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Wintertime can bring havoc on your skin - making it dry, itchy, and irritated and it can feel like there is no running away.
The cold, blustery conditions outside can leave your skin feeling raw, while indoor heat zaps moisture from the air and from your skin.
Even the things that turn winter fantastic, for instance sitting by a roaring fire, can dry your skin, as the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes. And although taking a hot shower might seem like a good way to warm up, hot water dries out your skin by uncovering it of its natural oils.
But there are umpteen simple ways to fight the causes of dry winter skin and help keep your skin feeling wet and supple all season long, plus some easy changes to your mundane.
Moisturizer After Bath
After taking a not-quite-so-hot bathing, "blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin," says Linda Stein Gold, MD, a dermatologist at Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
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Here are other tips to keep in mind when it comes to effective winter skincare so that you can feel your best all winter long.
Using a humidifier in your abode or workplace will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated.
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Run a humidifier in the rooms you pass the most time in, including your sleeping room.
Lower the Thermostat
When it is chilly outside, what's the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can turn the air in your house exceedingly drier.
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Try setting the thermoregulator at a cool yet comfy setting - 68°F to 72°F - to maintain rose-cheeked skin.
Limit Shower Time
It may be enticing to take a prolonged, steamy shower, but your skin will be much better served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm bath or shower, as the AAD suggests.
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You should likewise avoid using overly hot water when washing your hands. Washing your hands in cooler water seems to be as effective at removing germs as warm water and is to a lesser extent irritating to skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if you are using a restroom air hand-dryer, use it just until your hands are moist rather than absolutely dry.
Choose Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers
The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, regular bar soaps may include annoying ingredients and fragrances. As an alternative, wash with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel.
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You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap overall, so limit your soapsuds to essential areas, such as your hands, armpits, genital organs, and feet.
On bright winter days, snow reflects the sun's rays accelerating your risk of exposure. That means whether you are out on the slopes, playing in the snow, or just walking through a parking lot on an errand run, it is just as important to be applying sunscreen in the rough winter weather as it is in the summertime.
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And don't be deceived by dreary, darker, days in winter, either. The sun's harmful UV (Ultraviolet) rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage.
Before you go outdoors, use a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF (Sun protection factor) of 15 or higher to all open areas of your body.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Galore cold-weather cloths can worsen dry winter skin. "Keep wool and rough clothing from directly touching your skin," Stein Gold says. "This can cause dry skin to get irritated and itchy."
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Rather, wear light layers made from soft, breathable materials straight against your skin, and then pull on your warmer, heavier sweaters. Be certain to defend your hands from cold winter air with gloves or mittens, remembering to pick out a set that won't annoy your skin. If you opt for wool gloves, put on cotton or silk glove liners first.