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Updated 10 July 2013

Banish dry winter skin

Has the winter been taking its toll on your skin? Dry skin is a common complaint at this time of the year when lower humidity and lower temperatures result in drier air.

Has the winter been taking its toll on your skin? Does it feel tight, burny or itchy? Dry skin is a common complaint at this time of the year when lower humidity and lower temperatures result in drier air. Heaters in homes and cars may help to make you feel warmer, but they only dry out the air even further and therefore aggravate dry skin.


Fortunately there is much you can do to save your skin from the elements without breaking the bank. Forget about expensive skin creams - with a few simple guidelines, you can nurse your skin back to a healthy glow:

  • Long hot baths and showers may be wonderfully relaxing and one of the best ways to warm your body on a cold winter's night, but too much exposure to hot water unfortunately washes away the skin's natural oils and dries it out. Rather opt for brief baths or showers with warm, not hot, water.
     
  • Gentle pat your skin dry after a bath or shower (rather than rubbing), and apply a moisturiser onto your skin while still damp - this will help to seal in the moisture.
     
  • Steer clear of harsh soaps, perfumed moisturisers and products containing alcohol, as they can dry out the skin.
     
  • Opt for a moisturiser that is oil-based rather than water-based as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin. You can also try tissue oil, soothing aloe vera gel, petroleum jelly, glycerine, olive oil, sesame oil and even baby lotion (it will contain far fewer chemicals) to quench your thirsty skin. For a quick pampering face mask, mix half an avo and some olive oil and leave on skin for 10 minutes.
     
  • When it comes to feeding your skin, you literally have to do it from the inside as well. Eat foods rich in omega 3-rich fatty acids (such as flaxseed, walnuts, avocado, tuna, salmon, sardines and trout), vitamin A (dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut and pumpkin), zinc (oysters, beans, turkey, crab, lean beef), and vitamin E (nuts, seeds, avocado, wheat germ, ground flaxseed/flaxseed oil, dark leafy greens and broccoli). These nutrients all help to soothe and repair dry and damaged skin.
     
  • Also make sure that you drink enough water every day. Though drinking water does not hydrate your skin directly, it is important for your general health and, if you don’t replenish your water stores each day, you can quickly become dehydrated, which will also cause your skin to suffer. Avoid alcohol and caffeine (coffee and tea) as these stimulants will only dehydrate your skin.

- (Birgit Ottermann, Health24, August 2012)

(Photo of woman in sweater from Shutterstock)

 
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