8 Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

| Women's Health

Winter is on its way, and frigid temps and dry, cold air can suck the life right out of your skin! As you hunker down and prepare your home and family for winter, don't forget to winterize your skincare routine! These skincare tips will help you keep your skin healthy and happy all winter long.

clear skin

Use a humidifier: Skin loses its natural moisture in the winter due to dry air. The warmer thermostat in your house also contributes to dry skin. Dry winter air also wreaks havoc on your respiratory system as well. Humidifiers release moisture back into the air to combat dryness. Try using a humidifier in your bedroom at night or in your office during the day. The humidity in the air will keep your skin from drying out.

Take cooler showers: A hot bath or shower at the end of a long day can be relaxing and soothing. However, hot water saps your skin and hair of its natural oils. Shower using slightly cooler water. The less time you spend in the shower, the better. Debra Jaliman, MD, suggests using a superfatted soap, one that contains unincorporated oils in the soap which help hold moisture in the skin. She also recommends avoiding soaps with deodorants or fragrance. When you exit the shower, gently pat your body dry.

woman with wet hair drying off after shower

Stay hydrated: It's just as easy to become dehydrated in the winter as it is during the summer. While you may not actively be sweating and losing water from the warmer weather, your body still needs a steady flow of fluids. Staying hydrated internally will help your body stay hydrated externally. Water and herbal teas are best to keep your body and skin hydrated. Try a naturally flavored water for a tastier way to sip.

Eat a balanced diet: Skin is nourished from the inside out. What you eat impacts the health of your skin. Essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, can help keep skin supple and moisturized. Vitamins and minerals from a variety of fruits and veggies are important, too.

>> Read More: 12 Best Foods for Great Skin

Don't over exfoliate: Gentle exfoliation removes dead skin cells and promotes growth of new, healthy cells. Exfoliating too much or too often leaves skin red and irritated as well as dry. This goes for both your body and face. Kim Laudati of Kim Laudati Skin Care recommends exfoliating one to three times per week. Brushes, cleansing scrubs, retinols, acids and enzymes all count as exfoliators. "The more you scrub, the more your face will dry out and flake. If you're unsure of how often your skin needs exfoliation, stick to 'less is more' and exfoliate gently once per week," she says. A DIY body scrub can also work great as a full-body exfoliator.

homemade coffee body scrub

Moisturize: Use moisturizers daily; you likely already do this! The best time to moisturize your skin is just after your shower before your skin is completely dry. "Look for moisturizers that contain important skin barrier repair ingredients like ceramides and essential fatty acids. For extra protection from irritants and water, look for a cream that contains dimethicone or cyclomethicone, key barrier ingredients in moisturizers," suggests Karen Stolman, MD. Natural oils, such as coconut oil, also work well as a lipid barrier to hold moisture in.

>> Read More: 49 Products for Healthier Hair, Skin and Nails

Apply SPF: Damaging rays from the sun can still permeate the clouds on moody winter days, especially in snowy conditions. Even if you aren't spending time outside, you need to protect your skin with SPF. Photoaging caused by damaging UVA and UVB rays can be prevented with the use of a broad-spectrum protection. There may already be SPF in your everyday moisturizer! Many experts recommend a daily application of at least SPF-15, but opinions vary. While some makeup does contain SPF, it's still advisable to wear a moisturizing SPF product underneath to prevent dryness and protect skin.

>> Read More: 6 Sunscreens to Wear All Year Long

Focus on hands and feet: Your hands and feet take a beating in the winter. Cracked, peeling hands and feet are painful. Don't forget to moisturize and care for these parts, too. Rachel Maleady of Life Unsweetened recommends applying a generous amount of Aquaphor, Vaseline, or another rich emollient to your feet and covering them with socks overnight! That helps them heal and soften. Try this same technique on your hands with a rich cream and gloves or socks.

Follow a healthy skincare regimen during the winter to keep your skinny happy and glowing!

>> Check out these top 10 winter calorie burners to get your sweat on even when it's cold outside!