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How Cold Temperatures Affect Your Skin

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How Cold Temperatures Affect Your Skin

Nov 1, 2022

When the temperature drops, a number of factors affect your skin. Cold temperatures usually come with low humidity that dries the skin, and, of course, turning on the heat, which can suck out even more moisture. For many people, winter skin is a real problem.

At Polavarapu Plastic SurgeryDr. Kiran Polavarapu and her staff want you to enjoy healthy, vibrant skin that looks fantastic and performs its biological function properly. We offer skin care treatments, and we help you understand how to best care for your skin between appointments.


Your skin and your health

It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how our skin looks, but how well it functions is actually much more important. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it actually operates almost like armor — hopefully beautiful, soft armor!

Your skin keeps bad things out, like viruses and bacteria, and it protects you from harmful ultraviolet rays. It also protects you from environmental dangers, like chemicals or pollution you may be exposed to.

When it’s cold outside

When it gets cold outside, not only do the humidity levels drop, but the bracing wind can further sap the moisture from your skin and lead to chapping. And if you’re prone to eczema, it can become much worse during cold weather.

In extremely cold temperatures, your skin is in even more danger because you can develop frostbite or chilblains. Your blood vessels constrict, so that less blood flows to your skin and more goes to your vital organs.

When you get frostbite, two things can happen. First, ice crystals form on the outside of your cells, leading to dehydration. Second, once the blood starts flowing again, the vessels may have small holes, allowing blood to leak out of them.

It’s warm inside, but that’s a problem, too

It gets worse when you’re inside with the heat on. Heat further depletes the moisture in the air, drying your skin even more.

If you enjoy a hot shower or bath to warm yourself up, you may actually be harming your skin. Hot water and soap can strip away the natural oils that help protect your skin. It may not feel as luxurious, but lukewarm water is better for skin health.

Tips for healthy winter skin

Although the cold winter months can cause problems for your skin, there are some fairly simple ways to prevent them, including:

Use the right moisturizer

Moisturizer is particularly important, given the many ways winter can dry out your skin. Dr. Polavarapu can recommend the best moisturizer for your skin type. You should also protect your lips and hands.

Continue to use sunscreen

If you think of sunscreen as a summertime product, you may want to reconsider. The sun can still cause damage during the winter, especially if there’s snow glare.

Avoid tanning

Lying in a warm tanning bed may seem like a good way to keep your skin healthy, but in fact, it’s the very opposite. Tanning beds cause damage and can lead to skin cancer.

Use a humidifier

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to properly use a humidifier, but it can be a great way to keep your skin healthy during the dry winter months.

Schedule a consultation

Finally, one of the best ways to make sure you’re properly caring for your skin is to schedule a consultation with an expert like Dr. Polavarapu. If you have questions about your skin’s health or your skin care routine, book a consultation today!

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