Weekly_Wellness 11-27

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For many people, the colder winter days can bring dry skin. For some, it’s just annoying but for others it can be downright painful. Flaking, cracking dry, red skin. Ouch! As we enter the colder winter days, here are some tips for caring for your beautiful skin.

1. Seek a Specialist. There are SO many products on the market and the prices (and ingredients) vary from product to product. It is always a good idea to see an esthetician or dermatologist to get their knowledge. Such 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.

2. Moisturize More. Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. Choose your oils with care because not all oils are appropriate for the face. Look for "non-clogging" oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. You can also look for lotions containing "humectants," a class of substances (including glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids) that attract moisture to your skin.

3. Use Sunscreen. No, sunscreen isn't just for summertime. Winter sun -- combined with snow glare -- can still damage your skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and your hands (if they're exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently when outside.

4. Give Your Hands a Hand. The skin on your hands is thinner than on most 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. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep your hands warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first, to avoid any irritation the wool might cause.

5. Avoid Wet Gloves and Socks. Wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.

6. Hook Up the Humidifier. Central heating systems and space heaters blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices. Humidifiers get moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out.

7. Hydrate for Your Health, Not for Your Skin. Drinking more water is not going to help your skin. Drinking water is good for your overall health but your skin can still be super-dry. So, keep drinking your water (but you’ll need to moisturize your skin too).  

8. Grease Up Your Feet. For your feet, find lotions that contain petroleum jelly or glycerine instead. And use exfoliants to get the dead skin off periodically; that helps any moisturizers you use to sink in faster and deeper.

9. Pace the Peels. If your face is dry, avoid harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are "deeply hydrating" (not clay-based).

10. Ban Superhot Baths. The intense heat of a hot shower or bath breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture. A lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda, can help relieve skin that is so dry it has become itchy.