It’s wintertime and that means whipping winds, dry air, and cold temperatures are on the way. Not far behind is dry skin, cracked lips, and brittle hair for many of us! The cold air outside combined with central heat indoors can strip moisture—leading to increased skin sensitivity, dehydration, accelerated aging lines, rough hands and feet, and itchy skin on our face and body.

But you don’t have to put up with dry skin and brittle hair. Here are some tips to help you winter proof your skin!

Turn Down the Water Temperature 
A hot, steamy shower may feel relaxing, but it can wreak havoc on our outermost layer of skin—the stratum corneum. Hot water, combined with traditional bath soap, can disrupt the skin’s natural balance of moisture and weaken its defense against the environment.

For those with dry skin, robbing the natural oils can lead to itchy, cracked, and inflamed skin conditions. For those with oily skin, it can cause the skin to produce even more oil, leading to increased clogged pores and acne flare ups. By lowering your water temperature and shortening your exposure during winter months, you can help preserve the natural balance of your skin. Also choosing a soap, shampoo, and conditioner that are sulfate free and naturally scented with essential oils will help keep your hair, skin, and body rejuvenated, as well as hydrated.

Clear Away Old Skin Cells by Exfoliating
You can pile on creams and lotions, but you may be wasting your time and money. Our skin is constantly generating new skin cells at the lower layer which sends older and dead skin to the surface. Exfoliation is beneficial because it removes the cells that are clinging on to the surface that in turn give us a dull, lifeless appearance. These dead cells are also blocking many of the beneficial ingredients in other topical anti-aging treatments. In order for beneficial ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin layers, we need to remove that occlusive layer of dead skin. Make sure to choose an exfoliator that not only removes the dead skin, but also nourishes it at the same time. Avoid anything too harsh (abrasives or strong acids), as these ingredients can dry out the skin or even harm healthy, intact skin. Gently exfoliating will allow your skin to take advantage of your skin care treatments more effectively, and allow your natural glow to shine through.

Hydrate and Moisturize your Skin
What’s the difference between hydrating and moisturizing your skin? While hydration is what makes our skin soft, it won’t stay that way if there’s no oil protecting that hydration from evaporating and abandoning the skin. Conversely, to put oil on top of already dehydrated skin may smooth it, but it will still lack the hydration that makes it feel soft and elastic. Our skin requires both hydration and moisture to function optimally and remain youthful looking, longer. Choose topical moisturizers that contain a combination of humectants that draw moisture, emollients that smooth, and contain an occlusive to protect the skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea and cocoa butter, and glycerin, as well as natural oils high in lipids.

To help seal moisture in areas such as dry hands, dry feet, and chapped lips—look for heavier occlusive ingredients such as beeswax and silicones.