By Tara Sabeti
Do you have the winter skin blues? Is the itching and flaking driving you crazy? Donít worry; you can take steps to protect and soothe your bodyís largest organ. With proper care, healthy, glowing skin is achievable during winter. Whatever your age, follow these helpful guidelines throughout the season.
No matter how dark your skin, you still need to protect it from the sunís harmful UVA and UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more. Sunscreens containing Titanium Dioxide tend to leave darker skin tones looking "ashy". A sunscreen gel is preferable and it absorbs invisibly into your skin.
I know itís tempting, but taking long, hot showers drain essential moisture from your skin, leaving it dry and lacking in water content. Limit your showers to about 5-10 minutes. (Tip: Use a leave-in conditioner, so you donít have to spend as much time washing your hair, but still be able to keep it conditioned.)
Wash your hands and face using lukewarm, not hot, water.
This winter, opt for a non-foaming cleanser which cleanses but does not strip away your skinís natural moisture barrier. You donít want that squeaky clean feeling you get with cleansing gels, which can leave your skin feeling dry and taut.
Invest in a great hand cream: it will help to keep your hands soft and smooth. If possible, avoid washing your hands frequently. Apply hand cream to your hands immediately after washing them to seal in moisture.
Your lips have no natural defense against the elements. Wearing a lip balm with SPF is essential even during winter months. Your lips tend to dry out faster during this time of the year, so make sure to re-apply as necessary. Licking your lips can cause them to dry out faster, too. As the saliva on your lips evaporates, so does your lipsí natural moisture.
In general, and especially during winter months, avoid skin care products containing Alcohol. Not only is Alcohol an irritant, but it is drying, too.
Instead of exfoliating with AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), wear a good water-based moisturizer to hydrate your skin and keep it from flaking. AHAs can be a great way to de-flake the skinís top layer, but they usually tend to dry out your skin. If you plan to use them anyway, donít overuse them.
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