10 Winter Skin Care Tips

by Susan Davis

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

For many people, the cold clear days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands, and feet. For some people, the problem is worse than just a general tight, dry feeling: They get skin so dry it results in flaking, cracking, even eczema (in which the skin becomes inflamed).

“As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out,” Bonnie LaPlante, an esthetician with the Canyon Ranch resort in Lenox, Mass., tells WebMD. “It doesn’t matter if you heat your home using oil, wood, or electricity. The skin gets dry.”

Sound familiar? Read on to get WebMD’s top 10 tips for boosting your winter skin care regimen, so that your skin stays moist and healthy through the winter months.

1. Seek a Specialist

If you go to your local drugstore, you’ll be hard put to find a salesperson who can give you good advice. That’s why going to an esthetician or dermatologist even once is a good investment. Such a specialist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care productsyou should be using.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck buying high-end products. “Inexpensive products work just as well as high-end ones,” says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. “In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing. What’s most important is how your skin responds to the product — and how you like its feel, not how much money you paid for it.”

2. Moisturize More

You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer.  But as weather conditions change, so, too, should your skin care routine.  Find an “ointment” moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. (Hint: Many lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil-based.)

But choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Instead, look for “nonclogging” oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. Shea oil — or butter — is controversial, because it can clog facial pores. And vegetable shortening, LaPlante says, is a really bad idea. “It would just sit on the skin,” she says. “And it would be really greasy.  “You can also look for lotions containing “humectants,” a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.

3. Slather on the Sunscreen

No, sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. Winter sun — combined with snow glare — can still damage your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they’re exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.

4. Give Your Hands a Hand

The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it’s harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.

5. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks

Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.

6. Hook Up the Humidifier

Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home; they help disperse the moisture more evenly.

7. Hydrate for Your Health, Not for Your Skin

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Drinking water helps your skin stay young looking. In fact, it’s a myth. Water is good for your overall health and “the skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids. But the average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk,” Kenneth Bielinski, MD, a dermatologist in Oak Lawn, Ill., tells WebMD “It’s a very common misconception.  “LaPlante agrees. “I see clients at the spa who drink their 10 to 12 glasses of water a day and still have superdry skin. It just doesn’t do that much.”

8. Grease Up Your Feet

Yes, those minty foot lotions are lovely in the hot summer months, but during the winter, your feet need stronger stuff. Try finding lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.

9. Pace the Peels

If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are “deeply hydrating,” rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face. And use them a little less often.

10. Ban Superhot Baths

Sure, soaking in a burning-hot bath feels great after frolicking out in the cold. But the intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. “You’re better off with just warm water,” LaPlante advises, “and staying in the water a shorter amount of time.”

A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy, Bielinski notes. So, too, can periodically reapplying your moisturizer. If those techniques don’t work, go see a dermatologist. “You may need a prescription lotion to combat the dry skin,” Bielinski says. “Or you may have a condition that isn’t simply dry skin and that requires different treatment.”



11 Reasons Why Seniors Should Care About Social Media

Senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, and this doesn’t surprise me. Though I’m not a senior, I personally use social media tools for business, but also to keep up with past and present friends as well as my family. For seniors, using Facebook, has enabled them to get in touch with long lost friends and relatives, see pictures of grandchildren, and learn more about the brands and causes that mean something to them. But there’s more to social media than Facebook and more to senior citizen use than a few family pictures.

I think there’s this myth that anyone over 50 is technically inept, but I don’t believe this is true. Perhaps many seniors might not be as technically savvy as the younger generation but I don’t think all of them are clueless when it comes to laptops and gadgets. Indeed, my own mother who retired at 70 ,designed online courses for accountants and telecommuted for several years. She certainly had her geeky moments, or she wouldn’t have been able to compete with the younger co-workers. When my large family began keeping in touch via a private online family forum, my mother embraced the social network immediately. She also uses Skype to keep in touch with her kids and is thinking about looking into Facebook.

