What with the bitterly cold winds when you are out and then the drying effect that your central heating at home has, its no wonder that so many people suffer with dry skin in the cold weather. For some people, winter dry skin is no more than an irritation, but for others, it can cause the skin to crack and become really sore. If you struggle with dry skin every autumn and winter, read these ten tips that will show you how to look after your skin in the cold weather.

1. Protect your hands

The skin on your hands is more prone to drying out because, not only are your hands exposed to the elements all day long, the skin on your hands is quite thin, compared to the rest of your body and it produces less natural oils. Prevention is always better than a cure, so wear gloves whenever you go out in the cold weather; its the simplest way to protect them.

2. Dont forget the sunscreen

Just because its cold out, that doesnt mean that the sun isnt shining and, on cold, clear days, the UV rays from the sun will still damage your skin if you dont protect it. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to both your hands and your face every day and top it up, if you are going to be outdoors for a long time.

3. Bathe in lukewarm water

A scolding hot bath or shower may feel great after a day outside in the cold, but it will play havoc with your skin. Very hot water breaks down the natural oily protective layer that your skin has and dries out the skin. So, bathe, shower, and wash, in lukewarm water. If your skin has become dry and itchy, add a little baking soda to your bath water for some relief.

4. Moisturise twice a day

Your skin will need more moisture in the cold weather, so moisturise every morning, every night, and after a bath or shower and every time you wash your hands. Dont wait until you have dry skin, start your extra moisturising as soon as the cold weather closes in. Coconut oil is very good for this purpose. If you keep the moisture in your skin topped up all the time, your skin wont dry out in the first place.

5. Keep yourself well hydrated from the inside

When it is cold, we tend to drink less and, when we do drink, we usually drink hot beverages like tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Your need for water, though, is no less in the winter than it is in the summer, so keep up with the good water drinking habits you developed in the summer and that will keep your skin hydrated from the inside. If you dont feel like drinking cold water, try some warm water with some honey and lemon instead.

6. Exfoliate

Its easy to forget exfoliating in the winter because you spend most of the time covered up, but not exfoliating can actually make a dry skin problem worse. If you let the dead skin cells build up, they can attract and hold water, which will then cause irritation and even more drying out of the skin. Exfoliate your hands, lips and face regularly during the cold weather and it will help keep your skin looking healthy and it will allow your moisturiser to soak in better.

7. Use a humidifier

Central heating dries all the moisture out of the air and that, in turn, will dry out your skin. Use a humidifier in your home, especially in your bedroom. It will replace some of that lost moisture in the air and prevent your skin drying out. The best thing to do is several humidifiers, one in each room that you spend the most time in.