Help for Winter Skin
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Help for Winter Skin

From feet to face, our guide to the best ways to protect and beautify your winter skin.

Look Pretty

The weather outside may be frightful -- and the overheated air inside not so delightful -- but that's no excuse for tolerating dry, flaky skin. The cure, of course, is to use moisturizer; skipping it can cause the outer layer of your skin to crack and flake. "It's essential to hydrate your skin more during the winter," says Dr. Jeanine Downie, a Montclair, New Jersey-based dermatologist and author of Beautiful Skin of Color (Regan, 2004). "Do it at least once a day -- twice a day if your skin is extra dry." And it's not just arms and legs that need special care during cold months; we've identified the four most important areas needing a little extra attention when the temperature plunges.

Face It!

Finding the perfect winter facial moisturizer can be tricky: Too light leaves your skin parched, too heavy can cause breakouts. If your skin is extra dry, it helps to use a moisturizing cleanser, followed by an emollient or oil-based cream. Those with oilier complexions should look for oil-free formulas, which are still designed to hydrate the skin without clogging pores

Our Picks

  • Purpose Bar Soap, $3.49. Especially good for very sensitive or dry skin, this classic product is beloved by dermatologists for its non-drying and non-irritating properties.
  • Comfort Zone Hydramemory Fluid 24h, $54. Thanks to hyaluronic acid, this product promises to keep your skin quenched for 24 hours. Plus, it's ideal for all complexions.

Lovely Lips

Licking your lips isn't an effective moisturizing technique! Because they retain less moisture than other parts of your body, lips dry out more easily, making them particularly sensitive to the elements. Be faithful about using lip balm and make sure than in addition to moisturizing ingredients, it also contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E or green tea extract, to protect even more against the wind and cold.

Our Picks

  • Eau Thermale Avene Lip Balm with Cold Cream, $9. This stick contains paraffin, beeswax, and vitamin E to seal in moisture and nourish even the most chapped lips.
  • Jason Lips Bee Better, $2.75. Packaged in a cute tin, this creamy balm is full of green tea extract, plus shea butter and macadamia nut oil for mega-softness.

Feel Healthy

Body Beautiful

The drier your skin, the thicker the moisturizer you need. A lotion containing glycerin or mineral oil is enough for most people; look for a cream packed with humectants (such as lactic acid) if you're extra dehydrated. Apply to damp skin following a bath or shower and rub in 90 percent of the way, letting the rest sink in to seal moisture most efficiently.

Our Picks

  • Nivea Soft Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Creme, $5.99. A quick-drying, superhydrating creme (only available overseas until now) that leaves skin soft and smooth all day.
  • Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Foaming Bath, $5.99. With oatmeal to relieve severe dryness, this can be used as both a bath and shower gel.

Pretty Hands and Feet

Owing to repeated washing, hands are especially vulnerable to abuse this time of the year. Keep a tube of hand cream on your desk or in your purse and use liberally. And since twice-weekly pedicures aren't an option (unless you're a celebrity!), make sure to apply an exfoliating glycolic-acid based foot cream every few days, either after showering or before going to bed.

Our Picks

  • Philosophy Soul Owner Exfoliating Foot Cream, $14. This lush cream is full of sloughing glycolic and salicylic acids, plus refreshing eucalyptus and moisturizing lavender oils.
  • Dermalogica Multivitamin Hand and Nail treatment with SPF15, $6.50. This non-greasy formula contains sunscreen and vitamin E to protect against sun damage, and provitamin B5 to help prevent nails from peeling.