advises. “The warm, wet cloth is considered ‘gentle exfoliation.’”
Follow cleansing with a toner that balances your skin’s pH year-round, regardless of temperature, humidity or other environmental factors. As winter approaches, you may want to amp up the moisturizer, but the basics of a good skincare routine keep your complexion healthy in every season.
Wear sunscreen year-round.
Contrary to popular belief, you absolutely can get sun damage in the fall and winter. To protect your skin, cover all exposed areas with SPF 30 or higher all year-round. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outdoors, and if you are going to be outside for a long time, take a travel-sized bottle of sunscreen with you to reapply as often as needed. This is especially important if you are participating in winter sports such as skiing, as the sun reflecting off snow can cause serious skin damage. And crisp fall weather may fool us into thinking we can skip the sunscreen, but those cool, cloudless days can still burn your skin. It’s important to remember your neck and chest area, too. In fall and winter, higher-necked sweaters and scarves provide a physical barrier, but anytime your neck and décolleté are exposed, slather on the sunscreen. The skin on your chest is thinner and burns even easier than the skin on your face and neck.
If you still want the look of sun-kissed skin without the dangers of sun tanning, it’s possible. Lorries says, “I’ve heard clients say they like to keep a tan to cover up their veins, but in fact, tanning of any kind thins the skin, which makes vein appearance even worse.” A good alternative is self-tanning products. The quality and smell have improved greatly over the years, and the end result is very natural.
Don’t neglect the basics.
Lorrie offers a handful of common sense suggestions to prepare your skin for winter and keep it glowing once colder temps hit:
- Exfoliate regularly to remove dead, dry skin cells.
- Stay hydrated! Drink just as much water in fall and winter as you do in summer. In fact, you may want to drink more in the wintertime.
- Cooler, dryer weather can mean chapped lips, so be sure to keep lip balm handy at all times.
- Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. It’s a little easier to accomplish when the time changes and it gets dark earlier.
- While long, hot showers sound like heaven, the effect on your skin is just the opposite. Keep baths and showers short, with moderately warm water. Use shower gel instead of soap, and gently pat your skin dry.
- Don’t forget your hands! Keep hydrating lotion in your desk and purse, and use it often. We are all washing our hands more often these days, and a nice dab of sweet-smelling lotion keeps your hands soft and keeps the antiseptic smell of soap at bay. Also, wear gloves when you go outside during the coldest days to prevent chaffing.
Pamper your skin with some impactful treatments.
Conventional wisdom once told us to avoid skin treatments like chemical peels when colder weather approached, as the environment would exacerbate the drying effects. This does not hold true with any of the treatments offered at A Beautiful You, Lorrie stresses. “None of our treatments are ‘seasonal.’ We recommend adding medical spa treatments to your routine to ensure healthy skin throughout the year,” she explains. That said, it may simply be more practical to get certain treatments in the fall and winter.
A Beautiful You client, Kandice Winfield, is a self-described gym rat and obstacle course race competitor. She got the MiraDry® permanent sweat reduction procedure, a three-in-one treatment that removes underarm sweat, hair, and odor, at A Beautiful You, and she says, “It has changed my life! I’m no longer embarrassed by sweat or ruining clothes with sweat stains. I wore a white t-shirt out shopping last Saturday — I’ve never been able to do that before.”
The mother of two active tweens says she used to wear clinical strength deodorant but now doesn’t have to wear any deodorant/antiperspirant. “And it’s not just sweating from heat; nervous sweat is gone as well,” she says, adding that the results were immediate. She had the procedure completed during cooler weather months so that all the dark and rough skin that builds up from deodorants and shaving had time to slough away and reveal fresh, dry, odor-free underarms by the following spring sundress season.
Many clients opt for laser treatments for permanent hair removal to eliminate the need to shave or wax. The series of treatments requires two weeks out of the sun both before and after each procedure, making fall and winter an ideal time to schedule hair removal. The treatment works on all skin types to remove hair from legs, underarms, arms, the bikini area — even faces, buttocks, and backs.
Skin rejuvenation is another great treatment to consider getting in colder months, as it, too, may require time out of the sun. “Skin rejuvenation addresses all-over problems like uneven tone, or targeted problems such as acne, sun damage, age spots and more,” Lorrie explains. “Treatment plans are developed in consultations with our clients and can include chemical peels, skin resurfacing, microneedling, and HydraFacials®.”
Finally, the HydraFacial® is a three-step treatment that offers both relaxation and results. Designed to give you glowing, radiant skin, the therapeutic experience can be customized to prepare your skin for winter — and combat any issues you may have once harsh weather hits. “Fall and winter are great times for a HydraFacial®,” says Lorrie. “We deeply cleanse, extract and hydrate the skin through our super serums filled with antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid.”
For more health and beauty tips, visit our archives.