5 Tips To Prevent Dry, Scaly, Alligator Skin This Winter

Well, here it comes. The onslaught of dry, itchy, flaky winter skin is upon us all. By mid-winter, it seems like no matter how hard I’ve tried to keep up with a reasonable skincare routine, my foot skin is scabbing off in clumps, leaving a trail of dead skin in my wake. It’s as disgusting as it sounds. We don’t even need to get into what my legs look like. Scaly skin combined with three-month leg hair growth is not exactly appetizing, trust.

Keeping dry skin at bay can be a serious challenge during the harsh, dry winter months, with heaters sucking all the moisture out of the air and, consequently, your skin. And it’s not just your face that suffers, it’s your whole body that can become a flaky, itchy mess if you aren’t proactive and keep yourself in tip top shape. Slathering yourself in moisturizers, while beneficial, is just not enough when the dry winds of winter are raging. Below is a little list of things that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful when I’m working on my winter skin game.

1. Drink a shit ton of water.

I know, don’t hate me, everyone says this constantly but there’s a reason for that! Not only will staying hydrated keep you from, you know, dying, but it will hydrate your skin from the inside out and increase your “natural glow.” I’ve found that having a reusable bottle on me at all times helps to remind me that I need to drink it often. I like to pop a Binchotan charcoal stick in my water for some natural filtration.

2. Get a humidifier.

Yup, I’m one of those dorks that sleeps with a humidifier on next to my bed. And you know what? My skin looks awesome. Your radiator is sucking the life out of your skin and stripping your body of all it’s hydration. A humidifier replenishes that moisture into the atmosphere of your bedroom so you wake up with balanced, hydrated skin. It also does wonders for my allergies. I can’t believe what a huge difference it makes when I remember to use it. When I forget to refill it, I wake up completely congested with a hacking cough. It’s gnarly.

3. Have plants. I love houseplants.

I have a really tiny apartment that I keep decorated pretty sparsely to prevent it from feeling like the walls are coming in on me, so my plants act as my primary home decor. They also add natural moisture and improve the air quality in my apartment, which in turn helps keep my skin healthy.  Did you know that most indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air? Terrifying. Plants can help purify the air, and they’re pretty!

4. Use natural oils instead of lotions.

While there are a ton of amazing moisturizers out there these days, I like to swap over to using body and facial oils in the winter for maximum hydrating benefits. Oils like rosehip seed, jojoba, coconut, camellia, and tea tree are not only so good for your skin, but they’re cheap if you buy and blend them yourself! Of course there are plenty of oils blends for sale that you can pick up as well. Oils penetrate deeper into your skin than traditional lotions, so not only are you getting awesome anti-aging benefits from them, but you are getting a higher level of hydration as well. Also, lots of lotions contain alcohol which can actually strip your skin of it’s natural oils and dry them out, in order to create a dependency on them. It’s why I had to stop using Vaseline, too. The petroleum in it is actually really drying in the long run. Oils, it’s all about oils.

5. Eat water-rich foods.

In the same vein as drinking lots of water, you can eat it as well. Cucumbers, celery, radishes, mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, grapefruit, carrots, pears, apples, and avocados are just a few of the goodies that have a high water content and will keep you stay hydrated.

6. Misting Toner.

Giving yourself a spritz of toner before you apply your moisturizer or makeup will actually help keep your skin hydrated even long after you’ve used it. You know how after you wash and dry your face it can feel a bit tight, or too “squeaky clean?” That means that you’re cleanser has stripped your skin of it’s natural oils and if you apply makeup or moisturizer to it at that point, your skin won’t absorb it as well. If you spray yourself to replenish that moisture before you begin your skincare regime, everything will be absorbed much more effectively. Trust me, it’s science.

Lourdes is a freelance beauty and culture writer whose best friend is her dog, Maeby. She likes fancy cheeses, fancy candles, and houseplants. Please approach her slowly, she’s very jumpy. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website, Light In The Heart.