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General dermatology posts
Help your skin survive the desert winters
I am often asked by my patients “My skin gets so dry in this desert climate during the winter months. How can I keep it moisturized and healthy?” Here’s what I tell my patients who ask me this question.
The Sonoran Desert climate can be tough on your skin, especially in the winter months. The combination of dry air and lots of sunny days creates a challenge to keeping your skin looking and feeling good. Minimize the number of baths and/or showers you take daily and use a mild, moisturizing cleanser. Use warm to cool water only as very hot water can aggravate dry skin. Afterwards, lightly pat your skin dry and immediately apply a thin moisturizing CREAM to your skin. Reapply the cream several times daily as needed and before going to bed. Also remember to keep yourself hydrated with fluids throughout the day – your body, including your skin, will thank you!
Sun protection is another way to keep your skin in top form. Winter sun exposure can still cause significant damage and can lead to skin cancers in the future. Sun avoidance between about ten o’clock and two o’clock is ideal. Other sun protective measures include protective clothing (wide brimmed hat, long sleeves and long pants) and sunblock. Your sunblock should be at least SPF 30, contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and should be applied every three to four hours for optimum results. Moisturizing and oil-free sunblocks are available, depending on your skin type. The lips are especially sensitive to the sun and to dry climates so use a moisturizing lip sunblock often. Finally, annual skin checks by a dermatologist are important for skin cancer screening.
The winter season is a wonderful time in the desert. These simple tips will keep you and your skin healthy for many desert winters to come!
About the author…
Doctor Fiona D. Behr is a practicing Dermatologist at Ironwood Dermatology located at
1735 E. Skyline Drive • Tucson, AZ 85718 • 520-618-1630 • Fax: 520-618-1636