For many people, the cold days of winter bring more than just a rosy glow to the cheeks. They also bring uncomfortable dryness to the skin of the face, hands and feet. As soon as you turn the heat on indoors, the skin starts to dry out. Here are some tips to help you keep your skin soft and supple this winter.

Moisturize more: You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring and summer, but as weather conditions change, so should your skin care routineAdding a Hyaluronic acid with your moisturizer will help attract moisture and lock it in.

Give your hands a hand: The skin on your hands is thinner than the skin on most other parts of the body and has fewer oil glands. That means it’s harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking.

Hook up the humidifier: Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot, dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers add more moisture into the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out.

Hydrate for your health, not for your skin: You may have heard drinking water helps your skin stay young looking, but it’s a myth. The skin of someone who is severely dehydrated will benefit from fluids, but the average person’s skin does not reflect the amount of water being drunk. Water is good for your overall health, though.

Pace the peels: If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, or masks that are “deeply hydrating” rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face.

Avoid super-hot baths: The intense heat of a hot shower or bath actually breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. You’re better off using warm water and staying in the water a shorter amount of time. A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy.

Seek a specialist: Going to an esthetician is a good investment. A specialist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using.

Jessica Swaynghame, LMA, is a licensed medical aesthetician with Carolina Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics.  

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