Say Good-Bye To Dry

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When cold weather hits, use these ultamoisturizing tips to fight the itch..

Forget blizzard warnings: Winter should come with another weather advisory—drying conditions ahead. The main culprits are cold air, which holds less moisture than warm air, and low humidity and central heating, which make already dry air even drier. But winter and cold weather also hits harder as you get older, partly because of changes in your body over which you have little control. The result: Your skin becomes rough, flaky, and itchy and your eyes, red and irritated. It’s not just a matter of comfort or appearance. Dryness can also leave you vulnerable to a host of potentially dangerous infections and injuries (such as scratched corneas) and exacerbate existing problems (like eczema and psoriasis). These simple skin care beauty tips for soothing skin, eyes, and hair can help you survive the cold weather season.

Keep Hair Hydrated
Moisture conducts electricity, so low humidity and temperatures leave hair prone to static cling-which increases fivefold for every 10-degree drop in the mercury during cold weather, explains Yohini Appa, PhD, Senior Director, Scientific Affairs at Neutrogena Oil production in the scalp also declines with each passing decade, making frizz and flyaways more likely.

Keep it Healthy:
Shampoo every 2 or 3 days. Daily washing depletes natural oils; it also means you’re more likely to use high heat styling tools like flat irons and dryers.
Condition before you wash. Coat dry hair with a “pre-wash conditioner” or a deep conditioner that contains jojoba, lavender, shea butter, or rosemary oils for as long as an hour to trap moisture in the hair, suggests Carmine Minardi, co-owner of the Minardi Salon in New York City. (Wearing a shower cap makes it less messy; wrapping a warm towel over the cap helps the conditioner penetrate the cuticle, the hair’s outer layer.) “Do this once a week for finer hair and up to twice weekly if hair is coarse or colored with permanent dye-which is more prone to dryness.” Afterward, shampoo with a moisturizing formula and follow with a leave-in conditioner-preferably one that contains with ceramides, naturally occurring lipids that penetrate the cuticle and give strands shine and elasticity.

Pick the right brush. When styling your hair, use a boar-bristle brush; it’s less prone to static buildup than metal-, plastic-, or nylon bristles, and smoothes the cuticle with the least trauma to hair, says Minardi. Avoid styling products with alcohol. These include many gels and mousses. Better options for treating hair in cold weather: styling creams packed with emollients like panthenol, silicone, or essential oils to add shine and texture without drying out hair.

Quench Dry Skin
To stay hydrated, the skin pulls moisture out of the air—a problem in cold weather, when humidity plummets. Making matters worse, production of skin’s natural moisturizers dips with age, says Doris Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. What’s more, as skin turnover slows, the dry surface cells have a harder time sloughing off—hence the flakiness. The final insult: Some health conditions that become increasingly common as you get older (including diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorders) are associated with dryness.
Take short showers (no more than 10 minutes) and use warm water
“Hot water might feel good on a cold morning, but it strips skin of its natural oils, leaving it dehydrated and itchy,” says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, NY.

Use creamy cleansers
Opt for mild face and body washes—the milkier looking, the better. Steer clear of harsh detergents such as triclosan and ammonium lauryl sulfate; instead, check the label for gentle surfactants like sodium laureth sulfate and cocoamidopropyl betaine.

Slather on a rich moisturizer
Postshower, pat skin dry and apply an oil-based cream instead of a lighter lotion to better trap and lock moisture into skin to fight cold weather dryness. To boost absorption, warm your jar of cream in a sink of hot water while you shower.

Moisturize again before bed
Hydrating skin at least twice a day is ideal—after a morning shower or bath and then right before turning in for the night. “There’s a slight elevation in body temperature while you’re sleeping, so products seep into skin better,” says Dr Bank.

Slip into gloves and socks at night
Dampen hands and feet, slather on cream, and wear cotton gloves and socks for a few hours or to bed—they’ll block evaporation and help the cream penetrate more effectively, says Dr Day.

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