Here’s how to stop winter from drying out your skin.

There’s a nip in the air and most of us tend to cheer as the chill sets in after a long hot summer. But the cold and dry winter can play havoc with the skin. It saps the moisture, making the skin look dry and flaky. But following a skincare regimen will help you enjoy the weather without worrying.

Dry skin is usually sensitive and, since winter tends to worsen the condition, it requires a lot of care. The best approach is to avoid using creams and lotions that contain mineral oils and other petroleum products. Instead, apply a moisturising lotion immediately after a bath to hydrate the skin while it is still damp.

Creams, lotions, moisturisers and other skincare products based on natural, organic, herbal ingredients are extremely beneficial for dry skin. They heal and protect from aging. They refresh without irritation. Toners and cleansing milks help remove daily impurities and makeup, purify and refine pores. This leaves the skin feeling clean, soft and hydrated.

Here are some tips to boost your skincare regimen so that your skin stays well nourished, hydrated, soft and radiant through the winter months.

Hot shower: A stimulating hot shower every morning is extremely important in winters as it freshens you up and maintains skin hygiene. Water temperature shouldn’t be too high, as that can dry the skin.

Oil massage: Apply a generous amount of body oil before a bath. This is an effective way to keep dryness at bay. If it is not always possible, use a non-greasy, quick absorbing oil that can be applied before bedtime.

Moisturising soap: The age-old home remedy of besan (gram flour) and choker (wheat husk) mixed in a little oil is best for cleansing and exfoliation but for those who cannot do without soap, opt for one that contains olive oil, jojoba oil and aloe vera to nourish your skin.

Hydrating face wash: Facial skin needs special care in cool dry weather. Use pH balanced, gentle, hydrating face washes, preferably with aloe vera and wheatgerm oil.

Moisturise: Choose a moisturiser that suits your age-specific skincare requirements. Get one that has the added advantage of sun protection. Essential oils of almond, wheatgerm and carrotseed along with aloe vera are exceptionally rejuvenating. Apply the moisturiser at least twice daily: after bath and before bedtime. Re-apply as often as required. Hand moisturisers must be applied each time you wash your hands because water, on evaporation, takes away the skin’s natural oils. Moisturise your nails as well as they may get brittle and dry. Use protective gloves if you need to be in prolonged contact with water.

Sunscreen: If your moisturiser doesn’t provide you with sun protection, apply a suitable sunscreen of SPF 20 or more. Most people tend to spend more time outside during winter but forget about the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. Sunscreen protects from fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and other signs of photoaging.

Lip balm: Chapping and drying of lips is very common at this time. Apply moisturising balms or lipstick to keep them supple. Look for organic products that contain natural vitamin E and fruit extracts. Avoid licking your lips as this increases dryness.

Exfoliate: Scrubbing removes accumulated grime and dead skin cells effectively. It also allows the skin to absorb extra moisture and keeps your skin soft and smooth. Exfoliate at least twice a week.

Haircare: Like the skin, your hair and scalp are also susceptible to dryness. Oil massage your hair twice a week and shampoo. Conditioning is equally important. Do not tuck in wet hair because it becomes weak and falls off on drying.

Stay hydrated: In winters, you may not feel thirsty but continue to have 8-10 glasses of water or fluids. Have warm water with lemon to detoxify your system.

Eat well: Eat a balanced, nourishing diet and take extra servings of fruits and nuts.

Sleep well: There’s nothing like 7-8 hours of relaxing sleep as it restores your energy. Sleep has no substitute, so don’t compromise.

Those who suffer from skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, seborrhea or dandruff should take especial care as these conditions tend to flare up in dry, chilly weather. Visit your dermatologist and start with your prescriptions right at the onset of the season and protect yourself from avoidable agony. Now go ahead and enjoy the cold.