Winter weather brings a lifestyle shift that most of us look forward to. There?s hot tea in front of a roaring fire, warm woolen sweaters to keep the chill at bay, and early nights that cry out for candles, novels, and board games.

For many, winter also means dry, flaky skin that ranges from simply irritating to down-right painful. If you?ve been wondering how to treat dry skin in winter, read on. These simple tips will help you keep your skin soft and supple throughout the coldest months of the year.

winter beauty photo

  1. Change your moisturizing routine Shelve the silky-smooth, lightweight lotion until spring, and invest in a moisturizer that will hydrate your skin thoroughly and deeply. Look for skin-care products that are hypoallergenic and are not petroleum-based. Be sure to apply lotion within three minutes of showering to lock in moisture, and again right before bed. For hands that tend to crack and bleed, moisturize them heavily before bed, and cover them with thin cotton gloves while you sleep.
  2. Stay hydrated Drinking plenty of water during the dry, winter months is crucial. Keep a bottle of filtered water within easy reach at all times, and remember to drink up throughout the day. Although there’s no hard, fast rule for water consumption, 64 ounces or more daily is still a good rule of thumb.
  3. Remove common toxins from your environment Chemical-laden cleaners and other familiar household products can irritate sensitive skin, making it more susceptible to painful flaking and peeling. You can purchase natural versions of most laundry and dish soaps, as well as other household cleaners. Look for products that are not petroleum based and are fragrance-free. Stay away from commercial air-fresheners, chemically-scented candles, and synthetic dryer sheets.
  4. Exercise Regular exercise increases circulation, proper digestion, and healthy elimination. An elevated heart rate allows blood to circulate oxygen and nutrients throughout your body more quickly, while carrying away waste and free-radicals that can harm the skin. Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent chaffing, and always wear sunscreen when exercising outside.
  5. Use a humidifier Added heat in the home, whether from wood stoves, radiators, or forced-air furnaces, can dry out the air, causing further irritation to your winter skin. Using a humidifier will moisturize the air and keep your skin from drying out. Turning down your thermostat a few degrees will also keep the air more moist.
  6. Take infrequent warm showers instead of hot baths Too much soaking can remove the natural oils from your skin, and people who bathe every day are more likely to suffer from dry skin. Hot water removes those oils more quickly than warm or cool water, so opt for short showers in warm water, every other day.
winter face photo

Photo by Chung Ho Leung

Winter doesn?t always have to mean dry, flaky skin. With a little foresight and knowledge, the dreadful dry skin winter can be a thing of the past. Follow these easy suggestions to get started on the path to soft, vibrant skin, no matter the season.

+Dr.Lee Eberting is a board certified dermatologist who has dedicated her career to research and treatment of skin ailments. She writes regularly at cherylleemd.com

Photo by martinak15