As a skin doctor in Salem, our staff at Valley View Dermatology understands the unique challenges residents of the Pacific Northwest face when it comes to protecting their skin during these crisp, wet and windy winter months. As fall brings about falling leaves and temperatures, the soon to arrive winter months will feature the cold, damp weather that Oregon residents have come to expect.
However, winter in Salem is different than winter in California or New England. So you know the best ways to protect your skin no matter where you are this winter, here’s what you need to know about the best skin care tips for each U.S. region.
Of course, the other regions of the U.S. also have their own challenges when it comes to keeping your skin looking its best. No matter where you live, there are a few basic skin care techniques you should practice that include:
- Daily moisturizing
- Taking shorter showers and baths in warm – but not hot – water
- Using a humidifier at home
East Coast Winter Skin Care Tips
The brutally cold weather of the East Coast during winter means that humidity levels drop indoors when the heat is turned on to keep off the cold. While your heater may keep you warm at night, it also causes the air in your home to become dry, leading you to lose a lot of moisture from your skin.
Cold weather outside can make a hot shower at home sound even more appealing, especially in the morning as you wake up and start your day. Unfortunately, while it may feel wonderfully refreshing at the time, hot showers will leave your skin feel woefully dry once you towel off. You need to avoid using harsh soaps and detergents, switching to milder brands with a fabric softener and moisturizing lotions instead. You should also consider using a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the warm air from drying your skin out while you sleep.
If you spend any significant time outdoors commuting to work or school or participating in outdoor events like skiing, skating, snowshoeing or snowboarding, make sure to apply a moisturizer to your face before heading out.
Southeast Winter Skin Care Tips
While the southeast region of the U.S. isn’t known for the heavy snowfall and frigid temperatures of up north, residents can expect to experience extreme shifts in temperature on a daily basis. Depending on where you live, you may have the temperature go from 90s in the morning to the 50s at night.
In addition to the standard winter skin care advice – taking shorter showers, moisturizing daily and using less-abrasive soaps – you also need to keep sun screen protection in mind all year. Warmer weather year-round means wearing less clothing and exposing your skin more consistently to the sun’s harm UV rays than people living under layers of coats, hats, gloves and scarves for half of the year. To combat the sun’s rays, make sure to apply a daily moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30 before heading out.
Southern Skin Care Tips
For those living in or near Dixieland, the winter offers far fewer obstacles to enjoying healthy skin 12 months a year. With temperatures that rarely ever dip below 50 and air that doesn’t get as dry as in other regions, Southerners just need to make sure to keep their showers short and warm rather than long and hot like those summer Georgian nights.
Midwest Skin Care Tips
The Midwest can nearly rival the East Coast when it comes to cripplingly cold winter temperatures, even if the snowfall may be several feet less a year. The cold weather outside causes hot air to flow inside, stripping your home of necessary moisture from the air. The Midwest also has the reputation as being incredibly windy, which can certainly cut deep during the colder months of the year.
Harsh winds dry out your skin more quickly when outside, so it’s important that you protect any exposed skin – such as your face and hands – with a daily moisturizer that matches your skin’s dryness. If you suffer from especially dry skin, try using a heavier, cream-based moisturizer. If you only suffer from mild irritation, try using a moisturizing lotion when showering.
Southwest Skin Care Tips
The high deserts of Arizona or the bluffs of New Mexico typically have low humidity throughout the year. Low humidity levels are only further exacerbated during the winter, so even if you only turn the heat on occasionally at home, you still need to watch out for dry skin.
The Southwest is also known for having hard water issues in many homes. If water coming out of your shower head is hard, products like bar soap become less effective. Try switching to a liquid soap, such as a moisturizing body wash, when cleaning your body and face.
The warmer weather in the Southwest also means you need to keep sunscreen protection in mind all year, so make sure to apply SPF protection before heading out.
Western Skin Care Tips
Skin care tips for the winter for those living on the West Coast vary depending on the region. Northern California has a milder winter and the air is frequently less drying than in other parts of the region. The fog in the Bay Area is actually good for the skin due to the increased humidity it causes in the air.
Central California can become cold and dry during the winter months, so make sure to moisturize to keep your skin feeling soft.
For residents of Southern California and Hawaii who enjoy 70-degree weather most of the year, make sure to take precautions when it comes to sunscreen protection.
Pacific Northwest Skin Care Tips
Finally, for those of us living in the Northwest, the cool, wet weather can easily trick us into believing that our skin doesn’t face the risk of drying out during winter. However, just because the air outside is damp doesn’t mean the air in your home isn’t dry once the heater goes on high. While you have less to worry about in the Northwest when it comes to keeping your skin feeling smooth and looking its best, you still need to moisturize daily to prevent any drying out from occurring.
If you have any questions about the best ways to protect your skin this winter, feel free to ask your skin doctor in Salem during your next appointment with the Salem’s Valley View Dermatology clinic.