Winter is officially here, and our crazy cold Canadian weather can wreak havoc on your skin.  Winter skin, both on the face and body, can become dry, flaky, itchy, and can sometimes even crack, which can be painful.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ.  To keep it healthy, hydrated, and in prime condition during the winter months, here are some of my favourite tips.


1. Humidify

   Your skin is the barrier that keeps water inside your body.  So when the air around you is dry and cold, water evaporates off of the surface of the skin more easily and faster.  To keep moisture in the air using a humidifier in your home.  A central humidifier attached to your furnace is great, but a room humidifier that you can move from bedroom to home office to the living room is just fine.  DIY solutions for increasing the moisture in your air includes leaving the bathroom door open when you shower to let the steam migrate out of the bathroom, or leave the bathtub partially filled with water to allow evaporation to occur.  Putting moisture back into the air and back into your skin will boost radiance and make your skin feel more comfortable.

2.Use gentler products

It is important to use a gentle cleanser this time of year.  You may need to reduce the use of cleansers with AHA or BHA during the winter if your skin is feeling tight and dry.  Consider using only water to rinse your face in the morning, and limit your facial cleanser to bedtime.  I personally love the Alyria Milk Cleanser we carry in my clinic.  This facial cleanser has a combination of botanical extracts like mango butter, avocado oil, and allantoin to moisturize, and cucumber extract with Vitamin C and B to provide anti-inflammatory benefits.  Alyria Milk Cleanser also contains glycerin which acts as a humectant:  it pulls water into the outer layer of your skin from the air.  A gentler cleanser will help your skin to feel soft and supple.

Hydrating milk cleanser

3.Upgrade Your Moisturizer

Seems obvious, right?  Moisturizing your skin is crucial for keeping it hydrated throughout the winter season.  Choose a body moisturizing cream, instead of a lotion, this time of year.  Creams have a thicker consistency and contain less water.  A cream usually comes in a jar, not in a pump.  Apply your body moisturizer to damp skin, as soon as you get out of the shower or tub.  This will help seal a film of water onto your skin.  As a dermatologist, I treat a lot of folks with allergic reactions to fragrance, so I typically recommend products that are fragrance-free.  My team and I can recommend a winter skincare routine customized for you.

4.Take a Vitamin D Supplement

Vitamin d tablets

Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin”.  Your skin can produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.  We need Vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth and muscles.  Studies in 2020, showed Vitamin D may help fight Covid-19, so it has more importance during our current pandemic.  I’m a girl who avoids unnecessary sun exposure (it’s my best anti-aging tip!).  So you should be taking Vitamin D year round.  In Canada during the winter season, we don’t receive enough ultraviolet light to produce sufficient Vitamin D.  Ever wonder why your grandmother took cod liver oil?  For the Vitamin D!   

5.Keep Up With the SPF

Girl outside with sunscreen on

  It’s cold and dreary, and you may feel like you haven’t seen the sun in forever.  But we continue to receive UVL this time of year.  In Canada’s winter months, we don’t receive much UVB (the sun Burning rays), but we still get UVA (the sun Aging rays).  UVA travels through window glass (think sitting in your car).  So dermatologists like me recommend a sunscreen 365 days a year.   Anti-aging advice is season less, right?

Have more questions about winter skin care? Contact us now at (905)-820-7546 or send us a message here.


Dr. O'Neill


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