Out in the Cold

The winter months are here, and that means skin problems. Regardless of your skin type or ethnicity, the cold months always cause issues. From dry skin to flaking scalps, the possibilities for discomfort are plenty. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips that should help you through these testing times. Be sure to give these a whirl!
• The age-old remedy for chickenpox-related irritation can help. Right after a bath of milk and oatmeal, apply a generous amount of moisturiser all over your body. For particularly damaged skin, use petroleum jelly. Then, grab a humidifier and turn it up to maximum, and get a good night’s rest while your body enjoys the benefits.
• Rudolph might have a red nose, but that doesn’t mean you need to imitate him. If you’re heading outdoors during the cold months, your blood vessels will cut circulation to your nose. Returning to the warmth causes them to dilate rapidly, hence the red nose due to the rush of blood. A warm (not hot) compress applied to the nose soon after can make things less uncomfortable.
• Winter means at least one bout of the common cold, which is never a fun experience. One of the worst side effects is a raw, chafed nose, brought on by using too many tissues, especially the rough kind. Should you get hit by the sniffles, spring for the extra-soft variety. Blot instead of wiping, and apply thin layers of moisturiser throughout the day.
• Cracked heels are the bane of winter for some people. Rather than head to the salon for a pedicure, do your exfoliating at home. A pumice stone is a great tool; use it during your shower to easily remove dead or dry skin. One use per week should do the trick. And remember, don’t exfoliate without moisturising immediately afterwards. Lotion containing lactic acid can be your best friend.
• Even if you’re not in the habit of doing so, try wearing cotton socks while you sleep. Old school it might be, but keeping your feet warm at night is definitely beneficial. Since warmth causes perspiration, and moisturiser is most effective when applied to damp skin, this helps your skin absorb creams and lotions with ease.
• A scalp that flakes is quite uncomfortable and highly embarrassing. To reduce your chances of dandruff in the winter, keep your showers lukewarm and brief. Exposure to hot water can cause dryness, and the length of that exposure only makes things worse. In addition, consider using a specially formulated anti-dandruff shampoo and dry scalp conditioner in the winter months.
replenishing natural skin oils 
• Just as you’re getting ready to hop into the shower, apply a bit of oil to your scalp, preferably coconut or a type rich in vitamin E. As well as replenishing natural skin oils and giving dry hair a boost, tea tree oil is great at keeping fungal and dermatological issues at bay. Psoriasis, eczema and other skin issues can often be effectively treated by doing this.
• Problems might also stem from a collection of product, rather than because of the season. Should you feel that this is the case, give your hair a quick rinse with apple cider vinegar. This will help clear out the waste from your scalp, enabling you to enjoy maximum benefit from the ensuing shampoo.
• If lip balm doesn’t do the trick, gently exfoliate the dead skin on your lips with an unused toothbrush. When you’re done, apply lip balm containing lanolin, the natural wax found in sheep’s wool. Repeat several times per day, as lanolin does wonders to keep skin hydrated.
• For more serious cases, honey or Vaseline can be applied to the lips. Remove after 15 minutes using a cotton swab dipped in hot water. If this doesn’t help, seek medical attention, as lips can bleed easily.
Foods rich in vitamin B7 
• Your fingers and fingernails also take a beating during the winter, when they are most prone to breaks and tears. Olive oil or lanolin lotion can be applied just before you go to sleep. Remember to wear gloves, as the logic that applies to feet and socks is valid here, too.
• Foods rich in vitamin B7, which helps your body metabolise amino acids and produce fatty ones, will do you a world of good. Carrots and Swiss chard are two vegetarian examples, while animal proteins and nuts are other rich sources; oily fish is arguably the best source. This vitamin, unlike many others, can prove highly effective even as a supplement.
• Gentlemen, you may need to man up for this last tip. Ask a female friend or relative for clear nail polish, or go buy a bottle yourself. Apply a small coat if you have brittle nails that are especially susceptible to environmental damage.                         

..... Ashwin