By Kristin Sidorov
Between the harsh cold outside and the dry heat inside, winter can wreak havoc on your skin, making it dried out, flaky, and uncomfortable. Most of us slather on moisturizer, but it provides only short-term relief (and doesn’t treat the root of the problem). Treating dry skin takes a little more effort, but the benefits are blissfully worth it.
For healthy, glowing skin this winter, try these five tried-and-true skin care tips. You’ll notice the benefits instantly.
1. Use a humidifier.
It’s easy to assume that winter skin problems are all due to the bitter weather outside, but indoor heating systems can be just as drying. Hooking up a humidifier helps restore some moisture to the air, making your environment less drying. It will also help sooth the dry skin you may already have and treat dryness and irritation associated with seasonal allergies, colds, and flu.
2. Don’t ditch your sunscreen.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you should stop using sunscreen. The sun can still damage your skin, especially when it’s glaring off snow. Applying sunscreen to your face and hands during the winter months will help protect your skin and keep it consistently healthy. Be sure to reapply frequently if you’re staying outside for a long period of time.
3. Practice smart moisturizing.
Slathering on layers of the same moisturizer you use all year will do little to help treat and prevent chronic dry skin. Dermatologists recommend opting for oil-based, rather than water-based moisturizers, during the winter months. Oil-based lotions will help lock in moisture and build a protective barrier on the skin’s surface. Look for ingredients like avocado oil, mineral oil, or almond oil, which are natural and won’t clog pores. And always apply moisturizer right after your shower – damp skin is more receptive to lotion and will lock in moisture more effectively.
4. Bundle up and stay dry.
Protecting your skin when you leave the house is critical to keeping it healthy and happy this time of the year. Never leave the house with damp hair, clothes, or gloves: They’ll irritate your skin and can cause damage that may lead to an itchy, flaky scalp—and sore or even cracked skin. The skin on the scalp and hands is thinner, more sensitive, and more vulnerable than other parts of the body. Bundle up in warm, dry hats and gloves whenever you go out.
5. Avoid hot water.
When winter has you chilled to the bone, it’s all-too tempting to want to hop in a steamy, ultra-hot shower to ease away the cold. But intense heat is just as drying as the frosty air outside, and it can actually break down the lipid barriers of the skin, leading to a big loss of moisture. Instead, opt for a warm shower, and stay in for as short a time as possible. If you’re going to take a bath, try adding oatmeal or baking soda to combat itchy skin, or some Jojoba or almond oil to nourish skin as you soak.
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