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During these bitter cold winter months, hydration is more important than ever. The reason being that the ambient air outside is much drier than in warmer weather. Unfortunately, the arid, arctic air takes a toll on your skin. Red, chapped, inflamed, and flaking skin are the regrettable reality of neglect and simply accepting winter is brutal assault on your epidermis. But fear not! There are simple and inexpensive remedies that will work wonders.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Moisturizing is the topical approach to hydrate the skin. The hands are the best place to begin, because as extremities suffer not only from a high degree of exposure to the elements, but also are susceptible to poor circulation, which can worsen dryness. A good moisturizer will include natural oils, such as Jojoba, argan, olive, or almond oil, but not mineral oil, which is a petroleum product, meaning it comes from the same stuff that you fill your gas tank with.
Because your skin will absorb what you put on it, it is so important to treat your skin with only lotions and potions that will not have a toxic effect on your body. You may have heard the saying before, but it is worth repeating again: if you can’t eat it or drink it, don’t put it on your skin. Also, if possible, use only fragrance-free lotions. If you simply must have a scented moisturizer, choose one that does not include the ingredient “fragrance” or “perfume” or “parfum,” but rather includes natural, essential oils as the aroma base (e.g., jasmine, lavender, geranium, rose, lemon, sandalwood, etc.) The reason this matters is that even if the ingredient listing says “fragrance,” that means for a fact, that there are chemicals, called phthalates used to make that fragrance. And that sucks.
Moisturizing, like anything else (cleaning your house, walking your dog, or making a great meal), must be done more than once to really work. It is an essential part of your skincare routine, and simply moisturizing once daily is utterly insufficient. Try moisturizing before you start the day, after lunch, mid afternoon, after dinner, and before you go to bed. I know, I know, that sounds extreme, but you get what you give, and once you make it a habit, moisturizing multiple times a day should come as easily as drinking a nice tall glass of water.