Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Winter Woes: Dry Skin

Now that the holidays are over, we're headed into the bleaker period of Winter.  The days are shorter, nights darker.  The air outside is cold and biting, and inside too dry and static-y thanks to forced hot air.  It's a time when skin is dry, dry, dry.  Lips crack, cheeks turn red as they get whipped with icy winter winds, and let's not even get started on the condition of our feet and hands.  Winter's a tough time for our skin. 

If you're like me, right about now, your skin is thirsty and flaky.  So...what's a girl to do to beat the Winter woe of dry skin?  Here are a few tips to get your skin hydrated and glowing, so you can look and feel soft and beautiful under all those layers of clothes.
  1. Start in the shower.  It pains me to say this, but those super long, hot showers I take every morning are not doing my skin any favors.  The ultra-hot water might feel great, but it's only speeding up the process of stripping away the oils from my skin.  Exposure to extremes (hot or cold) only aggravate things.  If I were smarter, I'd turn the heat down a bit to save myself from itchy, flaky dry skin.  But since I am a glutton (and because waking up is hard enough), I say damn it all!  I'm taking my hot, hot shower and opt instead for other skin saving measures.
  2. Buff away the dead stuff.  While you're taking your tepid shower (and while I'm in the midst of a steamy spray), it's a good time to not only wash your skin, but to get rid of dead skin cells.  I use creamy, liquid-y soaps, not the bar stuff.  Try body washes from Dove (or others) that contain fair amounts of moisturizers and use a body buffer (those poofy things) to slough off skin cells.  Be gentle...there's no need to rub your skin raw.
  3. Exfoliate when needed.  Every few days (once or twice a week, depending on your skin), you might want to try exfoliate your entire body. Exfoliating your entire body can help prevent body acne in many places below your neck, such as the chest, back and arms. It also might help you avoid ingrown hairs by preventing dead skin cells from plugging up follicles where you've shaved or waxed. And it can help even out skin tone and keep your skin hydrated and soft. Try using an exfoliating body scrub or bar, or opt for a salt-based scrub.  Like I said before, be gentle, though.  You don't want to trade flaky, dry skin for bloody, irritated skin!
  4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.  Now that you've started easing off the hot water, using gentle exfoliating methods, etc. your skin needs to drink up some moisture.  Take some time to try out different body lotions.  You may like gels, oils, or creams.  The key is to find what you like and to use it regularly.  I prefer cocoa butter based creams for my skin, and I use it every day.  This helps provide nutrients and moisture to your skin which will keep it soft and touchable.
  5. Consider adding healthy fats to your diet.  I know, I's the start of a new year and you're probably wanting to cut out fats from your diet.  Don't.  Essential fatty acids, like Omega-3s found in fish, are so good for your skin.  If you're really considering changing your diet, embrace a Mediterranean diet that incorporates healthy fats.  They're good for your skin...and they taste good.
There are my tips.  Now I ask you: what's your trick for keeping skin flake-free in the Winter?  Also: what's your biggest Winter beauty woe?


    Kitty said...

    Drink water! You have to hydrate from the inside out!

    My biggest woe right now are the colors. I'm so ready for spring!

    peachy said...

    Winter! Please go away now..... I'm tired of the cold :(

    iLove said...

    ahh its soo dull! cannot wait for summer!