Columnist provides winter skin care advice

By Bryce Romig

Dry air and frigid temperatures: The perfect recipe for sore, cracked skin. The winter season is notorious when it comes to skin problems. From bright red hands to chapped lips, the cold air affects everyone’s skin.

Here are some skincare steps you can take to help combat the cold the rest of the winter season:

Tip #1: Hydrate

There’s nothing complicated behind staying hydrated.  When the body is dehydrated, skin loses vital moisture that is essential to keeping your skin healthy. Although it may sound gross, drink enough water so that your urine is a yellowish to clear color. This means that you are well hydrated and are drinking enough. If you find it difficult drinking water, try making some green or peppermint tea. These teas are known to help keep your skin looking its best thanks to the natural antioxidants they posses. Although you may not notice immediate results, in about a week you’ll be glad you chugged tons of water.

Fact: Not only does water help combat dry skin and chapped lips, it also helps aid in ridding acne and keeping your skin clear. Drink up!

Tip #2: Lock in Moisture

When you take a step outside and a blast of cold air attacks your skin, it depletes the natural moisture your skin has produced. Sometimes your skin needs a little help, and it is important that you notice when it does. To create a guard against the cold, try an extra moisturizing lotion. This will help create a barrier between your skin and the air, locking moisture into your skin.  Avoid using lotions with fragrances when trying to fix dry skin, as these are known to aggravate already dry skin. Before going to bed, try filling a glove with your favorite lotion and leaving it on until you wake up. You will be amazed at how much softer your hands will feel, and will smile when you notice the redness has disappeared.

“I found a recipe on pinterest for grapefruit lotion. It contained sea salt, sugar, olive oil, and grapefruit. It worked really well,” said junior Emily Shumate.

Fact: Your skin has a natural barrier consisting of cells and protein fibers. Lotion can help repair and strengthen this barrier, resulting in stronger skin.

Tip #3 Save those lips

It’s no surprise that no one likes kissing dry, chapped lips. When the temperatures drop, our lips sometimes need an extra boost of moisture to keep them looking and feeling their best. When in the shower, try using a lip exfoliation scrub to help rid of the dead skin cells sitting on your lips. This creates a smooth and even base for your favorite chap stick, allowing it to retain moisturize better and keep your lips looking their best.  Apply chap stick no more than twice a day, because your lips may become worse if overused.

Fact: If you want to avoid spending money on a lip scrub, try using a toothbrush to lightly scrub your lips while brushing your teeth. This is a quick home remedy to help rid of dead skin cells that pile up on your lips.

Tip #4: Avoid the extremely hot showers

Hot showers are relaxing and can make you feel as though you are at a spa; however they aren’t so great for your skin. Although it may seem counterproductive taking cold showers, the heat in the water can actually break down the lipid barriers in your skin, causing your skin to dry and peel. Instead of taking extremely hot showers, try gradually lowering the temperature each time you take a shower. This does not mean you have to take cold showers, although it is recommended by many dermatologists due to cold water’s ability to close your pores and soothe redness. Try making the water’s temperature as close to room temperature as possible, neither extremely hot nor extremely cold. Your skin will thank you.

Fact: Cold showers help aid in reducing the appearance of acne scars and can even prevent future breakouts. When washing your face, try splashing your face with chilly water after you have wiped off the cleanser. This closes your pores, and reduces bags under your eyes.

Tip #5: Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate!

Full body exfoliation is important all times of the year, especially in winter. When you exfoliate, you are gently removing any build up of dead skin cells. Although most dead skin cells fall off thanks to your skins natural shedding cycle, some stick to the skin and build up over time. These clumps of dead skin cells dry skin out even further, and give your skin a scaly appearance. Use a loofah or exfoliating body wash to gently rub all over your body one to two times a week. Avoid over exfoliation by picking one day of the week to exfoliate your full body and stick to it. Over exfoliating can cause your skin to become weak, red, and unbelievably sore.

“I also created a grapefruit sugar scrub. It worked so well and made my skin really soft afterwards,” said Shumate.

Fact: When you exfoliate, you are removing parts of the skins outer layer. Put on your favorite lotion as soon as you are done exfoliating to obtain gleaming, soft skin.

Following these tips can help get you on the path to great looking skin in the winter months. Although it may seem like a lot of work at first, you will be glad when your skin is healthier than it has ever been before.

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