Caring For Your 'Alligator' Skin

Published on: 2/5/2014

Feeling scaly? Dry, irritated skin is common during winter, the result of lower outdoor humidity and dry heat indoors. But healthy skin all winter long doesn’t have to be an unreachable dream. Here are a few quick tips to relieve and prevent ‘winter skin’.

  • Use a humidifier to replace moisture in your home. Don’t have a humidifier? Place a few pans of water near heating vents and refill as needed. Houseplants can also help humidify the air.
  • Unless you have oily, problem skin, try switching to a heavier, oil-based moisturizer (avoid using on areas of the body that tend to get hot and sweaty). Many people love to use pure coconut oil on skin and hair. A little goes a long way, and although it starts out feeling greasy, it is rapidly absorbed. The oil provides a protective barrier to keep moisture in the skin, and unrefined coconut oil even has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Whatever moisturizer you use, use it regularly, especially after bathing and washing hands.
  • Speaking of washing hands, avoid excessive use of anti-bacterial hand soaps or instant sanitizers – the alcohol content dries skin even more. If you must use sanitizers, try to use versions with moisturizers in them, or moisturize afterwards.
  • Use an exfoliating scrub to get rid of dead skin and encourage new growth. Keep it gentle, though, and not more than once or twice weekly, as extreme scrubbing can toughen skin. A gentler option is dry brushing, which can be done daily.
  • As tempting as they are on those cold mornings, avoid long, hot showers – hot water strips skin of natural moisture. No matter your shower temperature, be sure to apply moisturizer while still damp, so your skin absorbs more.
  • Keep drinking water. Hydration from the inside is every bit as important in the winter months as in summer.

Mix and match from these ideas to keep your skin looking and feeling its best through the cold and dry winter months. Consistency is key – whatever you do, do it regularly for maximum effect, and keep the alligator skin at the zoo!