Dry Facial Skin in the Winter

Don't let your skin get thirsty this winter -- stay hydrated.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Everything gets dry in the winter: Leaves crinkle up and disintegrate, the air loses moisture and your poor skin feels less like moist creamy velvet and more like a rough paper sack. A dry winter face can really suck the fun out of the season, but you don't have to needlessly suffer through those cold months with a whacked out epidermis. In winter, your face just needs a little extra love and attention.

Why Winter Skin's So Dry

So why exactly does your face morph into crocodile skin in the winter? The short answer: Winter is a dry season, and dry weather stresses out your skin. Marina Valmy, the director of Christine Valmy Skincare, tells "Teen Vogue" that winter's lack of moisture causes your skin to not shed normally. Your skin dehydrates, and dead skin cells build up on your face and don't shed off. Essentially, this means in winter you're walking around with clumps of dead and parched skin flakes stuck to your face. Obviously, this doesn't exactly make for a glowing complexion.

Exfoliating

Your first step to beating wintertime dryness is to scrape all that dead, dry gunk off your face and unleash the fresh layer of skin underneath. A regular old face scrubbing with cleanser won't cut it, though: you need something grittier, aka an exfoliant. Sloughing off all that dry winter face buildup through exfoliation actually causes cell renewal, which means you'll get a brand new batch of hydrated skin cells in place of those dried up and expired cells that have been hanging out. Use a gentle enzyme-based exfoliant once a week -- that way, you'll get the scraping action you need without totally freaking out an already freaked-out face.

Getting Moisture Back

Since winter weather deprives your face of moisture, you need to lotion up your skin to keep it from getting thirsty. You may think that thick, heavy moisturizing creams are the way to go to get an extra dose of hydration, but super-thick and concentrated creams can actually suffocate your epidermis and trap dead skin cells. Instead of just slathering on the thickest goop you can find, think layering instead. Slide on a layer of antioxidant serum to increase absorption and boost moisture, then put a moisturizing cream on top of that. Let sunscreen be the cherry on top -- just because it's winter doesn't mean those drying and damaging UV rays took a vacation.

Dry Skin Tips

Certain wintertime habits can also lead to a dried out epidermis. Cranking up the heat indoors dries out the air, which in turn dries out your face -- but that doesn't mean you have to live without heat to avoid dry skin. To moisten up your indoor air, use a humidifier at night to pump moisture into the room while you sleep. And scale back your hot showers. Super hot water may beat back the winter chills, but it's also totally drying to the skin. Last tip: in between hot chocolates and hot toddies, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated internally.

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