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woman washing faceThe harsh winter air can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it dry, itchy and irritated. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to combat dry skin and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all season long. Here are some tips from our friends at blackdoctor.org:

1. Invest in a humidifier. Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run the humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.

2. Lower the thermostat. When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool yet comfortable setting—68°F to 72°F—to maintain healthy skin.

3. Skip hot showers. Although it may be tempting to warm up with a long, steamy shower, hot water dries out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils. Instead, take a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands.

4. Choose cleanser wisely. The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, steer clear of regular bar soaps, since they tend to contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, start washing with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap.

5. Modify your facial skincare regimen for the season. During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. Look for products that contain little or no alcohol—unless your skin is excessively oily. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face.

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