Protect skin by adding moisture and nutrients to daily routine

Staying indoors to escape cold, wet weather is a good way to stay comfortable throughout the winter. However, drying indoor heat can take its toll on the skin by the time spring rolls around.

According to the American Skin Association, the low humidity that exists in most homes during the winter depletes natural oils and moisture from the stratum corneum, otherwise known as the outer layer of the skin. A similar reaction takes place during the hottest days of summer when air conditioning is blowing full blast.

But there are steps that people can take to pamper skin so that it doesn’t become itchy and taut. For instance, clothing with a rough texture will irritate dry skin and make getting through the day more difficult.

For instance, long hot baths may seem cozy and comforting while they last, but they zap the body of natural oils. Taking a short, warm shower is a better choice for better skin care.

In addition, be careful of the soaps you choose to lather up. Harsh, antibacterial soaps have their place for keeping hands clean during cooking, but in the bath, a gentle cleansing soap is best. For exfoliating, choose a soft net ball rather than rougher bath accessories. Put the loofahs on hold until warmer weather develops and the skin regains its natural moisture.

Using a moisturizing skin cream is a must each day – and several times a day, as needed – as long as the cream doesn’t contain alcohol, which is a drying agent. Be gentle working in creams to avoid rubbing the skin too hard, particularly on sensitive areas such as the skin around the eyes. Include lips in the routine by applying a medicated lip balm.

Moisten the environment
Beyond taking care of the skin directly, you can create an environment that’s healthier by running a humidifier. With moisture added to the atmosphere, the body won’t become as dry and irritated.

Drinking plenty of water keeps the skin as well as the rest of the body well hydrated during long periods indoors.

When going outdoors, the skin should be protected from the cold from top to bottom. Scarves, hats and gloves not only retain heat in the body, but they protect chapped hands and faces aggravated by cold winds.

Eating skin food
In addition to making choices about the products that take of the skin’s exterior, some attention should be paid during harsh weather to taking care of the skin from the inside out. Eating lots of foods that contain omega-3 fats helps to regulate the skin’s oil production and enhance hydration. Salmon is one of the best wrinkle busters, according to Ariel Ostad, M.D., a New York City dermatologist.

“Salmon is rich in a fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),” he told “[It’s] a type of omega-3 that naturally helps block the release of UV-induced enzymes that diminish collagen, causing lines and sagging skin.”

The dietary supplement OmegaKrill from Dr. Newton’s Naturals also provides a concentrated amount of omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant power of krill oil. It has  several benefits in addition to skincare, including heart-healthy properties that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Strawberries protect the skin both indoors and outdoors. Their high yield of antioxidants can repair damage to the skin from exposure to pollution and ultraviolet rays outdoors. Inside, vitamin C enriches the skin’s natural moisture.

For a healthy facial, Ostad said strawberries act as an external antioxidant and an exfoliant at the same time. They contain alpha-hydroxy acid, which washes away impurities without taking moisture away from the skin.