Now that we are finally in the last throws of old man winter (the winter that just won't end) my skin is screaming, “Help Me, please!”  For those like me, whose skin has lost the fight with the elements this year and is in desperate need of tender loving care, I sought the advise of two skin experts to come to the rescue of our winter skin.  

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Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, of Ingleton Dermatology, is a board-certified dermatologist and a leader in treating the skin issues of people of color.  Renowned aesthetician / celebrity facialist, Mamie McDonald, of Skin by Mamie, keeps the faces of her famous clients, Iman, Naomi Campbell, Angela Bassett, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, flawless. Between these two amazing dermatologists, we'll be sure to get our skin right and tight, just in time for spring. 

EBONY: What types of treatments would you suggest to patients, in an effort to protect their skin from the elements during winter in the future?

DR. ROSEMARIE INGLETON: To protect skin from the Winter elements, it is essential to switch to products that are more moisturizing than one would use during the warmer months. Choose a hydrating body washer soap, and a thicker moisturizing cream to lock in the skin's natural moisture and prevent drying out.

EBONY: Winter weather might bring windburn and itchy skin. what are some ways to prevent and treat them?

MAMIE MCDONALD:  Skin that has been exposed to environmental stress, such as strong winds from the ski slopes, waiting on the bus, or general exposure, brings dry, chaffed and irritated skin. I cannot not say this enough...Water is the best skin care in the world! Skin becomes dehydrated, irritated and sensitive. It is important to moisturize your skin immediately after you shower, with your favorite essential oil, before you dress. Prevention is key!

RI: Windburn and itchy skin result from surface dryness of the skin. It is essential to hydrate the skin to prevent this. If you are going skiing or will be exposed to considerable wind, consider applying a protective coat of Aquaphor ointment to the exposed areas before heading out. If the skin is itchy after returning indoors, then apply a rich moisturizer to re-hydrate the skin.

EBONY: Can we develop Rosacea or is it just a bad case of wind burn?

RI: Yes, I do see patients with skin of color with flare ups of rosacea during the winter. It is very different from windburn. Rosacea is characterized by redness/flushing, broken capillaries and pimples in the mid-face (cheeks, chin & mid-forehead). Windburn looks like chapped red skin that hurts.

MM: The old saying, that " Black don't crack" is a crock...we crack, just differently. I have seen more clients of color with Rosacea this year than ever! Because the skin is the largest organ, certain skin conditions begin with an internally toxic body. Having a proper skin regimen is helpful in the preparation to prevent a dry, scaly dehydrated skin conditions.

EBONY: Should patients of color be concerned about sunscreen during the winter?

RI: Patients of color like all other patients should be wearing SPF daily, even during the winter. They are exposed to sunlight when outdoors in the winter, and especially when at high altitudes. Although sunburns are less frequent in the winter sun, they do occur.

EBONY: Is it better for our skin to take showers or baths during the winter?

RI: Both options are good, but if you are taking a shower, you should limit the time spent in the shower and moderate the temperature of the water. Limit the shower to 5 minutes and keep the water warm, not piping hot. If taking a bath, the same rules apply, and additionally you should add some bath oils or moisturizing body wash to the water.

EBONY: Does humidifier use help during the winter months? 

RI: Humidifiers add necessary moisture to the air around us. They are very useful to prevent drying out of the nasal passages and the skin during the winter.

EBONY: What are your top products you'd recommend for winter skin care?

MM: I highly recommend the Luzern products because it is processed pure. For people of color, it is truly important not to use products with alcohol. Like food, you skin care should be safe and free of toxins. Emulsifiers, preservatives, formaldehydes and synthetic fragrances cause irritation and inflammation that can accelerate aging. The M'lis Tissue Repair Cream is the miracle for eczema, and psoriasis.

EBONY: What are your top 3 tips to weather proof your skin?

RI: (1)  switch to a moisturizing body wash/soap instead of gel cleansers; (2)  switch to a heavier, richer moisturizer in the winter, and ALWAYS apply it immediately upon getting out of the shower; and (3)  limit the frequency and duration of showers to once daily for no more than 5 minutes. Also moderate the water temperature.