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Beauty Tips to Combat Dry Winter Skin

When the weather changes, so should your skincare. The dry, warm air of indoor heating systems and the harsh winds of outdoor weather combine to assault your skin. The result? Dry winter skin that could range from a few flaky spots to painful chapped skin. Fight back with these beauty tips to cleanse, treat, moisturize and protect your skin all season long.

There is such a thing as too clean.

The goal isn't "squeaky clean" skin. Rather, the aim of proper cleansing is to remove dirt and other impurities without stripping away the vital oils protecting your skin and maintaining moisture balance.

- Avoid harsh products, gel cleaners and alcohol-based toners and astringents that strip your skin of natural oils.

- Use a cleansing milk or mild foaming cream-based cleanser.

- Choose masks that are labeled "deeply hydrating" instead of clay-based, and use masks less frequently than in summer months to avoid irritation.

- Wash with lukewarm water. Hot water breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which leads to a loss of moisture.

Treat yourself!

After cleansing, treat problem areas. Follow cleansing with a few drops of a serum. Serums are a liquid designed to penetrate into the deeper skin layers with active ingredients such as vitamins and antioxidants. Serums treat conditions like dryness and flaking.

Our favorites:

- Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum

- Kate Sommerville Dilo Oil

- Sunday Riley Luna Oil

If your skin is so dry that it itches, find some relief from a lukewarm bath with oatmeal or baking soda.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

Moisturizers are essential tools in combating dry skin because they "reconstitute cutaneous hydro-lipidic film" that holds water in the skin. What the American Skin Association is saying, in other words, is that your skin cells naturally work as a barrier to keep undesirable elements out while keeping necessary moisture in, and moisturizers help recreate the protective barrier that has been compromised by drying winter air.

To maximize the moisturizing effects, follow these tips:

- Apply moisturizer to slightly damp skin.

- Oil-based moisturizers create a protective layer that retains more moisture than water-based creams and lotions. Many lotions labeled night creams are oil-based and can be used in the day too.

- Look for products with "occlusives," which prevent water loss, "emollients," which smooth flaking skin, and "humectants," such as sorbitol, glycerin and alpha-hydroxy acids, which attract moisture to skin cells.

- Expensive products don't necessarily work better than inexpensive ones. What's important isn't the price but how your skin responds and whether you like how it feels.

- Try a night mask! Our favorites are: Sephora collection sleeping mask, Origins Night-a-mins, Korres Yogurt Moisture sleep mask.

Protect and prevent.

One of the easiest ways to take care of your skin this winter is to protect it before you head outside. Don't be fooled by the winter sun, which can still damage your skin directly as well as through the glare off of ice and snow. Whenever you head outside, slather on at least SPF 15 sunscreen as protection.

Moisturize from the inside out. Hydration of your entire body is a daily necessity, and your skin is no different. As the body's largest organ, your skin holds a critical place in maintaining overall health. Help keep it (and you) healthy by feeding it the right stuff. Most importantly, drink plenty of water.

Bonus tip: add a slice of lemon to your water, since lemon is a rich source of Vitamin C, an important vitamin for the health of skin. Lastly, try to use a humidifier while you're sleeping to help replenish some of the moisture in the air.


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