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Winter Skin Care

        The time of the year, when the temperatures drop, and everyone bundles up, we sometimes forget that changes in climate can have a profound effect on our skin. More than just chapped lips and wind-burned cheeks, the various aspects of our living in the Winter can make for some real problems with our skin. And there are some things that most of us do (or donít do) without realizing the harm we could be doing to our skin.
 
        Here are some helpful tips for winter skin care, and all year long, to help you keep your skin looking its very best:
 
Dry, Chapped Lips
 
        One of the most common problems women (and men) report in winter is chapped and cracked lips. The skin of the lips is very thin and sensitive and can easily be leeched of moisture by changes in temperature and humidity as we go from the cold outdoors to the heat of indoors. Therefore, we need to protect them BEFORE they become damaged. Make it a habit to use a lip balm before going outside. You can apply it as a base coat under your lip color, or alone to protect your lips and give a soft gloss. The type of balm you choose is up to you, but if you choose a waxy, stick-type balm, be sure to soften it, by rubbing the tube between your palms for a few moments. This will make the balm apply more smoothly and give better coverage.
 
        If your lips are already cracked or chapped, get them moisturized as quickly as possible. And itís important to avoid licking them. Licking the lips will remove any protective balm youíve applied and the saliva produced by the mouth evaporates faster than even water (in spite of the fact that it feels thicker) which makes the problem worse.
 
Dry, Itchy Skin
 
        Another complaint common in the winter is the increase in dryness and itchiness of the skin. This is caused by the same temperature and humidity changes that result in chapped lips. And again, the solution is protection. A good protective lotion or moisturizer will help keep your skin hydrated, and will soothe any skin that is already dry and itchy.
 
        Some people miss one of the warning signs of drying skin in winter: before the itch or dryness sets in, most people experience a feeling of tightness after coming into a heated location from the cold. That tightness means that the moisture in the surface layers of the skin is being evaporated, and should be your cue to get some moisturizer and protect your skin before it gets any worse.
 
Sweating
 
        While this isnít an issue restricted to just one season, it is often overlooked in the winter because most people associate sweating heavily with being hot, and summer activities. The truth is, because we spend so much time in the winter bundled up against the cold to contain and preserve body heat, many people sweat just as much in the winter months as they do in warmer weather. This is especially true of people who engage in physical activity outdoors during the winter: chopping wood, shoveling snow, etc.
 
        This perspiration can result in losing as much as 2 liters of water an hour. It is important to keep yourself properly hydrated especially in winter, as often you donít realize that youíre losing the water. Keeping properly hydrated can help combat the dry skin and chapped lips associated with winter as well as helping you stay warmer. Keeping fluid levels up keeps your blood flowing freely and helps distribute your body heat better.
 
        Remember to take your body weight and divide by 16 to determine the number of 8-ounce glasses of water you need per day normally. Add 2 glasses to this number on any day where you perform strenuous activity or exercise. Your body will thank you for it.
 
The Things We Do:
 
        There are many things we may do to our skin that can cause problems or irritation. These are just a few helpful hints that will make our skin happier:
 
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