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HC’s Guide to Beautiful Winter Skin

Winter weather is a drag, especially on your skin. Between the dry air, the cold wind, and the minimal sunlight, your skin is parched, itchy, and just plain washed out. But don’t worry, there is a solution: check out HC’s guide to great-looking winter skin and be flake-free in no time.

The Problem: Your lips are dry, cracked, and chapped.

Why it Happens: Cold weather means dry air, and when the air is dry, it’s much harder for your lips to keep in moisture. “Without proper care, lips get no relief the entire cold-weather season, because you have the excessively low humidity indoors in heated homes, while outdoors it is cold and windy,” explains Dr. Erin Welch, a dermatologist at Dermatology Consultants.

The Bad Habit: While licking your lips seems to give you temporary relief from the burning and stinging of chapped lips, it’s actually making things worse. “While you may think the moisture will be helpful, saliva does not actually moisturize, and its evaporation actually dries out lips even more,” says Dr. Welch.

The Fix: Start by exfoliating your lips to get rid of the dry, dead skin cells. Mix a few tablespoons of Epsom Salt with a little bit of petroleum jelly and gently rub the mixture on your lips. Once your lips are smooth, protect your pout with a lip balm with a high SPF.

More Products to De-Flake Your Pout:

  • Twist & Pout Lip Balm SPF 20, $9.50 at Dillards
  • Soft Lips Organic Lip Balm, $3.69 at Drugstore.com
  • Burt’s Bees Replenishing Lip Balm $3.00 at BurtsBees.com

The Problem: Your feet are dry, calloused, and flaky.

Why it Happens: Winter air equals dehydrated skin, and when your feet are tucked away in heavy socks and boots all winter, the dry, dead skin can’t shed off.

The Bad Habit: Since no one sees your feet in the winter, people get into the bad habit of only taking care of their feet during flip-flop season. When they finally feel how dry their feet are, they cover their feet with moisturizer without exfoliating first. “Nothing penetrates well if your skin is clogged and needs a good removal of dead skin,” says licensed esthetician Karen Moehr.

The Fix: Start by exfoliating! Mix one cup of Epsom Salt with petroleum jelly and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Scrub the mixture on the bottom of your feet, rinse with lukewarm water, and gently pat dry. Then, treat your feet with an intensive healing foot cream.

Other Ways to Soothe Your Feet:

  • Profoot’s Heal Rescue Foot Cream, $9.99 at Walgreens
  • Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream, $9.00 at BurtsBees.com
  • Dr. Scholl’s for Her Overnight Foot Cream, $6.99 at drugstore.com

The Problem: The skin on your arms, legs, and torso is dry, itchy, and cracked.

Why it Happens: Cold air sucks any moisture out of your skin, and we often forget that we are exposing parts of our largest organ to the harsh elements. Instead of covering up delicate areas like our face, hands, and neck, we subject them to the freezing air and develop chapped skin and windburn.

The Bad Habit: Taking long hot showers. While it seems to make sense that water would hydrate your skin, it only actually helps when you’re drinking it. “Too much H2O exposure from the outside breaks down your skin’s natural moisturizing factor, leaving it more brittle and less able to hold onto water that’s under the surface than before a shower or bath,” says Marcia Kilgore, creator of Soap & Glory.

The Fix: Cut down on your shower time, and turn down the temperature of the water. Use a moisturizing soap while in the shower, and exfoliate your body with the same Epsom salt mixture you used on your feet when you get out. Moisturize your skin while it’s still damp, and use a rich, thick moisturizing butter to help keep the water in.

More Fixes:

  • Soap & Glory’s Some Like it Hot, $9.99 at Target
  • Palmer’s Coco Butter Formula Soap, $3.29 at Walgreens
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $8.94 at Target
  • Soap & Glory’s the Daily Smooth, $14.99 at Target
  • Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion, $13.49 at CVS
  • Vaseline Cocoa Butter, $8.88 at Walmart

Other Tips & Tricks:

  • Eat your vegetables! “Pamper your skin with a diet rich in antioxidants which help squelch free radicals,” says Dr. Peggy Fuller, a dermatologist at Esthetics Center for Dermatology. Free radicals are bad news for your skin, as they cause premature aging and tissue damage. “Eat rich and leafy dark greens, orange, red, and yellow vegetables.”
  • Keep moisturizers and lip balms all around your house and work so you’re never suffering from itchy skin. I keep lip balm and mini hand cream tubes stashed around my house so I’m never far from a dose,” says Moehr. “I have them in my bedroom, bathroom, desk, living room, workout room, and spare bathroom.”
  • If you feel like your skin is looking washed out, brighten it up with a bronzer. “One of my winter must-haves is bronzer – it brightens and brings life back to dull skin, but it must look natural,” says Gina Pieper, the artistic director at Empire Beauty Schools.
  • Use Mustela’s Hydra-Stick to spot-moisturize trouble spots on your face.

Dr. Peggy Fuller, dermatologist at Esthetics Center for Dermatology
Gina Pieper, artistic director at Empire Beauty School
Karen Moehr, licensed esthetician Marcia Kilgore, creator of Soap & Glory
Dr. Erin Welch, dermatologist at Dermatology Consultants

Nancy Mucciarone is a senior at Syracuse University, majoring in magazine journalism and minoring in psychology. Along with writing for HerCampus, she is the fashion and beauty editor of Equal Time magazine, a freelance writer for Studio One Networks, as well as the public relations vice president for Alpha Xi Delta. She is the former web editor for College magazine, and this past summer, she was loving life in New York City as she participated in the Condé Nast Summer Intern Program as an editorial intern at Footwear News. When she's not making detailed to-do lists or perfecting the grilled cheese sandwich, you can usually find her watching Animal Planet or trying to curb her Milk Dud addiction. She aspires to one day be the bachelorette.
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