HELENA — Montana winters have a reputation of being long, brutally cold, dry and fiercely windy – conditions that can take a toll on your skin.
We visited with a Helena dermatologist to learn more about how to take care of your skin when Montana's weather is at its worst.
“The biggest issue in the winter with the cold weather is the dryness,” noted Dr. David Baldridge with the Helena Dermatology and Laser Clinic.
Montana's winter conditions can be especially hard on the body -- from sitting by the fireplace or turning up the heater to hitting the slopes -- many winter activities can lead to dry, cracked, chapped or sun burnt skin.
Dr. Baldridge says there are several steps a person can take to protect their skin against dryness, "cleansers that are fragrance-free and mild -- and not scrubbing excessively helps significantly."
Another key step to protecting your skin during the winter is using a good moisturizer, "so, I suggest people tend to stick with the cremes they are a little heavier, they tend to hold moisture a little better,” Dr. Baldridge said.
Another helpful pointer is to avoid taking long hot showers in the winter months.
“Keep the temperature warm and not so hot. Hot water tends to strip the oils from your skin more quickly. So, warm water is best,” Dr. Baldridge explained. “Secondly, it's always important to keep baths and showers short.”
“One of the problems with dry skin in the winter can unmask some underlying skin problem,” Dr. Baldridge noted. “So, I think when you get so uncomfortable -- your skin is cracking. I think that is the time to seek professional help.”
If you're going to be outside, remember sunburn can happen any time of the year. Make sure you are wearing sunscreen with appropriate high SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests something with at least 30 SPF and if problems persist, it might be time to visit your doctor.”