Take Care Of Your Skin During Winter Months

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The thermostat is turned up to keep winter's chill away, but the same heat that keeps you toasty, dries out the air and, with it, your skin.

During the winter, the best thing for your skin is to moisturize.

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Esthetician Natalie Finkler puts a seaweed mask on one of her facial clients at Payson Day Spa.

Face

"Your face will show whatever you take into your body," said esthetician and massage therapist Natalie Finkler. "Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy vegetables and take your vitamins -- C is really good."

The skin is made up of layers of cells. The epidermis (the top layer) and the oil glands produce fatty substances called lipids. Lipids help keep the skin soft and supple with moisture.

When the humidity drops below 60 percent, skin begins to dry out.

Facial skin is the thinnest of all, so it requires special care on a monthly basis.

During a facial, the esthetician will analyze what type of skin you have -- dry, oily, normal or combination. She will also determine if the client has acne, rosacea, sensitive skin or if anti-aging treatments are appropriate.

Facials include exfoliation, hydration with steam, different kinds of masks, facial massage and moisturizing treatments.

The eyelid and nearby skin is the thinnest on the face and as a result is the most delicate.

It is important for a woman to take her eye makeup off with makeup remover rather than baby oil or other products.

"You do not want to leave oil around the eyelids." Finkler said. Oils can cause the skin to build up unsightly skin tags, which can only be removed by a dermatologist.

"I recommend daily use of a good cleaner, exfoliator and lotion with sunblock," Finkler said.

Sunblock for women often comes as an ingredient in lotion and makeup.

Look for SPF 30 to protect from UVA and UVB rays.

"Even when the sky is filled with clouds these rays are present," she said.

Even though men's skin is thicker and oilier because of testosterone levels, men should take care of their skin.

She recommends sunblock and moisturizers or an aftershave product with both.

Hands and feet

When it comes to taking care of dry chapped hands in winter, lotion is often not adequate.

Look for an ointment that pinpoints cracked skin, said Shelley Wayland, nail technician and salon owner.

Lotions with aloe vera moisturize and cool the skin and reduce scarring.

Shea butter is another common emollient. It helps cells regenerate in skin cracks and crevices.

"Aveeno is an awesome, over-the-counter hand lotion," Wayland said.

Hot baths, showers and frequent hand washing also leave pores hungry for moisture.

"Use a good hand cream immediately after you wash your hands," Wayland said.

Consider putting lotion on at night then wearing gloves over your hands to lock in the moisture.

Paraffin wax treatments are also nice treats for chapped hands and sore feet.

Some people might think that living in the higher snowier elevations of Arizona, rather than the desert, means that skin stays more hydrated.

But, according to Wayland, the opposite is true.

The ground gets so cold at higher elevations that moisture does not evaporate much into the air. In the desert, the morning dew puts more moisture in the air, she said.

Cracked skin around the toe nail bed is caused this time of year by feet that spend most of the day in shoes.

"If you don't take care of your feet, you are apt to get ingrown toenails," she cautioned.

For dry, cracked heels she recommends wearing an ointment -- some people swear by Vaseline, she said -- under socks to bed.

Wayland recommends a manicure every couple of weeks this time of year and pedicures every four to six weeks.

"And anytime you can use a humidifier to put moisture back in the air, that will help hydration, too," she said.

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