dry skinWarm, toasty jackets. Delicious food that you look forward to all year. Hot chocolate. Festive atmospheres. Who doesn’t love winter? Well, your skin, for one. Subjected to a vicious cycle of cold and wind from traipsing around outside and heat from indoor heating, your poor protective layer doesn’t stand a chance against cracking and drying out this winter. Not if you don’t do something about it, that is. Follow these tips to keep your skin feeling smooth and soft and supple during the coldest time of the year.

This should be the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your skin healthy and dewy. You might get away with just a dab of moisturizer on your face and a bit of lotion for the rest of your body during the spring and summer, but that just won’t cut it during the winter. That’s because the natural moisture and humidity found in the air disappears during the months of cold weather. Use an oil-based moisturizer, as it will last longer and penetrate deeper than a water-based moisturizer, and will also serve as a protective barrier against you and the elements. Carry an all-purpose one, that you can use on both your face and other body parts, in your purse so that you’re never out with that much-needed moisture. Remember that the skin on your hands is thinner and has less oil glands than the skin on other parts of your body, so make sure to show them extra love.

Say Bye-Bye To Alcohol
In your skincare products, that is. Alcohol strips the skin of oil, making the skin prone to cracking and drying out. Alcohol can often be found in makeup removers and hand sanitizers, so make sure to replace these with non-alcohol alternatives.

No matter how much you try to moisturize, chances are you’ll notice some patches of drier-than-normal skin. This is natural. Make sure to exfoliate on a regular basis, preferably using an exfoliant with salicylic acid or other anti-inflammatory medication in it, so that you can get rid of any dead or cracked skin and reveal the fresh skin underneath. It will also allow moisturizer to penetrate deeper.

If you want an organic version, make a simple scrub of honey, olive oil and sugar (a few drops of vitamin E oil wouldn’t hurt either). The sugar exfoliates, the oils moisturize, and the honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Use it on any body part that feels like it needs some renewal. This works wonders on your lips, too.

Drink Water
Since that cycle of cold and heat strips your skin and body of so much moisture, it makes sense that the levels of hydration in your body would lower during the winter months. Make sure to drink enough water (you might even want to increase your usual intake). And it has to be water, since those hot beverages like coffee and tea we love to enjoy in the cold are actually diuretics, meaning they cause you to become dehydrated as you drink them. While people are still debating whether increased water intake has a direct correlation with increased skin hydration, staying hydrated is nevertheless good for overall health, which will in turn undoubtedly translate to better skin.

Don’t Smoke Cigarettes
Cigarettes, which are horrible for your health and which have been linked to prematurely-aging skin, also dry out the skin on your face and hands like the desert sun. The dryness you cause to your hands and face from cigarette smokes is hard to combat. Don’t do it. If you’re currently smoking, quit. Your skin (and entire body) will thank you.

Take Shorter, Colder Showers
This sounds like the last thing you’d want to do in December, right? But long. ultra-hot showers break down the oils on your body, actually drying your skin out after you step out of the shower. It might seem like it might go against logic, but it’s true. Limit the length of your showers and use warm, not hot, water to prevent all your natural oils from swirling down the drain.

By: Dariush Azimi

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