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Facial skin requires special winter care

By Al Varela

A reader needs to know: It seems that lately I've had a lot of flaking skin in the area above my eyebrows. I've also developed redness around the area of my nose and cheek area. What can I do to improve my skin?

The problems you are experiencing are usually caused by dry weather. The flakiness on your face is due to a build up of skin. Skin has a 15- to 24-day cycle of growth. The new cells develop from the base level and as it matures and ages, it pushes outward to the epidermis. Normal weather conditions help to allow these "dead" layers of cells to fall off. During dry weather conditions this process slows down and does not allow the skin cells to fall.

Besides the normal routine of cleansing, masking and exfoliating are tremendously important during this time. Your exfoliator should contain a natural particle base. Always ask your salesperson to demonstrate the texture of the exfoliator by gently rubbing some on the back of your hand with circular motions. If the texture is thick and very grainy, ask for a less abrasive one. During these conditions the face does not need such abrasion that can cause scratching. The exfoliator should be used daily for four days then reduced to twice weekly. Exfoliation should always be done after cleansing and before moisturizing.

The redness along the nose area is caused by extreme dryness and must be handled very carefully. Over stimulation in this area can cause severe stinging. Exfoliate lightly and then moisturize. Make sure that the red areas do not have small, visible veins. This condition can be genetic and exfoliating this area can cause more damage.

After moisturizing, a green-tinted base can be applied to cut some of the redness. Sometimes this redness is persistent and will require extra moisturizer.

Most cosmetic lines will have a moisture mask. Unlike a clay-based cleaning mask, the moisture mask has intensive moisturizing properties. This mask should be used no more than twice a week, since over-moisturizing with these products can cause breakouts.

Using these types of products during periods of extreme dryness will help to keep your skin in its optimal condition when winter descends upon us. The only flakes I want to see during Christmas should be on the ground and not on your face.

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