The crisp winter months are upon us, bringing cold weather and dry skin.

While every brand seems to have some advertised solution, here are the tips, tricks and treatments I have found to be effective. I learned many of these during my years of working in dermatology; some knowledge was gathered and applied through various health and nutrition courses; and some are remedies I practice and modify to repair my own very dry and very sensitive skin. Hope they help!

woman washing hair

Shower with lukewarm water only.  Not hot. Hot water will dry your skin out more than anything, and the daily ritual equals true abuse for our skin.

90% of our bodies do not need soap to get clean.  Use soap on your “smelly parts,” and just let the suds and water run over the rest of your body.  Trust me, you’ll still get clean!  Ideally, even for your smelly parts, use a “non-soap” cleanser.  Most soaps strip the skins of its natural oils, which are necessary to keep our skin moist and healthy.

woman wet hair

When you finish in the shower or bath, don’t rush to dry off.  Let your skin absorb some of the water.  Try lightly rubbing it into your skin like a lotion.

After letting your skin absorb some of the water, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel.  Don’t rub, just pat.

After bathing several times a day, use a gentle cream.  Stray from standard lotions.  Lotions generally have higher amounts of alcohol in them, and alcohol dries your skin.  Look for products with more water, mineral oil, glycerin, and “natural” skin treatments like aloe, oatmeal, and shea butter.

woman putting lotion on her knee

For really dry areas, and those that tend to crack and hurt, use more intensive, overnight treatments.  Hands and feet take a beating with exposure to the elements, chemicals, cleansers, etc. But, they will recover quickly with the right approach.  Curel has some great products (in my opinion), or try simple Vaseline.  My favorite happens to be the Lanolin products I used while breastfeeding.  Apply generous amounts of whichever, then cover with gloves or socks (socks work great for hands or feet).  You’ll be amazed at the difference a night or two of this will make!

Drink plenty of water.  It is essential to hydrate your skin from the inside out.

Make sure you are taking in enough healthy fats and oils.  Our bodies and skin need them!

woman dressed for winter

Protect your skin from the elements.  Sunscreen is a must, along with appropriate clothing to protect your skin from the elements.  These may include warm clothes, wind breakers, or simply any barrier from the weather.

And, finally, the most important recommendation: stay fit and active.  A healthy body will increase the chance of your skin being healthy.  Increased circulation works wonders for helping the body keep itself healthy, and that includes the skin.

A great general rule to follow: Take good care of your skin to feel and look better!

Share your best tips here, too!