Jan 03, 2014 8:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Cold, brisk winter air can invigorate, and a toasty home makes you feel cozy. But combined, they do a number on your skin. Here are four major causes of dry winter skin, and ways to keep it sleek and healthy until spring.

Moisture-Zapped Air

Cold weather dries out your skin because humidity levels drop, removing moisture from the air. Cranking your heater exacerbates the problem as it erases additional moisture from your home.

Beauty Fix

Install a humidifier.  Optimally, set humidity at 45% to 55% and set your home temperature to 68. Before heading outside, shield your skin by applying a moisturizer to your hands, face and lips, then add a scarf and gloves for more protection.

Long Showers and Baths

Stepping out of a blizzard into a hot tub of bubbles sounds blissful, but steamy soaks and long, scorching showers rob your skin of its natural oils.

Beauty Fix

Keep the showers short and lukewarm; unless you’re sweaty or grimy, skip a shower every other day. Pat your skin dry afterward (a vigorous rubdown will scrub away precious surface moisture) and immediately apply a body moisturizer. In winter, you might want to opt for a heavy-duty cream rather than a light lotion. If you can’t resist the allure of the tub, limit your soak to 15 minutes and pour in a moisturizing oil rather than bubble bath.

Harsh Soaps

Soaps and cleansers are designed to remove dirt, oils and sweat from the skin. In winter, eliminating that moisture will leave you with flaky patches and itchy knuckles.

Beauty Fix

Choose a soap formulated specifically for dry skin. Look for a fragrance-free soap that moisturizes as it cleanses.

Oil-Stripping Products

Your skin-care regimen shouldn’t be the same year-round. In the dry winter months, avoid alcohol-based toners or astringents, clay masks, and peels, all of which strip moisture from your skin.

Beauty Fix

Choose a mild foaming cleanser, cleansing milk or an alcohol-free toner; you might also treat your skin to a hydrating facial mask.

skin care

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