10 Tips to Avoid Dry Flaky Winter Skin, Safely

Nothing -- I mean, nothing! -- is working in favor of our skin this New England winter.  It's frigid, windy, and usually snowing outdoors.  It's extremely dry indoors.  Our skin -- especially on extremities like face, lips, and hands -- is chapped.  Chapped dry skin doesn't look or feel good now, and it leads to premature aging down the line.

We've compiled our top tricks for keeping chapped winter skin at bay.  Some of these might seem like common sense on their own, but when combined they help keep skin it's best through winter's worst.

1) Use a humidifier every night while you sleep, hopefully for at least seven hours.  This will help your skin so much more than you could imagine.  If you don't want to buy a humidifier simply fill a bunch of shallow bowls with water each night and place them throughout your room.  This doesn't work as well as a humidifier but it's better than nothing.

2) Exfoliate gently, and more often than usual.  Use a dry brush on your body pre-shower, a loofah or body scrub on your body in the shower, a gentle face exfoliant daily, and a deep cleansing face mask weekly.  I've been using the Clean Dirt on my face almost daily and switching between the ETF Exfoliant Mask and Cacao Mask weekly.

3) Avoid piping hot water in the sink and shower, however alluring it may be.  This drys out our skin more than anything in the winter.

4) Apply a thick balmy cream to protect your face and lips during the day.  I've been applying the Combat Balm or Spontaneous Recovery Creme on top of everything else on my face (toner, serum, face oil) before stepping foot outdoors.  I also have a Follain lip balm in every jacket pocket.

5) Only use a light cream, oil, or serum at night to let your skin breathe and repair while you sleep.  I only use squalane oil or blue cocoon on my face at night, while I sleep with the humidifier nearby.

6) Eat more good fats than usual, like avocado, coconut, and nut butters.  You can add these to smoothies and soups if you're not keen on eating them by the spoonful like some of us...

7) Keep exercising and try to break a sweat daily. But remember to shower as soon as possible afterwards, and to turn down the hot water while doing so.

8) Drink more water than usual.  

9) Wash your hands with moisturizing, oil-based soaps.  Sudsing agents like sulfates only dry out your skin more. Make sure to use soaps made with safe moisturizers like olive oil.

10) Add oils into your shower or bath routines.  When we bathe, our skin is most porous, and will absorb anything it can.  I love adding a few drops of body oil -- especially Midnight Honey Oil -- to baths, and I always apply some of it to my arms and legs before getting out of the shower. 

Photo credit: Cambria Grace Photography and Maggie Main

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