Behold some of the benefits of social media for senior citizens:

1. Keep in touch

Social media is a remarkable tool for keeping in touch, especially for seniors who keep in touch with kids, grandkids, and sometimes even great grandkids, but it’s more than just family. Seniors are finding their college roommates, best friends from “the block” and elementary school crushes. The social networks enable us to view videos, read blog posts, share pictures and have conversations with people who we thought we’d never see again. Grandparents are friends with college-aged grandkids and keeping up with their accomplishments. To say social media has revolutionized the way families connect is an understatement.

2. Research

Seniors use social media tools to learn more about topics that interest them. In some cases it can lead them to cultivate hobbies and business ideas, and in other cases, such as with all the inaccurate health information available, it can be a confusing mix of resources. However, the Internet is enabling the over 50 crowd to learn more about new products, work on their genecology, and learn something new.

3. Ask questions

I don’t know about you, but I get frustrated navigating the phone menu to nowhere, so do so many others. By using the online tools available, many senior citizens can reach out via Twitter, Facebook, videos, blogs and live chats. Being able to talk to representatives and have all their questions answered, without being intimidated by voices, attitudes and a phone menu that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, gives folks more confidence in a product.

4. Entertainment

Senior citizens can watch old television shows and movies, as well as find videos from “back in the day.” They can read ebooks, articles and blog posts, find song lyrics and find out what their favorite entertainers are up to. They can play games, either by themselves or with family and friends. Shut ins or those who can’t get out and around as well as they used to no longer have to feel lonely when they’re home alone.

5. Start a new business

Being online allows folks of all ages to start a new business. Perhaps they can sell crafts or give coaching advice. Or maybe they want to get into freelance writing or some sort of consulting. Many senior citizens would love to work but companies don’t want to hire them as they feel they’re “too old.” With social media and so many online productivity and networking tools, senior citizens no longer have to be forced into retirement.

6. Grow an existing business

Seniors who are still in business need to keep up with new programs and technologies. Social media enables them to stay in the game and compete with younger businesses. Use social media tools to connect and share. Answer questions, promote events and sales and more.

7. Learn

Just because one is retired or out of school doesn’t necessarily mean one wants to stop learning. Seniors are now taking courses online and reading online books, posts, articles and more to keep their minds active. Because seniors are now better able to keep up with emerging technologies, they don’t have to be considered “old and out of touch” and can hold their own in a conversation.

8. Share

Senior citizens aren’t merely people who are older than us. They’re also people who have been in the trenches. They have amazing stories and brilliant ideas. Through social media they can share all that good stuff with others. Seniors can blog about how life was when they were growing up or how things have changed during their lifetime. They network online and offer advices and mentoring to younger people and students and they can start Facebook pages to talk to others their age.

9. Meet others

The social networks allow us to meet others, for both business and pleasure. (No, not that kind of pleasure, I’m not talking Craigslist.) From online meetings seniors can plan offline meetups and networking events with like minded people and people their age.

10. Find work

65 is no longer the age of retirement for active seniors. Many would like to continue working, if not full time with an established business, they can also consult and freelance. Various networks enable them to find opportunities, post online resumes and view and apply for job listings.

11. Take advantage of sales and online opportunities

By following their favorite businesses and brands, seniors can save money by taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Many times freebies and discounts are only available via a Facebook page or for Twitter followers.

– See more at: http://seniornet.org/blog/11-reasons-why-seniors-should-care-about-social-media/#sthash.De8nyw6r.dpuf

– See more at: http://seniornet.org/blog/11-reasons-why-seniors-should-care-about-social-media/#sthash.De8nyw6r.dpuf

– See more at: http://seniornet.org/blog/11-reasons-why-seniors-should-care-about-social-media/#sthash.De8nyw6r.dpuf

The Ultimate Guide for a Healthy Back in 2015

Good posture, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle — believe it or not, all of these things are important factors in avoiding back pain. It can be difficult to make the changes you need to get healthy, but don’t worry, I’ve got your back! These tips and links will help you get on the right track!

