woman in knit cap
Photo: Taylor Boggs

You know it's winter when you're sporting windburned cheeks and chapped lips. Here are 5 ways to save your skin from winter weather.

Cover up in winter gear that doesn't irritate your skin.

The best way to protect your skin from cold, dry air? Cover up. When you go out in the elements, wear the appropriate gear in fabrics that don't irritate your skin. Some people find that wool aggravates their dry skin. If you seem extra sensitive whenever you wrap that cozy Aran scarf around your neck, perhaps try other materials instead. Wearing gloves when outdoors will also help keep your hands (and your ring finger) free from extra redness around your knuckles and cuticles.

Exfoliate gently.

Dry skin care isn't just about loading up on rich lotions. You need to gently (we really can't stress the gently enough) exfoliate first. For your lips, use a lip scrub before applying balm. Rub it in with your pinky finger to be sure you aren't applying too vigorously. For your body, use a body scrub or a loofah while in the shower. Focus on places that attract dry patches, such as your elbows, knees, and heels.

Don't forget the SPF.

Just because it is super cold outside doesn't mean that you can forgo the sunscreen. Particularly if you are going to be spending the day on the slopes or playing in the snow, make sure to use your sun protection products. Find sunscreen and lip balms with at least SPF 30.

Avoid skin irritating products and habits.

That angry little rash you have might not be dry skin. It could be a reaction to a dye or fragrance in your beauty products or laundry detergent. Our skin can often be more sensitive in the winter, so that gardenia lotion that you love in the summer, might not be your best friend right now.  Another terrible habit that most of us have is not drinking enough water. Your skin can't stay hydrated if you aren't. Also, make sure to take baths and showers that are warm, but not super hot.

Moisturize differently for specific areas.

You'll need more than one product to take care of your dry skin issues. Use rich lotions for your body, heavier balms for dry and cracked skin, and a skin type-appropriate moisturizer for your face. After you are done moisturizing your feet and hands, put on simple cotton socks and gloves for at least an hour to allow the product to really soak into your skin.