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The winter months may bring cheer and usher in the festive season, but they can be very harsh on your skin. Humidity levels are extremely low during winter. The low humidity levels coupled with low temperatures and strong winds will rob your skin of its moisture leaving it dry and chapped. Scaly, flaky or cracked skin can cause discomfort and pain and is susceptible to a horde of dry skin diseases. It is therefore imperative that you follow a regular skin care program that specifically focuses on keeping your skin hydrated. To maintain that healthy glow and vitality you need to adopt a three pronged approach with dietary modifications, lifestyle changes and skin care routines. Here are some tips that will help you to keep that holiday glow!
Skin Care Tips:
  1. Use a mild or natural cleanser to clean wash your face. A good face scrub or facial exfoliate will help you to get rid of dead, dry skin cells. You can use a homemade facial scrub or add a few drops of baby oil to your scrub to ensure that your skin does not get excessively dry. Do not use a cosmetic scrub daily as it will definitely leave your skin dry and flaky.
  2. Honey is an excellent tonic and you can make a body or face scrub using honey and oatmeal. You can also add a spoon of milk powder to your scrub to provide your skin with additional nutrition.
  3. Virgin coconut oil has tremendous healing properties and is also a natural moisturizer. Apply a little coconut oil to your skin, concentrating on dry areas like your knees and elbows. Leave it on for at least thirty minutes before going in for a shower.
  4. You can pamper yourself with a warm oil bath once a week or so. Add a few drops of Sweet almond oil, olive oil or jojoba oil (or your favorite essential oil) to your bath to help to replenish lost oils and keep your skin soft and supple.
  5. Make a paste of green gram powder to use while bathing instead of your regular soaps. This will cleanse your skin but leave it soft.
  6. There is nothing more relaxing than a hot shower/ soak on a cold day but this will strip your skin of its natural oils and increase flakiness. Avoid long and hot showers and instead opt for a short lukewarm bath.
  7. Moisturizing is another important aspect of your winter skin care routine. Oil based moisturizers are ideal for winter. Look out for the ones available in an ointment form and check the oil content. Most of these ointments contain up to 80% oil and will leave your skin feeling soft and supple.
  8. Your hands have less oil glands as compared to other areas of skin, so avoid using harsh soaps on your hands too, as they can strip the skin of its moisture causing cracks to appear. Baby wipes are instead quite a safe alternative.
  9. The skin on your feet is also likely to be problematic during winter, so apply lotions containing glycerin or petroleum to soften them and prevent the formation of cracks.
  10. The skin on you lips is particularly vulnerable and dries out a lot faster, so use a lip moisturizer with sun block.
  11. Applying butter to your lips will also help deal with chapped lips and will give your lips an added softness.
  12. Put away that blow drier this winter to avoid aggravating skin problems. Using a hair dryer will dry out your scalp and cause irritation to your skin as well.
  13. Although the summer months may have long passed, your sunscreen is still as essential. Apply a sunscreen lotion, with an SPF of at least fifteen or more, whenever you leave your house. This will help shield your skin from the elements. Besides, the sun's UV rays can cause as much damage in winter if your skin is unprotected.
Diet Tips:
  1. Drink a glass of hot water with some lemon juice added every morning. This will help detoxify your entire system, thus promoting healthier skin.
  2. Keeping your skin hydrated is one of the biggest challenges you face, so make sure you drink enough water. Keep a flask of water handy at all times.
  3. Add some herbal teas to your liquid diet as they are extremely effective at keeping your skin hydrated.
  4. Leafy green salads and veggies have high water content and are good for internal hydration and nourish the skin as well.
  5. Consuming warm cooked foods and drinking warm water or herbal teas will help to improve your circulation and digestion as well. This has a marked effect on the health of your skin.
  6. Eat three or four small meals during the day rather than two big meals and snacks. This is much easier on your digestive system and will minimize the chances of indigestion or similar problems that affect your skin.
  7. Increase your intake of vitamin A rich foods like cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, apricots, romaine lettuce, carrots and fresh parsley. While vitamin A will not solve your skin problems, a lack of it will certainly increase them.
  8. Vitamin E is another nutrient essential for healthy skin, so snack on some hazelnuts and almonds to maintain your vitamin E intake.
  9. Essential fatty acids are an essential nutrient that facilitates oil production. Mackerel, flaxseed, salmon, sardines, and safflower oils are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids.
  10. Honey is rich in antioxidants that help minimize and restrict damage to skin cells. Honey also contains a variety of nutrients and would add to your dietary value.
  11. Cut down on your intake of caffeinated drinks as they are dehydrating.
  12. While sipping on some brandy in the cold of winter may seem like a great idea and does feel good, it is important that you limit your intake of alcohol. Alcohol can cause rapid dehydration so make sure you keep it in control.
  13. Avoid consuming refined, processed and junk foods, or fried and oily foods.
Lifestyle Tips:
  1. Although the cold may be getting to you don't turn that heater up. Keep it at an optimum level, just enough for you to not feel cold. Artificial heating devices tend to increase dryness and will further aggravate your skin.
  2. Use a humidifier, as the air indoors is generally dry and artificially heated. A humidifier will help to maintain humidity levels and protect your skin from the effects of dryness.
  3. Make it a point to wear gloves when you go outdoors. If woolen gloves irritate your skin you could wear a cotton mitten underneath. This will help to keep your hands warm and dry.
  4. Scarves and shawls are just as important and will help to keep the neck and chest regions warm.
  5. Woolen socks and boots will help to keep your feet dry and warm.
  6. If you are wearing clothes in layers or are using fabrics that are meant to keep you warm but irritate your skin, make sure that the layer of clothing in direct contact with your skin is made from cotton.
  7. If you spend a lot of time cooking or engaged in any activity that exposes your hands to water a lot then make it a point to wear rubber gloves while working.
  8. Never rub yourself dry with a towel after bathing as this will not just remove excess moisture but will also cause a loss of natural oils. Instead of rubbing your skin dab it gently to get rid of excess water.
  9. Avoid using perfumes, after shaves, colognes, and deodorants that have high alcohol content as they will further dry your skin.
  10. A disciplined and regular routine is necessary for both meals and sleep. Make sure that you sleep well and get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for healthy skin as it gives your body cells a chance at renewal and regeneration.
  11. Going out for a walk may be impractical and downright hazardous in extreme winter conditions so make sure that you get some exercise at home. Daily aerobic activity will help improve your blood flow and other bodily functions, improving the texture and glow of your skin.
  12. Stress affects your body's functions and your skin is not immune to its effects either. Avoid any undue stress and try to take some time off and relax.
  13. Yoga and meditation are extremely useful methods of rejuvenation, as they will help to clear your mind and get rid of any stress or worry.
  14. Avoid licking your lips frequently as contrary to popular belief this is the worst thing you can do for chapped lips. As the moisture evaporates some of the natural moisture from your lips will also evaporate.
  15. Smoking is under normal circumstances damaging to your skin and its effects can be even more pronounced in winter so kick the habit.
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