7 simple ways to give your dry, winter skin some much-needed TLC

Are your hands practically bleeding at the knuckles? Is the skin on your legs practically flaking off? Are you hiding dry, split lips from you S.O.’s kisses. Well, SAME.

Your skin is the largest of the body’s organs (a little trivia for you), so why wouldn’t you treat it as well as you would, say, your heart or brain? When the winter temperatures drop and moisture goes missing from heated rooms it’s easy to feel a little parched from head to toe. Try these tips below to quench your tired skin’s thirst.

1. Take shorter, lukewarm showers and avoid baths.

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Yes, I know. When temperatures dip it’s easy to want to spend as long as possible in a luxuriously hot shower or bath. You’d think that being in water would moisturize your skin. But when things get too hot, the epidermis’ naturally moisturizing oils melt away, leaving the cells exposed to the elements. And sitting in hot water for longer than utterly necessary, like in the bathtub, only prolongs the loss of those good oils. So remember: even though hot water feels nice in the moment, you’ll be paying for it later.

2. Use soap only on the dirty parts of your body.

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As a friend of mine likes to say “I only wash my pits and bits,” meaning the areas of the body that sweat or see the toilet. This keeps those good oils we just talked about from being unnecessarily stripped away by the harsh ingredients found in most soaps.

3. Moisturize immediately after washing.

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Lotions are only meant to be a temporary replacement for the oil barrier on your skin that’s broken while in the shower. Waiting too long to lotion up let’s the skin’s moisture escape. So be sure to use your towel to pat skin dry rather than rub, and follow up with a good, thick moisturizer immediately after toweling off. The same goes for recently-washed hands, which we all tend to wash more frequently in the winter, due to cold and flu germs.

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Eminence Organic Stone Crop Body Lotion, $29

4. Get in the habit of exfoliating 1-2 times per week.

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Too often we use products that we think will cleanse the skin the nasty build-up. But doing so too often will actually strip everything from your skin, and cause it to dry out and overproduce oil, which can lead to acne. On the adverse, skipping exfoliating altogether lets dead skin cells accumulate, which keeps moisturizers from working efficiently. I like to designate days (like Wednesdays and Saturdays) to exfoliate so I always know when it’s time to give skin a scrub down. If you’re not sure which product to use, an exfoliating wash with citric acid is more gentle to the skin than one with rough, scratchy beads.

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Eminence Organic Citrus Exfoliating Wash, $27.46

5. Add more water to your diet.

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We don’t give it enough credit to water for it’s essential role in keeping our bodies healthy. After all, we’re composed of 60% water, and we lose it regularly through evaporation from our skin, digestion, and breathing. So do your whole body a favor listen to any thirst or dehydration cues asap. Remember to hydrate for your the health of your organs, not just to keep your skin looking nice.

6. Turn on a humidifier.

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A couple of well-placed room humidifiers can make a world of difference when the heater is running daily, sapping all the moisture from the air. Keep a mini humidifier on your desk during the workday, and turn on one that’s appropriate for the size of the room while at home.

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NiceMax Cactus USB Ultrasonic Humidifier, $16.99

7. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and cover your skin.

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Scarves, hats, and gloves will all help to keep your tender skin from being exposed to the sun’s harsh winter rays, the biting cold, and freezing wind. In addition to wearing clothing to protect your skin, it’s important not to skimp on the sunscreen, especially if you’re outside in the snow. That white backdrop acts as a bounce board for the sun’s light, and you can just as easily burn your skin on the slopes as you can on the beach.

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