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How to Winterize Your Skin to Avoid Dry Spots,
Cracking and Other Winter Damage: 9 Natural Tips



Jack Frost does more than nip at your nose … he nips at your whole body, leaving about 81 million Americans suffering from dry, cracked skin each winter, according to the National Health Interview Survey.


Gloves, hats, and other warm clothing are your skin’s first line of defense against damaging winter weather.

Dry winter air and frigid temperatures can strip your skin of oils and water, damaging the protective outer layer. Once the protective layer is damaged, your skin can quickly become cracked, itchy and irritated. Dr. Lisa Benest, a board certified dermatologist, explains on The National Skin Care Institute’s Web site:

“The Department of Dermatology at the University of Iowa Hospital describes healthy skin as "a multi-layer cake covered by a single sheet of clear plastic food wrap to keep it fresh.

The plastic food wrap prevents the frosting and underlying layers of the cake from drying out by preventing loss (evaporation) of the water from the cake into the air. It is the moisture in the cake that gives it its freshness. The outermost layer of the skin, which acts like the plastic food wrap and is about the same thickness, is called the stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum consists of dead skin cells embedded in a mixture of natural oils (lipids) that are made by underlying living skin cells. These natural skin oils keep the water inside our body from escaping into the air and also keep irritating substances and germs from entering the body.

Both the skin oils and the dead skin cells hold a certain amount of water in the stratum corneum and it is this stratum corneum water that helps keep the skin soft, pliable and smooth."

Dry, cracked skin is not only painful, it can leave an opening for germs to enter your body. Fortunately, there are natural methods you can use to keep your skin supple and soft even in the middle of a cold, icy winter.

Natural Tips for Preventing and Soothing Dry Skin

1. Eat Plenty of Omega-3 Fats

These healthy fats help moisturize your skin from the inside out. Some healthy options rich in omega-3 fats include walnuts, wild salmon, and ground flaxseeds. You can also take an omega-3 fat supplement such as fish oil or krill oil. Foods rich in vitamin E, such as dark leafy greens, can also be hydrating to your skin.

2. Drink Lots of Water

Your body’s cells need water to stay hydrated, so keep water with you and drink it regularly -- before you get thirsty to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you're exercising (or pregnant or breastfeeding), you'll need even more fluids so drink more water. When you shower, make sure the water has been filtered to remove chlorine, which can further dry out your skin (and potentially contribute to serious health problems).

3. Use Natural, Moisturizing Soap

Alcohol-based soaps and cleansers can dry out your skin quickly. In the winter, your best bet is a rich, creamy cleanser or bar soap, which will remove dirt and bacteria while helping to add moisture to your skin.

For the cold winter months, highly recommends the handmade, natural soaps from Vermont Soap Organics. Vermont Soap utilizes all natural ingredients in their soapmaking, including glycerin, which is a natural humectant, adding more moisture to your skin. Most commercial soaps remove their glycerin, selling it as a by-product in their other higher-end lotions and creams.

Often lasting about twice as long as conventional bars, Vermont Soap Organics soap is extremely moisturizing and soothing. Your skin will drink in the conditioning, moisturizing goodness of this handcrafted soap. For the ultimate moisture, try the Butter Bar, which is their best dry skin bar.

4. Add a Humidifier to Your Bedroom or Office

Humidifiers can be a saving grace to dry skin, lips and noses during the winter heating season when moisture is scarce. However, be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the buildup of mold, bacteria and fungi.  

5. Avoid Taking Long Hot Showers and Baths

Water that's too hot can scald your skin or cause it to become dry. So resist the urge to linger in a hot bathtub. Instead, take brief showers using lukewarm water.

Soothe Winter Skin With Surgeon's Secret Moisturizing Sticks

Surgeon's Skin Secret Moisturizing Sticks are all natural and beeswax-based.

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6. Moisturize Your Skin Regularly

You should apply a heavy, natural oil-based moisturizer to your skin several times a day -- especially right after you get out of the shower or bath while your skin is still moist, to lock in moisture. It’s important to use an oil-based moisturizer as your skin requires this extra level of attention to battle the winter air. According to

“Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based, as the oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.”

The staff at SixWise especially loves the oil-based Surgeon's Secret Skin Moisturizing Sticks for soothing and preventing winter itch and dry, cracked skin.

7. Protect Your Skin With Clothing

Hats, gloves, and a scarf are essential winter accessories. The more you can protect your skin from biting wind and cold, the more moisture it will retain.

8. Give Your Sinuses Some Relief

Sinuses also suffer from dry, cold air. Dry sinuses are especially common during the fall and winter months, when the air outside is cold and dry and the air inside is hot and dry.

Combined, this can quickly lead to mild or heavy nasal crusting, and it’s possible for bacteria to linger under this crust. But before you reach for an over-the-counter or prescription drug to remedy your symptoms, you should know about an ancient secret that has been used for wellness and hygiene purposes in India for centuries -- nasal cleansing using a neti pot.

Nasal cleansing, also known as nasal irrigation, involves using a neti pot to pour a lukewarm saline solution (pure water mixed with natural salt) inside one side of your nostril while tilting your head sideways so the water runs out of your other nostril.

There are many neti pots on the market, however highly recommends Ancient Secrets Nasal Cleansing Pot. It is made from sturdy, lead-free ceramic and coated with a food-grade sealant. Its unique design also makes it very easy and effective to use, plus it’s dishwasher safe.

Ancient Secrets Neti Pot has a truly advanced design with easy-grip handle and better nozzle seal. It’s also balanced for ease of use with a concave grip for more assured control, and a better water chamber for less mess and easier cleaning.

Ancient Secrets Neti Pot is also available in a plastic travel model crafted from sturdy food-grade HDPE lead-free plastic. We highly recommend using the ceramic Neti pot at home and taking the plastic version along with you when you travel.

Right now, for a very limited time, we’re able to offer Ancient Secrets Neti Pot and Cleansing Salts at a reduced price only through December 31.

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9. Avoid Rubbing and Scratching Dry Skin

Dry skin is very sensitive to contact irritants, so rubbing or itching it will likely increase redness, irritation and itching. This includes when you get out of the shower or bath; be sure to pat yourself dry instead of rubbing. To soothe itchy skin, apply a natural moisturizer regularly.

Recommended Reading

How to Have Younger Looking Skin: 9 Key Natural Steps

From Skin Boils to Pimples to Warts to Moles: What Exactly is That Stuff on Your Skin?

Sources October 8, 2008

American Skin Association National Skin Care Institute February 6, 2007

CBS News January 3, 2006

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