Granted, there are many enemies of skin during the winter - dry indoor air, freezing temperatures, crisp arid outdoor air, moisture-sapping winds - you CAN prevent itchy, dry, flaky winter skin from taking hold. Here are a few tips:
1) Never use hot water when showering or bathing. It dehydrates the skin and depletes its moisture level, leaving your skin tight, dry and prone to itching. Instead, use lukewarm water and limit your shower or soaking time.
2) Eat vitamin A and C-rich foods. These potent free radical scavengers are known for their preventive and corrective benefits for environmentally-damaged skin.
3) Don't forget to care for your lips. The skin on your lips does not contain moisturizing oil glands. So, it is up to you to regularly apply a soothing chapstick or lip balm several times per day to seal in moisture and prevent chapping and flaking.
4) Keep a pair of mittens or gloves with you at all times to protect your hands, which also have minimal oil glands and are prone to winter dryness.
5) Slather on a rich hand cream several times per day to moisturize cuticles and keep hands soft and supple.
6) Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of solid sleep each night to allow the skin to renew itself. Invest in a quality humidifier for your bedroom if your house is especially dry. If your heat source is a wood or coal stove, then by all means add extra humidity to your home environment.
7) Include a hydrating, creamy mask in your skin care regimen. Try to apply this mask at least twice per week.
8) Wear quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from winter's snow glare and wind. Squinting encourages premature wrinkles.
9) Remove flaky skin by exfoliating your face and body regularly. Use a gentle facial scrub one to two times per week. For your body, I recommend using a damp loofa or sissal cloth in the shower. Or, you can use a body brush and "dry brush" your body prior to showering. Follow your bathing time with the application of your favorite, quality body oil. Apply another layer of lotion if necessary. Layering of moisturizers will really keep skin soft, moist, and supple.
10) Nourish your skin, deep down, by consuming at least 1 tablespoon of flax seed oil, cod liver oil, or extra-virgin olive oil daily. This will add the necessary fats to your diet that will encourage moisture retention in your skin and give you a healthy glow.
NOTE: The article above was sourced from the book, "Organic Body Care Recipes", by Stephanie Tourles, Storey Publishing, 2007. The information is true and complete to the best of the author's knowledge. The author disclaims all liability in connection with this information. It is for educational purposes only.