Weekly challenge: winterize your skin

The first sign I see that winter is setting in? The dry, cracked skin on my fingers. A combination of low humidity, low temperature, and strong Boston winds can lead to dry skin during winter months, and that necessitates a few changes to your skincare routine.

The first obvious one? Keep your skin covered as much as possible — hat, gloves, socks — when you head outdoors on frigid days to retain your skin’s moisture. Apply lip balm and a moisturizer just before heading outdoors.

Consider switching from your regular cleanser or soap, which might be too harsh for the cold drying air, to a gentle non-soap skin cleanser made for sensitive skin. Save that strong exfoliating cleanser for just once or twice a week instead of every night.

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What you don’t need to do? Switch to a heavier facial moisturizer during winter months. You may, though, want to add a pre-moisturizer serum, containing hyaluronic acid, under your moisturizer each morning which provides an extra seal to help retain the skin’s moisture.

If you’re prone to wintertime eczema, start smearing on over-the-counter remedies like hydrocortisone cream at the first sign of the rash before it flares up and becomes unbearably itchy. (Too much scratching can break the skin and lead to infections.) Make sure to shed wet clothes from sledding, shoveling, and skiing immediately after heading indoors since they can make eczema worse. And avoid long hot baths and showers, as tempting as they are on cold winter days, since they’re especially drying for skin.

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