The harsh winter temperatures can really wreak havoc on our skin. According to renowned dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu “it’s harder to protect your skin because the temperatures drop, the winds pick up and then an evaporative effect happens on our skin.” Spending time in an overheated room won’t do your skin any favors either. What’s a person to do? Dr. Chiu was kind enough to join me for an interview this morning to share tips on how we can get gorgeous glowing skin this winter season, she also dished on common myths and misconceptions on skincare, her favorite acne products for sensitive skin and a must have moisturizer too.
Candace Rose: How can we protect our skin from cold air and low humidity this winter?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Every winter it’s harder to protect your skin because the temperatures drop, the winds pick up and then an evaporative effect happens on our skin and then we come in and out of the cold air into an overheated room. All of that dries out the skin a lot, so I always recommend boosting up your moisturizer, spending a little less time in the shower, changing up your skincare regimen a little.
Talk to your dermatologist if you have certain conditions like acne because you may want to change to a less drying type of acne regimen, something like an Aczone (Dapsone) 5% gel and things like that. Those changes will really be helpful.
Avoid soaps that are high in fragrances. Those things all tend to dry us out, so I think it’s important to make those changes when the winter months come around.”
Candace Rose: Are there any other important items we need to ensure our skin looks fabulous this winter?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Well, you can do lifestyle changes too like putting a humidifier in your bedroom or eating foods that are chockfull of antioxidants. What that does is it obviously improves the health of the whole body and kind of is always going to be reflected in your skin which happens to be the largest organ of the body. Antioxidants are important for collagen building, it’s important to fight the free radical damage that occurs as a result of pollution. Like you said, because it is more windy your skin may come in contact with more oxidative stressors through pollution.
Of course don’t forget sunscreen all year round. Even though it’s not as hot, even though it’s not as bright, UV index is often not even related to those things, so it’s still important to use a wonderful broad spectrum sunscreen, even in the wintertime.”
Candace Rose: Can drinking more water help our skin?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Absolutely. It’s a little bit mythical that everyone thinks eight to nine glasses of water is how you have gorgeous skin. You just want to make sure you stay hydrated. I think the foods you eat is actually more important (antioxidants) and having a moisturizer that holds the skin and delivers the moisture to the right place versus just flooding it in your body and then having it flush out. Although sometimes you may want to do that because detoxing your body can help remove impurities that can cause things like acne breakouts and inflammation.”
Candace Rose: How can we protect our skin when bathing or showering?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Well, we talked earlier about maybe spending a little less time in really, really hot – it’s so tempting, you want to go in the shower, you want to turn it up really high, you want to stay in there for 25 minutes, it’s relaxing it’s warm. All those things worsen dry skin, so I tell people keep it 10 minutes or less. Use warm not scalding hot water, and as soon as you get out of the shower, hit it with a moisturizer on damp skin so you can seal in the moisture. Avoid body washes that are high in fragrances because those things tend to dry out the skin as well.”
Candace Rose: Are there certain clothes that are harsher on our skin than others?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “If you have sensitive skin – people who suffer from eczema or who are allergic, tend to have asthma as a child, hay fever, allergies seasonally can get easily irritated, little hives and little rashes from rougher fabrics like wool. I recommend breathable cotton fabrics and just layer it instead of scratchy fabrics like wool, which can inflame and irritate the skin as well.”
Candace Rose: Many of us will be traveling over the holidays. What are some basics we should be taking with us?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Well, I like to streamline skincare products for patients during the holidays because I know TSA allows you this much for carryon, so I like products that are a little bit multitasking – SkinMedica’s Total Defense and Repair is a sunscreen with an SPF protection against UVA and UVB. It’s got antioxidants for anti-aging, as well as a light moisturizing base, so that’s a nice product that gives you a moisturizer and everything in all one tube, I think that’s really helpful.
On the plane always load up a little bit on extra lip balm and things like that because those thin skin areas tend to evaporate moisture a little bit faster. When we’re traveling with all that recirculated air, you want to be careful.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “Just in general I think we fall into a lull with our skincare products. We used to save the products we used when we were in our 20s all the way up to our 40s, we use the same skincare products all year round. It’s important to visit your dermatologist and just get guidance because like the rest of our body, we’re not the same people we were 10 years ago, so you want to make sure you’re evolving with that. That’s how you maintain the most healthy, beautiful and radiant skin that you can have.”
Candace Rose: Where can we go for more information?
Dr. Annie Chiu: “If you want information general skin conditions, AAD.org has a wealth of information for all consumers and patients alike. You can go to my website which is the TheDermInstitute.com. For information about acne or gentler products, if you have sensitive skin and you’re trying to treat acne, Aczone.com is great for that.”
Dr. Annie Chiu is a Board-Certified Dermatologist in Manhattan Beach, California who received her Medical Degree from Stanford University after having obtained her Bachelors of Science from UC Berkeley and having completed her Dermatology residency at Emory University. Prior to opening her private practice, Dr. Chiu practiced at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group and was Director of Dermatology at the Murad Inclusive Health Medical Group. She is currently on the Dermatology staff of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.