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Winterize Your Skin

Winterize Your Skin

Winterize Your Skin

If you've always thought that the winter months serve up a slew of itchy, red, and just plain unpleasant skin problems, guess what? You're right!

The weather outside may be cold and dry, but with just a few changes you can keep your skin looking and feeling healthy in winter. Here are a few steps you can take that will help winterize your skin.

Water wisdom
Water can go a long way toward enhancing your skin's ability to survive the winter season.

If you're a big fan of bath-taking, before sliding into the tub, sprinkle a few drops of olive or grape-seed oil into the water to help ward off – or to help heal – dry skin. Adding a few cups of whole milk to your bathwater is another way to moisturize as proteins, fats, and vitamins in milk can work to sooth rough skin.

And whether you're on team bathtub or team shower, the water used should be lukewarm rather than steaming hot. As wonderful as a super- hot shower or bath sounds, heat actually breaks down lipid barriers in the skin. This breakdown, in turn, can result in your skin being robbed of moisture.

Reverse the redness
Whether it's Santa's suit or shiny bows, red is a prominent winter hue. And red is a perfectly pleasing color, except when it replaces your nose's normal shade.

Fortunately, there's a remedy. When you're outside in cold weather and return inside, the blood vessels dilate quickly. This causes a rush of blood to your face and nose. To counteract, simply apply a warm (not hot) compress to the nose for several minutes.

A winter cold can also leave your nose raw. To mitigate the damage, apply a thin layer – throughout the day and night – of moisturizing ointment or lotion to the affected area.

Lip lessons
Lips – like noses – also can find winter to be a season of discontent. Chapped lips are common and can progress to deeply and painfully cracked lips. Frequently applying lip balm is a good first line of defense. However, if your lips have become noticeably flaky, gently exfoliate them with a clean toothbrush. Next, liberally apply beeswax or a lip balm with lanolin and repeat throughout the day. In the case of severely dry lips, apply honey or petroleum jelly and leave it on for 15 minutes. Remove it with a cotton swab dipped in hot water and repeat as necessary.

Face Facts
Winter is perhaps the most brutal on your face. Your face is home to your most sensitive skin, and winter's drying ways can really wreak havoc. As a starting point, avoid any face products that contain alcohol. Next, purchase an ointment moisturizer that's oil-based rather than water-based. Oil creates a protective layer capable of retaining more moisture. Be sure, however, to select non-clogging oils, such as avocado, mineral, primrose or almond oil.

If you're someone who enjoys facial masks, you probably should pull back on your mask schedule during winter. If you can't kick the mask habit entirely, at least opt for deeply hydrating masks, rather than those that are clay-based. And when washing your face, reach for cream-based cleansers.

Hand Health
Winter's cold temps and whipping winds can leave your hands dry, cracked and painful. Prevention is priority one, so always apply moisturizer after washing your hands, as well as different times throughout the day. If your hands are very dry, replace moisturizer with hand cream. If daytime lotions or creams aren't working, apply very thick hand cream before going to sleep, and then slip on white cotton gloves.

With a little extra care, you skin will survive the winter season, and you'll be in tip-top shape to greet the spring.

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