Q&A

Harsh winter weather can damage your family’s skin more than any other time of year. Protecting your skin in winter is just as important as it is in summer.

Skin care feels like hard work sometimes – why can’t I just “hibernate” during the winter months? Unless you are a bear you are out and about in the winter months, and you will be sorry if you don’t take care of the skin you are in. Windburn, chapped skin, dry air, will take their toll if you don’t stay ahead of damaging winter weather. Fight flaky skin, rosacea flare-ups and more by covering up when you are outside –hats are not just for summer – using an emollient based moisturizer like Aquaphor, and sun block. If chemicals irritate chapped skin? Use a non chemical sunblock featuring more than 5 percent zinc oxide. Many come slightly tinted now, so there is no excuse to go without!

I love winter sports, but they seem to really take a toll on my skin! How can I enjoy the health benefits of being outside for winter fun, without seeing negative effects on my on my face and more? Follow sensible winter weather protection, only more so. For instance, while skiing at high altitudes, up your sunblock SPF, apply it even more frequently, cover ANY exposed skin, and lather on the moisturizer. And don’t forget lip protection! Windburn is a big problem when it comes to outdoor sports, so cover your neck and face with a soft merino wool “gator” that will protect while not irritating your skin, and which will wick away moisture too.

Meanwhile, beware unique winter weather skin “injuries” from new or ill fitting equipment. Trauma to a big toe from hitting the front of your ski boot or skate, for instance, can lead to painful blood blisters or even losing your toe nail. Prevention is best. Before heading out for that ski trip cut those toe nails as low as they can comfortably go!

I’ve noticed my feet really suffer in winter. A pretty pedicure doesn’t seem to solve my problems! What do you suggest? Feet can get forgotten in winter! By all means, keep up with your pedicures. But remember this rule too: dampness is not your friend when it comes to feet in winter! You can get fungal infections more easily, for starters. And have you ever heard of Immersion Foot? That occurs when the feet are wet for long periods of time. If you consistently walk around in damp snow boots because you are too busy to dry them out, or you aren’t careful when it comes to certain winter sports, you may be at risk. Full symptoms include a tingling/itching sensation, pain, swelling, cold blotchy skin, numbness, blisters and more.

With this crazy winter the obvious needs to be said: when possible, air-dry and elevate your feet, and exchange wet shoes and socks for dry ones whenever you can! Use a foot powder to absorb moisture. Don’t put on damp boots because they are the only option. Dry them first with a hair dryer if necessary. Don’t sleep with socks on, either.

The bottom line? Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible. If you think you are developing full blown Immersion Foot, get medical treatment right away.

Take care of your feet, and they will stay around to take care of you for many winters to come.