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Wintertime skin TLC: 10 timely things to do

January 23, 2018

As the days get colder and the sun seems less intense, it’s easy to forget about skin care. But here’s a cold, hard fact about winter: It’s not very kind to skin.

The harsh, dry air can make skin more likely to flake, crack and itch. To keep your skin healthy during the winter months here are 10 DIY skincare tips.

Take shorter showers in warm (not hot) water. Hot water removes the skin’s natural oils. Lingering longer than about five to 10 minutes may further dry out skin.

Moisturize on time. Moisturizing ointments and creams (two top choices: products with olive or jojoba oil) relieve dry skin by locking in dampness. Apply them right after washing your hands or bathing—it’s OK to gently pat the skin a little dry first.

Practice gentle skin care. Some cleansers — such as deodorant bars and perfumed and antibacterial soaps — may contain alcohol or other ingredients that can strip oils from the skin. A move to a mild, fragrance-free soap may help.

Shave right after bathing, when hair is softer. Use a shaving cream or gel and replace razors often.

Slip on some gloves. Wearing gloves outdoors in the winter helps prevent dry, rough hands.

Resist the scratch. Apply a cool damp cloth to soothe itchy areas.

Don’t sit in front of the fireplace or heater. The heat can draw out moisture.

Drink plenty of water. This healthy habit helps keep you hydrated from the inside out.

Humidify your home. It helps add moisture to dry, indoor air.

Don’t put that sunscreen away when summer ends. Sunscreen isn’t just for sweltering summer days when you’re more likely to get a painful burn. Even in fall and winter, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm unprotected skin. The sun’s rays can still cause sunburn during these winter months, especially when they reflect off snow.

If you have severely dry skin, check with your doctor to determine if prescription treatment could help.

Tips for diabetics

If you are living with diabetes, here are three additional skincare tips that are especially important during winter months.

Every day look for any cuts, bumps or changes in appearance on your skin, especially on your feet. Have your doctor look at your feet at least twice a year.

Treat cuts or cracked skin right away. Wash minor cuts with soap and water. See your doctor right away if there are changes or if cuts are not healing or you begin to develop an open wound. Non-healing wounds can cause serious infections, illness and even loss of a limb if not treated in a timely manner.

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which nourish the skin. This includes fish, tofu, walnuts and flaxseed.