flaky, peeling, dry, and itchy no more

By Madeleine Kates

Everyone knows the achy feeling on your skin after a long day in the cold and snow. Winterized or sensitized skin, which may be dry, dehydrated, sensitive, warm, tight, or flaky, is the norm for many of us living in colder climates, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

With less humidity in the air for your skin to absorb, winter takes its toll, especially for those with naturally dry skin types. Kristine Koch, Licensed Aesthetician and owner of Nickel City Skin Spa and Boutique, stresses the importance of noticing the signs of sensitized skin, and taking steps to reduce discomfort during the cold winter months.

Heat: Wintertime means dry forced air, hot showers, and car heaters cranked to the max. With heat comes evaporation of the moisture that protects and hydrates skin, leaving behind a cracked or rough exterior. Think about the environments you’re frequently in, and bring along a moisturizer, or wear skin protective clothing to prevent uncomfortable skin distress.

Moisturize: It is important to add hydration back into the skin, as winter temperatures cause it to lose its emollient moisture barrier. Natural lip balms are an easy way to protect skin, and they can be applied to other areas including the nose and cheeks. To hydrate the entire body, try massaging your skin with natural massage-grade oil, letting it absorb for 20 minutes before showering. For time spent indoors, use a humidifier to add moisture back into the air that may be dry from forced air heat.

Cleansing: Hot showers may feel great in the moment, but they can have lasting and dehydrating effects on the skin, especially after cold exposure. Exfoliating with an enzyme-based product is a great way to clear away dead skin cells, without damaging skin’s barrier, so moisturizing products are able to absorb and do their job more effectively. Squeaky-clean skin is not the goal because it means that it has been depleted of its natural oils. Gentle cleansing with quality products sets your skin up for success.

Seek professional care: When in doubt, visit a professional. At Nickel City Skin Spa, Koch often recommends a 60-minute skin treatment that can be customized to exfoliate and hydrate, as well as decompress stress for the body, mind, and skin.

“Winter is a time of extremes for your skin, and many issues as a result of the bitter cold outside and the dry air inside,” says Koch. “When your skin is in need, we are here to help!” Nickel City Skin Spa’s mission is to help clients achieve their healthiest skin possible, so they can put their best face forward. Nickel City Skin Spa and Boutique is located at 4500 Harlem Road, Buffalo, NY 14226 near Main Street next to Snyder Square. Visit their website at https://www.nickelcityskinspa.com/ or call (716) 768-2089 to make an appointment.

Madeleine Kates is studying her MPH through the University of Manchester, UK. She recently graduated from Niagara University with degrees in Environmental Science, Life Science, and Psychology.