Cheap Ways to Ward Off Dry Skin This Winter

By Teal Pelish,

When winter weather renders your skin dry and scaly, resist the urge to reach for pricey creams and serums. Here are some simple winter skin care tips to get you through the season.

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Humidify Your Home. As the temperature falls, humidity tends to do the same, and the dry air leeches moisture from your skin. Indoor heat sources only make matters worse, so set the thermostat as low as you can bear. Dermatologists offering winter skin care tips online suggest using a humidifier in the rooms where you spend the most time. Consider investing in cheap humidifiers for your bedroom and your office. The best ones we found start at about $30 but will last longer than a jar of lotion.

Keeping dry skin at bay is the key.

Alternative ideas include simply placing bowls of water around your home. The water will slowly evaporate and add moisture to the air. People with notoriously dry radiator heat can place pots of water directly on their radiators. Houseplants with large leaves also up the moisture level in the surrounding environment.

Wash With Care. The body naturally produces oils to lubricate skin and prevent over-drying, and washing strips away those oils. Dermatologists advise taking only one short bath or shower per day, using mild soap. When washing your face, avoid astringents and cleansers that contain alcohol unless you have acne-prone skin. Hot water may appeal on a cold morning, but doctors suggest bathing in warm or cool water instead.

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Hands are especially vulnerable to dryness, so be sure to include them in your winter skin care routine. Try to wash with a moisturizing liquid soap and apply hand lotion after each wash to lock in moisture.

Make Your Own Moisturizer. A slew of homemade moisturizer recipes online call for ingredients you may already have in your kitchen and promise savings over store-bought creams. A writer at ReadyMade tested a recipe that combines filtered water (you could also use herbal tea or flavored water) with grated beeswax and an edible oil (e.g., olive, almond, or avocado). If that doesn't work for you, sources such as Pinterest feature many more recipes to add to your winter skin care regimen.

If you'd rather buy lotion than make it yourself, check out our guide to cheap moisturizers. A key ingredient to look for is glycerin, which locks in moisture.

Dermatologists say the best time to apply lotion is right after bathing, to hold in moisture. Pay particular attention to potential "problem areas" such as hands, feet, elbows, and knees.

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Don't Forget SPF. Sun damage can be insidious in the winter, as people who slather themselves in sunscreen all summer let their guard down when it gets cold. Protect your skin by choosing a moisturizer and lip balm with SPF. Dermatologists also suggest that bundling up is an important part of winter skin care. That means covering up exposed and sensitive areas such as your hands, so don't forget gloves. Try to wear only smooth, natural fibers against your skin and avoid fabrics such as wool that can irritate dry, itchy skin.

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