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Common causes of dry skin in the winter and simple solutions to fix it

You don't have to look or feel like this this winter
You don't have to look or feel like this this winter

Most women would love to have an alligator purse, an alligator belt, or alligator boots.  But alligator skin?  Forget that! 

Skin can be dry for two reasons.  Either it does not produce enough oil or it does not contain enough water.  Ideally, the skin should have a healthy balance of both.   For a true reading of your skin, consult a licensed skin care professional.  He or she will be able to tell if skin is alipidic or dehydrated.

Alipidic skin decribes a skin type.  Pores are small and sebum production is minimal. 

Dehydrated skin, however, is a condition that is seen across all skin types, and is usually due to some environmental factor.  Dehydration occurs more frequently in the winter due to the dry cold of the outdoors and the dry heat of the indoors.

Chances are, one of the following may be contributing to your dry skin.

Do you drive to work with the heater blowing directly on you?  Keep the heat confined to your feet.  

Are you using the same skin care formula for winter that you use for the summer?  Typically, people have to amend their skin care routine summer and winter, based on the amount of humidity in the air.  You may need to use a heavier moisurizer or a less drying cleanser. Try switching  the foaming face wash for a milky cleanser. 

Are you drinking emough water?  The eight glasses a day rule still applies, as you need to hydrate the skin from within, as well as topically.

Are you exfoliating?  Using a scrub made of sugar, salt or jojoba beads to slough off dead skin cells allows your moisturizers to better penetrate the skin.  Sugar and salt are okay for the body and do a wonderful job at getting ride of those itchy red bumps on the back of the arms.  This condition is called keratosis pilaris and is caused by blocked follicles. 

Exfoliants specifically formulated for the face must be used, as the skin on the face is completely different from the rest of the body.  Alpha hydroxy acid, jojoba beads, and oatmeal based scrubs are recommended for the face.  Avoid harsh abrasives like ground apricot or peach pits.

Exfoliation is recommended about twice a week for both face and body.  Take care not to over- exfoliate.  This may cause increased dryness and irritation.

Are you using a moisurizer twice a day?  Pat dry after showering to keep some moisture in the skin.  You may have to switch to a heavier, more emollient cream like shea butter.  Try cocktailing your lotion with a light-weight body oil like Neutrogena sesamea oil or Keyano Aromatics Champange Oil.