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Nourish Your Dry Winter Skin

Four simple solutions for keeping your skin soft and supple through the winter season
Nourish Your Dry Winter Skin: Main Image
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

A combination of frigid temperatures, low humidity, and indoor heating can leave your skin as dry as the Sahara desert during the cold winter months. Cold-weather exposure can contribute to the breakdown in collagen—the connective tissue that maintains skin's firmness—resulting in increased fine lines, cracked skin, and a dry, flaky complexion. Your face and hands usually suffer the brunt of the cold, wind, and sun since your body is covered up. Here’s how to protect them from winter ravages.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Moisturizer will fill in gaps and cracks, restoring elasticity and giving your skin a smooth, supple appearance. Although you don’t need to head to a fancy cosmetics counter, you might want to switch to a cream or an ointment instead of a lotion. These thicker products contain more oil and protect your skin longer than thinner lotions which contain more water. Check the ingredients list for helpful ingredients such as glycerin, petrolatum, lanolin, wheat germ oil, jojoba, mineral oil, borage oil, or safflower or pomegranate seed oils.

Don’t forget the sunscreen

Remember, the winter sun can give you a sunburn—especially if you’re out on the bright ski slopes. Lather on a moisturizer with SPF 30. Unlike sunscreens, these creams usually wash off in water, but you probably won’t need the waterproof protection unless you go for a dip in an outdoor Jacuzzi.

Wear gloves religiously

Your hands will thank you. If they’re still dry from the cold winter air, try this for a night: Apply a thin layer of a petroleum jelly like Vaseline to your hands, and wear thin cotton gloves to bed. (If your feet are dry, slather on the Vaseline and put on an old pair of socks.)

Wash wisely

Water strips the oil from your skin, so wash sparingly during the winter months.

  • Use mild soap-free cleansers, which don’t dry your skin as much.
  • Wash your face only at night to remove makeup and grime. There’s no need for a morning cleansing. If you need that splash in the morning to wake up, put some lightweight moisturizer on damp hands and rinse off with warm water.
  • When you wash your face, use a warm water wash and a cool rinse. A cool rinse constricts the blood vessels and calms the skin to retain the moisturizer in your cleanser.
  • Get in and get out of the shower as quickly as possible. And apply moisturizer within three minutes of washing to seal in moisture.
Deborah Kotz is a freelance writer who meticulously applies moisturizer in the winter but sometimes forgets her gloves at home.

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