For those who are unable to enjoy a mild California winter, the cold days of this season marks the beginning of uncomfortably dry and itchy skin. This stems from the diffusion of moisture from our skin cells. Add to this the dry air from the additional heating in our homes and offices and we are further robbing our skin of the moisture it needs to remain beautiful in the harsh, winter environment. Here are some great tips for boosting your winter skin care regimen to keep your skin looking healthy, soft and smooth all season long:

  1. Stay Hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is not only good for your skin, but also your health. Grab a bottle of water when you go outside and don’t let your skin go thirsty.
  2. Exfoliate. A good body scrub and facial exfoliant will help remove dead skin cells from your body. Add this to your weekly cleansing routine and not only will you feel fresh but your skin will be free of all those old, dry cells.
  3. Hook Up a Humidifier. Heating systems blast hot, dry air throughout our homes and offices, but hooking up a humidifier can help put moisture back into the air and prevent your skin from drying out. For an inexpensive solution, place plants around the room. Freshly watered plants will diffuse water out into the air for a similar result. Another option is to use bowls of water instead of plants; as the water evaporates it will help return moisture to the air.
  4. Bathe Better. Limit your baths or showers to 5-minutes and only bathe once a day. Turn the water temperature down so that you are using warm (not hot) water. Hot showers may feel great, but the intense heat from the water can break down natural barriers in the skin. A warm bath with oatmeal or baking soda can help relieve itchy dry skin. Alternatively, add a few drops of bath oils to your daily soak. It will do wonders!
  5. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize. Apply moisturizer at least twice a day, including shortly after getting out of the bath or shower. Choose an oil-based moisturizer instead of water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.
  6. Handle With Care. Avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents as they can strip vital oil from your skin. Embrace cleansing milk, wipe-off, soap-free cleansers and alcohol-free hand sanitizers, and use them a little less often. When you do wash, be sure to apply lotion after.
  7. Protect the Unprotected. Protect your skin from the cold and the wind with scarves, hats, socks and gloves. Clothing can help protect the skin from the cold, dry air, which can suck the moisture from the skin. It makes a difference! Avoid wearing wool and other rough fabrics that can irritate the skin.
  8. Slather on the Sunscreen. Don’t pack away the sunscreen just because summer is over. Winter sun, combined with snow glare, can still damage your skin. Apply a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 about 30 minutes before leaving your house. Reapply frequently, as needed, to protect your skin from the elements. Additionally, choose a product that combines a sunscreen with a moisturizer.

Follow these tips for the next three or four months of winter to keep you skin looking as healthy as it does in the summer.