Healthy Winter Skin Tips

Local skin experts share tips on maintaining healthy skin this season.
Sue Jaksa with HA5 serum from Skin Medica

Minnesota winters are harsh all around, and that includes what it does to your skin. We caught up with local skin care experts to find out the best ways to prevent and treat the most common problems during the cold winter months.

“Always remember to change your skin care regimen with the seasons,” says Sue Jaksa, owner of Gr8Skin MedSpa in Plymouth. She says most common skin complaints are dry and flaky skin. Her advice: “Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Using a heavier moisturizer in winter to combat the harsh, dry climate certainly helps, and using added serums such as HA5 by Skin Medica. Hylauranic acid helps draw moisture to surface skin.”

For additional product recommendations, Jaska likes the Epionce line of moisturizers for dry skin. “I also prefer a lotion with a touch of manoi oil to help the skin stay hydrated looking throughout the winter.”

Jaksa offers procedures that can help boost your winter skin regimen. “A super hydrating facial is great for winter. Skin rejuvenation laser does give the skin a much more dewy look and is always a hit for winter months,” she adds.

Dermatologist and owner of Minnesota Dermatology, Dr. Phil Ecker, agrees that hydration is important, but says that “dry skin care” is just as important or even more important in preventing and treating dry skin. Ecker’s favorites include Vanicream, CeraVe cream and Aveeno cream, which should be applied after drying off from a shower.

“Apply this moisturizer again before bed or more often if necessary,” Ecker says. He also advises avoiding fragrances, using “free” detergents or Dreft and avoiding both liquid and sheet fabric softeners. “For very dry skin, bath oils such as Robinul are helpful.”

Another common winter skin condition is cracked skin. “Cracked skin is a little tougher,” says Ecker. “You typically need to do something under occlusion overnight. If it is on the hands, use cotton gloves. If on the feet, use cotton socks. Ointments are best for this indication, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor. For dry cracked heals, I like Flexitol, which is over the counter.”

Ecker says these products and treatments are also great for children. “A lot of kids have eczema as well, which often starts with dry skin. If the dry skin gets out of hand and you are starting to see visible rash or just real resistence to dry skin care, consider coming in so we can help further, typically with prescription medication or even phototherapy if necessary,” he says.

The same applies for adults who might consider seeking a dermatologist's advice and treatment. “Sometimes dry skin is indicative of other diseases or conditions, and should not be ignored, particularly if persistent and not responsive to routine measures,” says Ecker.

Keep your skin healthy when you shower

Tips from Dr. Phil Ecker, owner of Minnesota Dermatology:

  • Warm showers, not too hot
  • Pat dry, don't rub after shower
  • Then immediately applying a good moisturizing cream, not lotion