Let's face it: winter can wreak havoc on our skin. Not only can the season leave us dry and chapped (which can be pretty painful), but the wind, low-humidity and intense indoor heat can also make our complexions appear dull (and who doesn't prefer to be radiant year-round?).
That's why dermatologist and "Forget the Facelift" author Dr. Doris Day stopped by HuffPost Live to share her top skincare secrets to keep our skin soft and smooth from head to toe.
1. Limit Time In The Tub
While a long, hot bath or shower may seem super appealing after braving the cold, it might not be the best thing for your skin. "You don't want to wash away the protective oils which help lock moisture in," says Day. So get clean quickly (we're talking 15 minutes or less) and opt for warm water when you can stand it.
2. Use A Mild Soap Or Cleanser
'Tis the season to be gentle! Now is not the time for antibacterial soaps or harsh deodorants that strip away natural moisturizers. Stay away from cleansers with strong ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or glycolic acid and reach for those with added oils and fats instead.
Day points out that you don't have to spend an arm and a leg for anything fancy either because drugstore products like Olay and Dove are great options for any budget. No matter which cleanser you choose, you won't want to overdo it: Add the soap to a puff or Clarisonic brush and you'll be able to use less plus get a deep cleansing.
3. Give Yourself A Pat Down
After you've scrubbed, Day advises against drying yourself off completely to hold on to precious hydration. Instead of rubbing your skin with a towel, pat or blot your body so that a light layer of water remains.
4. Moisturize Twice A Day
It's most important to apply lotion after a shower or bath. Whether your second time to slather it on is morning or night, you'll be more likely to reapply if you store a bottle by your bedside. And when it comes to what's in the bottle, Day swears by products like AmLactin because the prescription-strength brand contains both lactic acid and humectants, which remove dead skin cells and pull water inside. Despite the double dose, the cream isn't thick or greasy, so you won't have to worry about ruining your clothes or sheets. (For non-petroleum moisturizers, click here.)
5. Pay Extra Attention Below The Knees
Certainly the face, hands, elbows and heels deserve special treatment, but don't forget to moisturize the rest of your body. Day notes that the skin below your knees actually has less oil glands than other parts (which is why legs can get especially itchy during the winter months), so be sure to hydrate your lower half, too.
6. Supplement (Or Completely Scrap) Hand Sanitizers
Day isn't a big fan of hand sanitizers. First, they're very drying, so she recommends following up with hand cream if you must use them. One reason to reconsider before you go for your next pump: The FDA is starting to question the efficacy of antibacterial products compared to plain old soap and water.
Regardless of how you're disinfecting, you don't want to do it too frequently -- even during flu season. Day explains that our skin was designed to handle bacteria and infection (it has its own natural defense system, which is better than anything money can buy), so constantly cleansing could be doing more harm than good. Definitely head to the sink before eating or after a trip to the restroom, but don't go crazy or it could be a disservice. If you really want to prevent getting sick, the key is to keep your hands away from your face.
7. Invest In A Humidifier
To combat the effects of Mother Nature's elements and man's manufactured heat, a humidifier can do wonders. If you turn one on in your bedroom while you catch your zzzs, your skin will be more moisturized and you'll be able to breathe easier as well. Bionaire has several models that won't break the bank, but believe it or not, Day suggests you can also try a DIY version: Fill a soup pot with water and leave it on the radiator overnight.
As if we at HuffPost could praise the benefits of sleep any more, Day agrees that getting a full eight hours is a dream come true for your skin. From condition to tone, well-rested skin is more beautiful-looking skin.
9. Load Up On H2O
By hydrating from the inside, your skin will be plumper and firmer and repair itself better, so drink up! Down several glasses a day, and for optimal results, Day stresses moisturizing often as well - the hyaluronic acid in your skin and in your lotion will help hold water, leaving your skin elastic and vibrant.
10. Eat Right
As the old saying goes, "You are what you eat." And Day says foods with essential fatty acids like avocado and antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranate and pumpkin give your skin increased protection, immunity and resistance to the elements. A nutritious diet = healthier skin.
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More winter skin solutions:
"The best way to fix and protect winter skin is to seal it and heal it," Krant says. "Yes, I just made that up." That means choosing a moisturizer that locks in moisture and provides some protection of the dermis to encourage healing, but still lets the skin breathe. Krant recommends choosing a thick, fragrance-free cream instead of a lotion, which can be watery, and putting it on after every shower. Dr. Bobby Buka, a dermatologist in practice in New York City, also encourages a thick moisturizer. "I like non-petroleum based moisturizers," Buka told HuffPost Healthy Living. "Naturalists should like this too! Ceramides are naturally occurring moisturizers found in many emollients nowadays."
Your perfume can irritate your skin and, thanks to its alcohol content, can interfere with your skin's ability to maintain moisture levels. "Avoid fragrance, as this can cause mild irritation that further compromises barrier function against drying elements," Buka says.
Shortening your shower time and cooling the temperature of the water won't feel so great in the moment, when you'd like a little steam heat in your life, but your skin will thank you later. Hot, long showers strip our skin of its natural moisturizing oils, according to Krant. And Buka recommends bathing no more than once a day.
"Drink more water each day than you expect to really need," advises Krant. That will help replenish the water you're losing, thanks to windy, cold weather and overheated houses.
"Coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil applied topically are great," says Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald, HuffPost Healthy Living's Wellness Editor, who credits these nourishing, food-grade oils with helping many of her patients.
Fitzgerald recommends eating fish oil supplements or another source of heart-healthy omega-3s. That may be because a component of omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid -- or EPA -- is thought to help regulate the skin's oil production, reports Discovery Health.
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