Be Posture Perfect

Posture may seem like an obvious factor in preventing back pain, but fixing it isn’t always so simple. Bad posture is a tough habit to break. These tips can help keep you on the up and up.

1. Listen to your mother!
You probably rolled your eyes as a kid when Mom told you to sit up straight — but she was right! Slouching puts extra weight on the spine, and the muscles and ligaments in your back strain to support that extra weight. Most of us are hunching over our desks and phones, too. If you sit up straight, you can avoid that strain on your muscles — and you’ll make Mom happy! It’s a win-win situation.

2. “Roll” into better posture.
Need some help with correcting your posture? Shoulder rolls are a great way to improve your posture, and you can even do them while sitting at your desk! All you have to do is slowly raise your shoulders for a count of five, then slowly lower them for another count of five. Finally, squeeze your shoulder blades as if you were trying to make them touch, and hold for another five seconds. That’s it! Repeat at least seven times, and aim to do as many as 50 a day.

3. Don’t let high fashion hurt you.
Unfortunately, a lot of the things that are in style can do quite a number on your posture. High heels make your body tilt forward, taking the spine out of its natural alignment. You aren’t necessarily better off with flat shoes like Uggs or flip-flops, though; both shoes can affect how you walk, which ultimately affects your posture. Also, opt for a cross-body handbag to evenly distribute the weight so your spine doesn’t curve to one side. If you absolutely can’t give up that oversized handbag, switch shoulders often to even it out.

Exercise The Right Way

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise regularly. The key to keeping up an exercise routine is to choose the exercises that fit your needs and provide the results you want. That way, you’ll be more likely to keep it up in the long run.

1. Exercise while traveling? Yep, it’s possible — and you don’t need a gym.
You do a lot of multitasking in your everyday life, so why not apply that to your exercise routine? The key here is to choose do-anywhere exercises that work multiple muscle groups at one time, like wall squats and bridges. The right exercises help to strengthen your core and the other muscles that help support your back. All you need is a few minutes and a little free space.

2. Not into high-impact exercise? Yoga or stretching might be for you.
Sometimes you just need to slow down and stretch out. A good stretch of the neck, shoulders, and back can help relieve the tension that’s causing your back pain. Stretching the hips, glutes, and hamstrings can also do wonders for lower back pain. If you’re looking for the added benefit of stress relief, give yoga a try. Yoga tends to be more popular with women, but several famous male athletes are known to practice yoga too. It worked for Lebron James, and it might work for you, too.

3. Know what NOT to do.
Exercise can help you if you’re prone to back pain, as long as you do the right ones. On the other hand, if you do the wrong ones, you could make it harder on yourself. Sit-ups, leg lifts, forward bending, overhead lifting, and high impact exercise can all make your back pain worse than it was before, so it’s best to find alternatives for these activities.

Healthy New You in 2015

Your everyday habits could be putting you at greater risk for back pain. Poor diet, a lack of sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to back pain. Not to worry, though — these hacks can make it easier for you to get healthier.

1. Take it slow — a few simple swaps can help you get on the right track.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away. Do some stretches while watching your favorite TV show instead of sitting on the couch. Swap whole milk for 2 percent or skim, mayo for mustard, or coffee and tea for water. None of this requires a lot of extra effort on your part, but all of these little positive changes can add up and motivate you to do even more to get healthy.

2. The best way to avoid unhealthy foods? Keep them out of reach!
You need a good diet to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to nourish the bones, muscles, and discs in the spine. It’s difficult to make the right food choices sometimes, but if you don’t have junk food easily available to you, you’ll be less likely to go for it when you’re hungry. Stock up on healthy foods and snacks instead.

3. Like Goldilocks, your mattress needs to be “just right.”
The wrong mattress can leave you with back pain and disrupt your sleep, which can lower your pain tolerance. A mattress with the right balance of softness and firmness can support your back and improve your quality of sleep. Try out several mattresses, and find the one that’s “just right” for you.

Let’s make 2015 about a Healthy New You!

Happy & Healthy New Year!
Michael A. Gleiber, MD