09/23/2013 04:12 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2013

Winter Skin

It was frankly shocking to feel the nip in the air this morning. In addition to putting away the summer clothes and pulling out the jackets and sweaters, I also noticed that my skin was beginning to feel a bit dry and tight.

So the handwriting is on the wall. It's time to prepare my skin for the fall and winter and give up my summer skin care routine. I am going back to my winter routine, which you should also find helpful.

• The key to keeping my skin healthy during the winter months is to prevent water loss from the skin's protective barrier (which is called transepidermal water loss). When water is lost from the skin it leads to dry, itchy and irritated skin. The best way to fortify and protect our skin's moisture barrier is to use a daily lotion or cream that contains key ingredients such as ceramides, hylauronic acid or oatmeal. Apply it liberally morning and night.

• I bring my large leafy plants indoors from the patio and use them as my secret weapon during the dreary winter months. Not only do they brighten my living room and bedroom, but each time that I water the plants, the water will diffuse through the leaves and into the room, adding much needed moisture. I quickly notice that my skin is more supple and not as dry.

• During the fall and winter months the ambient humidity drops precipitously. The air becomes very dry as does my skin, which looses water to the air. Since I don't have a humidifier attached to my home heating system, I simply place a humidifier in my kitchen area and bedroom. Not only does my skin feel and look better but my hair does as well.

• Although I love, love, love long, hot showers that feel wonderful during cool fall and cold winter mornings, the hot water strips my skin of its protective natural oils. For healthy skin, I regrettably turn the temperature down to lukewarm and limit my time in the shower (yes, I have an egg timer) to five minutes.

• Many of us are accustomed to hydrating our skin with lotion after washing, but don't forget that hydration begins in the shower or bath with gentle products that cleanse and moisturize at the same time. I am making a trip to the store to stock up on these cleansers a to begin my hydrating routine right there in the shower.