Dry Skin Relief: How to Survive Winter’s Itch

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Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and her research team share their top tips for surviving the havoc cold winter weather can have on skin.

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Cold, dry winter weather can change everything about how skin looks and feels....

Cold, dry winter weather can change everything about how skin looks and feels yet some people escape the cold without dry, itchy, or dull skin. Ever wonder why? It’s because their skin has the ability to retain healthy water levels which keeps the top layers soft and satiny smooth. Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun and her research team share their top tips for surviving the havoc cold winter weather can have on skin.
1.    This may seem obvious, but apply moisturizer. The trick? Make sure it’s well-formulated (many are not). According to Begoun, “A moisturizer that is filled to the brim with antioxidants to fight environmental damage. It should also contain ingredients that help keep water in skin, anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce irritation, and cell-communicating ingredients to help skin produce normal skin cells.” Find the best moisturizers here.
2.    Avoid soap! Instead, use only gentle cleansers: This habit cannot be stressed enough. Never use a cleanser that is harsher on your skin than the weather outside, and that includes from the neck down. Olay, Dove, Eucerin, and St. Ives offer excellent, affordable body washes that won’t leave skin feeling two sizes too small.
3.    Do not scrub skin; you can't scour away dryness. Scrubbing creates tiny tears on the surface of skin impairing its ability to keep water where it needs to be. Fight dry, flaking skin with an AHA or BHA exfoliant—both also help firm and smooth winter-worn skin.
4.    After bathing or showering (which should be brief, as prolonged water exposure makes dryness worse), apply a body moisturizer as soon as you can: Skin is more vulnerable after it is clean (water and even gentle cleansers can remove some amount of the essential substances that keep your skin soft and smooth). The sooner skin is moisturized , the better. It will help keep any moisture on the surface of skin from escaping into the already-dry environment. Click here to see some great options.
5.    Get a humidifier: Low humidity is the cause of most weather-related dry skin, whether it is winter or a desert environment. Humidifiers are relatively inexpensive, last a long time, and work for the whole family. For a large home, two or three humidifiers may be needed to gain benefit. For best results, be sure to follow usage and cleaning instructions.
6.    Just before going to bed, apply a non-fragranced plant oil. At night, after you've applied your moisturizer, massage a few drops of plant oil such as extra virgin olive oil or safflower seed oil over stubborn dry areas. These types of oils are not only incredibly emollient, they are also rich in antioxidants and fatty acids all skin types need. Other oils to consider include evening primrose, jojoba, sunflower, borage seed, or wheat germ.
With the tips above, dry, tight, itchy winter skin will become smooth, soft skin with a healthy glow and surface that’s ready to withstand any curveball (snowball?) that Old Man Winter may throw.

Led by best-selling author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, the Paula’s Choice Research Team evaluates and reviews hundreds of skin-care and makeup products, in books such as Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and online at CosmeticsCop.com. Combining cosmetics industry knowledge and expertise, Paula and her team have developed the Paula’s Choice line of state-of-the-art formulations based on reliable, published skin-care research. Products include skin-care, makeup, body, and hair-care products, beauty tools, and accessories. All products are fragrance-free, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly, and they perform beautifully without false promises.

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