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By Ashlie McDiarmid

Winter skin woes

Winter skin woes

During winter months, especially in dry climates, the cold comes in and takes its toll on the body. The skin loses its ability to retain moisture. Luckily, this is usually something that can be solved quickly and cheaply. There are several ways to help your skin stay healthy and vibrant during the winter months. The best help that you can give your skin is giving it a little extra love during this time. Prepare your morning routine and your home to help get rid of the itchiness and those unsightly tiny red bumps.

Topical treatments
One of the best ways to help the skin recover from Old Man Winter is to invest in some heavy-duty moisturizers and sunscreen. Sunscreen is important at any time of the year, but it's particularly important if you're out enjoying the snow. Snow reflects light, and all the UVAs and UVBs are being directly reflected onto the skin. Sunscreen will help prevent it from becoming damaged or sunburnt. Sunscreen does not have a lot of moisture content, so pair it with a long-lasting moisturizer.

It can be a little tricky to find the right moisturizer. There are thousands of options. Read labels and ingredients to determine the best choice. Sensitive skin may react to fragrances. Extra-dry skin may need some better ingredients to last all day. Petroleum is an oily product that sits on top of the skin and does not fully absorb. Many companies use petroleum or water as a base for moisturizer because it is cheaper. Choose one with an oil base, shea butter base, or aloe base. These may be more expensive, but they will be retained by the skin all day.

Home remedies
There are other ways to help winter skin that don't involve topical treatments. Humidifiers are a direct way to put moisture and humidity back into the air. Keep these going around the house or office to help fight the dryness. There are many options that won't break the bank, and they can help purify the air as well.

When winter comes, hot water becomes a commodity. We sometimes take longer baths and showers to help ease the winter blues. The problem is, hot water can actually strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it drier than before. It is ideal to reduce the heat of the water. If this isn't an option, put on the chosen moisturizer while the skin is still warm and slightly damp. Heat opens the pores and allows for better penetration into the skin.

Another way to benefit skin is to get rid of harsh soaps. Companies may use less than ideal ingredients as fillers to bulk up the product. The price tag is nice, but the soap may contain ingredients that strip the skin. Honey and aloe vera are popular natural alternatives.

Perhaps the first and most obvious way to help your skin is to dress for the weather. Wear layers that protect the hands and face. Gloves protect hands which are more prone to dryness than other parts of the body. Hats, sunglasses, and scarves help protect the face from the wind and bitter cold. It is worth it to take a little extra time when getting ready, to prepare all of these elements from the sunscreen to the shower. If done consistently, all these steps will make dry winter skin a worry of the past.

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