You know the drill: Cold weather brings dry, cracked skin, thanks to low levels of humidity, says Amy Derick, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University. Moisturize (obviously) and try these five unexpected tips:
1. Eat To Prevent It. Research suggests that women who eat more linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid found in foods like walnuts and sunflower seeds, are less likely to have dry skin. (Check out the 25 best foods for your skin.)
2. Cool Down. “Capillaries expand in heat, letting moisture escape,” says Derick. Stick with lukewarm bathing sessions capped at 10 minutes, and shut the bathroom door to seal hydrating water vapor in.
3. Switch Exfoliators. Harsh scrubs are out. Gentle chemical exfoliants like lactic acid, found in Curél Rough Skin Rescue ($8, curel.com), remove flakes that keep hydration from sinking in.
4. Steer Clear Of Scent. Ditch fragrance in your soap, body wash, laundry detergent, and fabric softeners, which can linger on your skin and exacerbate the problem.
5. Don’t Limit Yourself To Creams. You have options aplenty. Spray lotions like Kiss My Face Air Kiss 2 in 1 Light Moisturizing Lotions ($10, amazon.com) are ultraemollient yet absorb in seconds. And a study in the International Journal of Dermatology found that applying simple virgin coconut oil decreased topical water loss in people with extremely dry skin.