Skin Care during Winter (cont.)

"The most important thing to remember is to keep your hands out of water as much as possible. When you're doing dishes or housework, wear gloves."

MEMBER QUESTION:
What about using antibiotic ointments on dry cracked skin from hand washings?

FIELDS:
Antibiotic ointment may be more than necessary. Just petrolam-based products will be very effective at locking in moisture. Minimize washing as much as possible. Reapply barrier creams. Recommendations for possible hand moisturizers include Aquafor ointment, silicone-based products like Gloves in a Bottle, which restore the barrier without leaving your hands very greasy, and urea-based products with reapplication after hand washing. When you wash your hands, try to minimize hand contact, washing only the fingertips and drying the hands thoroughly after washing.

RODAN:
This is a very common concern among my patients, particularly in the winter or in patients who in the past have suffered from eczema. My recommendations are similar to Dr. Fields, however I tell them to use Cetaphil, a non-soap based cleanser you can apply to your hands, rub in and towel dry off. Note that I did not say rinse off. That will clean your hands as well as soap and water and won't be drying.

If you have fissures, little cracks in the skin which are painful, believe it or not, you can apply Superglue to those cracks. That will seal off the fissure and prevent it from getting worse, allowing it to heal under the glue. Then liberally apply moisturizers several times during the day. You may want to apply a lighter weight moisturizer so it doesn't feel greasy. At night use the heavier moisturizers like Aquafor or Vaseline Intensive Care Night Repair, or another favorite of mine, Roc hand moisturizer.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is to keep your hands out of water as much as possible. When you're doing dishes or housework, wear gloves. The types of gloves I tell my patients to buy are two pairs of gloves. First a cotton glove that goes next to the skin and a plastic glove that goes on top. You can find those at most drugstores. Hand protection is key.

MEMBER QUESTION:
What about Vaseline on the hands at night and wearing cotton gloves? Does that work? I heard an actress say she did that to keep her hands looking good.

RODAN:
Yes, that can be helpful. Even better are the silicone lined gloves you can find in department stores or in some catalogs that are meant to be worn at night with a moisturizer underneath. The reason this works is because of the principle of occlusion. Occlusion is an old-time dermatologic secret. By covering the skin after a moisturizer or medicated cream is applied, the occlusion will increase the penetration.

MEMBER QUESTION:
My lips are so chapped from all the cold weather. My mother keeps telling me to use Vaseline, but it's so thick and tastes awful. What do you recommend for lips?

FIELDS:
Lips often dry out because of open-mouth breathing during the night, and by air rushing across your lips so the lips literally dry out. During the day people often lick their lips or chew on the dead skin which further exacerbates the problem. The remedy is to breathe through your nose and put a heavy layer of Vaseline type product on your lip while you sleep to keep that delicate skin hydrated. During the day there are many lip creams. There's a product called Bag Balm and Burt's Bees, and a product by Philosophy called Kiss Me.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I don't use a moisturizer because my skin does not seem to need it. It is hardly ever dry and never tight after I wash it. Is it bad to never use a moisturizer if I get SPF from my makeup?

RODAN:
Absolutely not. If your skin is oily, adding more moisture and oil is like taking coals to Newcastle. I advise my patients with oily complexions, adding more moisture is going to add to the shine all day. For some people the eyelid skin is dry or wrinkly. You can apply an eye cream to that area only to relieve the problem and improve the appearance of your skin. However, just because your face is oily the rest of your skin may be dry, so don't neglect your elbows, shins, your hands, in applying moisturizer.

MEMBER QUESTION:
We are going skiing. Any tips for protecting my face while on the slopes? I have naturally oily skin and usually don't need to worry much about dry skin.

FIELDS:
When you are skiing you are faced with low humidity, direct wind, which further tortures your skin, and freezing cold. So you're a setup for problems. Ideally, you should wear fleece-based protection for your entire face to both comfort the skin and protect from wind. A good layer of sunscreen on your skin is mandatory because of the further damage from UV radiation. Moisturizing with sunscreen every time you get to the lift while going up will be good to protect your skin. Use highest SPF, 30 to 50, and preferably a zinc-based or avobenzone based sunscreen. Don't forget to moisturize your lips with a sun block lip protector, as well. Goggles are also extremely important.

MEMBER QUESTION:
After skiing or sledding, my kids often come inside with what we call "wind burn" on their cheeks. Is there something soothing you recommend for that?