Winter skin survival guide
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Intro_BigChill1 of 11
About-Face2 of 11
"Simply changing your moisturizer from a lighter lotion in the summer to a more emollient cream in the winter can help keep your skin from becoming dry and flaky," says Dominic Brandy, M.D., medical director at The Skin Center. The same goes for your cleanser—if you've been using a gel version, then switch to cream. And for those with sensitive skin, seek out fragrance-free products, which tend to be less drying.
Mist Opportunity3 of 11
Look for facial hydrating mists infused with soothing botanical extracts, says Felicia Alva, an aesthetician in Los Angeles. "These can be used on fresh faces before moisturizing to lock in hydration, and throughout the day over makeup," she says.
Strengthen & Lengthen4 of 11
"Nails can become dry and brittle during winter months," says Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. In addition to moisturizing nails with a rich hand cream, she recommends taking 1000 mg of biotin daily to promote healthy growth.
Balms Away5 of 11
"If you have extremely chapped lips that are unresponsive to lip balms, then try an over-the-counter 1 percent hydrocortisone ointment," says Jaliman. Also, try to avoid licking your lips; saliva contains enzymes that can draw moisture out of the skin, according to Marina Peredo, M.D., a dermatologist in Long Island, N.Y.
Lemon Aid6 of 11
"Chapped elbows and knees are another byproduct of winter," says Constance Dunn, author of Practical Glamour. She suggests using a lemon cut in half to soften tough, dry patches. "The natural acidity of the lemon juice will help slough off dead skin," she explains.
Quick Fix7 of 11
Winter might seem like the ideal time to take long, piping-hot showers, but sadly, your indulgence can strip skin of the natural oils that help hold in hydration, says New York City dermatologist Neal Schultz, M.D. The result? Dry, tight skin that can quickly become irritated. To prevent this, limit your showers to 10 minutes and opt for warm water that won't make your skin prickle.
It's A Wash8 of 11
"While you want to use soap every day on your face, armpits and personal areas, you don't need to use it every day on the other parts of your body," says Schultz. Avoid over-lathering arms and legs, which deprives skin of its natural oils. Don't worry about not getting clean enough. When your limbs sweat, "all they do is make water and salt, and that just flows off in the course of water during your bathing," explains Schultz.
Pat Answer9 of 11
Post-shower, resist the urge to towel off completely. Instead, pat yourself dry and apply cream while skin is still damp. This will help bind the water to your skin and lock in moisture, says Jaliman.
Weather The Weather10 of 11
We spend all summer trying to escape the humidity, but come winter, your parched skin is craving the moist air. Add moisture to your bedroom air with a cold-water humidifier, says Schultz. (Cold-water humidifiers are easier to keep clean compared to hot-water versions.) Another natural moisture-booster? Plants. "They help keep the humidity in the air," says aesthetician and skincare researcher Christina Zehavi of Christina Cosmeceuticals.
Material Matters11 of 11
Wool may be a winter staple, but if you have sensitive skin, then wearing coarse materials (including wool, acrylic and polyester) can irritate skin. Instead, dress in breathable cotton fabrics, says Ben Behnam, M.D., a dermatologist in Santa Monica.