Winter skinWhile cold winter weather might bring a rosy glow to your cheeks, it can also cause dryness to your skin, especially on your face, hands and feet. The culprit is your home’s heating system. Besides keeping you warm, it’s drying your skin – causing everything from a general tight, dry feeling to flaking or cracking to eczema.

But there are plenty of adjustments you can make your skin care regime to help keep your skin feeling healthy and looking radiant.

  1. Take short, warm-water baths or showers. A steaming hot bath or shower may feel great to warm yourself up, but intense heat from the water can actually strip your skin of its natural oils. Use a mildly acidic bath/shower gel to maintain your skin’s pH balance. If your skin is dry and itchy, take a lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda added to the water.
  2. Exfoliate 2 or 3 times a week to remove dead skin cells. For your face, look for “deeply hydrating” masks/scrubs instead of clay-based products that can draw moisture from the face. Avoid harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents if your face is really dry.
  3. Apply moisturizerMoisturize often. Look for lotions that contain “humectants,” like glycerine, sorbitol and alpha-hydroxy acids, to attract moisture to your skin. For your face, use a lightweight, fragrance-free, mildly acidic moisturizing lotion twice a day. Avoid heavy oils or butters that can clog your facial pores.
  4. Moisturize your feet. If your feet are dry and itchy, soak them in warm water infused with a few drops of tea tree oil for 15 to 20 minutes to soften your skin. Gently rub any calluses with a pumice stone to remove dry, tough skin. Or use an exfoliating foot scrub made from botanicals like crushed fruit pits, or olive oil and raw sugar. Rub a liberal amount of a rich hydrating foot cream (containing shea butter, cocoa butter or humectants) on your feet – including the tops, sides, heels and between the toes. At least once a week before you go to bed, apply a thin layer of foot cream all over your feet. Then, slip on a pair of cotton socks to help moisturize your feet overnight.
  5. Wear sunscreen (a minimum of SPF 15) if you’re going to be outside. The winter sun can still damage your skin. And snow can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s radiation. Reapply it frequently if you’re outside for a long time.
  6. Wear gloves when you’re outside. Since the skin on your hands is thinner and has fewer oil glands, it can dry out quicker in the winter. If wool gloves irritate your skin, slip on a thin pair of cotton gloves first.
  7. OrangeAvoid wearing wet gloves and socks, which can irritate your skin, causing itching and cracking.
  8. Turn on a humidifier to get more moisture into your home’s air and prevent your skin from drying out.
  9. Get your nutrientsFoods with a high vitamin C content, like oranges, bananas or papayas, may help to prevent dry skin and reduce UV damage. Foods rich in omega-3s, like salmon, tuna, cabbage, spinach, romaine lettuce and winter squash, can help keep your skin moisturized from the inside out.
  10. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and to transport nutrients throughout your body.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent your skin from feeling dry and looking dull this winter.

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