6 Tips to Give Your Skin a Healthy Glow This Winter

handWinter can be a feast for the senses -- the sound of boots crunching through the snow, the sight of icicles dripping from branches, the yummy taste of hot chocolate. But when it comes to your skin, you may sense less pleasant things: dryness, itchiness, flakiness, worse.

Blasting winds, cranking radiators, and other cold weather elements can wreak havoc on your skin, making it feel and look as dry and tight as those leather gloves you treated yourself to this season. But you don't have to let the elements have their way with your delicate outer layer. Here are a few tips to make sure your skin stays soft and supple this winter:


Moisturize more aggressively: Your summer moisturizer just might not cut it for winter months. Instead of a light, water-based lotion or cream, look for one that's oil-based, which will not only add moisture to your skin, but also add a layer of protection to keep it from drying out. "Ointments" and "night creams" are good options, but make sure you choose one with an oil that won't clog your pores, like avocado, mineral, primrose, or almond oil.

Use a humidifier: Heating systems of all sorts -- central air, radiators, space heaters -- make indoor air not just warm, but dry, as well, sucking the moisture from your skin. Put the moisture back into the air by strategically locating humidifiers throughout the house -- and particularly in your bedroom, so the hours you spend there will be restorative (rather than destructive) for your skin.

Protect your hands: The skin on your hands is particularly sensitive to the ravages of winter because it doesn't have the same concentration of oil glands many other parts of your body have. That means you need to pay special attention to these poor, put-upon appendages. Use a gentle hand soap and a moisturizer after you wash. Make sure you wear gloves when you go out. And if your gloves get wet, change into a different pair -- otherwise, the wetness may cause further irritation.

Avoid astringents: Adjust your skin routine to eliminate products that dry the skin, like astringents, masks, or peels. The products you use in winter should provide moisture, not deprive your skin of it.

Take short, warm baths and showers: A long, hot bath or shower can dry your skin. Take warm, short ones instead.

Don't forget the sunscreen: Just because it's cold out doesn't mean the sun can't damage your skin. As in summer, be sure to protect your face and hands with some serious SPF before you go out, and reapply frequently, especially if you're out for a long time: skiing, skating, sledding ...

Does your skin get dry and flaky in the winter months?

Image via .reid./Flickr

Read More >