Avoiding Dry Winter Skin

The onset of the cold weather always means more than just holiday shopping to me. It usually means that I’m in for a few rounds of dry, patchy, ashy skin. Several things can work together to make your skin dry and ashy. Turning on the heat can dry out your environment, including your skin, and exposing yourself to the elements outside can lead to chapping and discomfort. And a quick trip to the drugstore can turn into an hourlong shopping session when I’m trying to find the right kind of product to help with skin issues. Luckily a few steps taken as a preventative measure with some subsequent follow up can make all the difference.

Start with a body scrub. This physical exfoliant can help remove the dead skin you can see as well as the dead skin you can’t see. Choose a formula that doesn’t have salt as the basis. A sugar scrub or one with other abrasives such as almonds are far more gentle on winter skin. A few to try are Neutrogena Sugar Scrub Body ExfoliatorTree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub, and Origins Lavender & Vanilla Sugar Body Smoother Scrub.

Next, slather on a rich, moisturizing body lotion. These work especially well after scrubs, as they protect the new skin that is now on the surface. If you tend to have extremely dry winter skin, look for an extra emollient formulation such as Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion or Nivea Nivea Creme. If you suffer from sensitive and dry skin, consider the Aveeno brand - they have some wonderful products at a good price point, such as Aveeno Active Naturals Creamy Moisturizing Oil.

Spot treat those problem areas. Everyone has them. My problem areas happen to be my cuticles. In the winter, they always turn into a huge mess. Someone else might have problems with their elbows or heels. I like to spot treat with a petroleum-based product overnight, such as Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Original Moisturizing Creme. Apply right before bed and allow to absorb naturally into the skin.

Be extra zealous with the lip balm. Not just the gloss, but an extra moisturizing formula that will help to keep the dryness away. After all, this season’s dark lips aren’t going to look good if you have dry, flaky skin! Use a sugar scrub to exfoliate the lips such as philosophy | kiss me exfoliating lip scrub, then immediately apply a heavy duty lip balm. I swear by Smith's Rosebud Salve and Carmex. Your preferences may vary. Apply often and generously.

Don’t neglect your nails! Did you know that the cooler weather can even affect the condition of your fingernails? As nails dry out, much like wood, they become even more brittle and prone to breakage. Keeping them covered in a moisture-sealing product will help with the problem. Again, Eucerin Moisturizing Lotion is often recommended as is Aquaphor Healing Ointment, both petroleum-based products.


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Meredith Edwards-Cornwall is the founder of online lifestyle websites RetrodivasBeauty.com and RetrodivasCloset.com. She is also known as @retrodiva on Twitter. She specializes in drinking large amounts of espresso, shopping, and enjoying social media. In all of her free time she writes for StyleBakeryMom.com twice a week, and does various other freelance gigs involving writing, designing, and generally being awesome. While she believes that success is indeed a job in New York, she currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband, two children, and two cats and has hung on to her day job.