Winter is the time for coziness, cuddles and warm, lazy sunshine. Also the time for dry skin, falling hair and dull appearances. Really? No! It doesn’t have to be, if you take that wee bit extra care of yourself, which your body truly deserves. You did it diligently in the summers and now it is time to vary the routine for winters. Quit being lazy, after all, a natural winter glow is much better than those cakes of make-up to cover up patches.

Summers and winters have a totally different effect on our skin and hair, which is quite apparent in the way we feel during these seasons. The harshness of winter causes the skin to feel dry, taut and stretched out, leading to premature ageing. Not only that, it can also lead to other skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis being aggravated further. The face loses its glow and begins to look dull.

The hair isn’t spared either. Winter often causes hair to dry up and it ends up looking like straw. And that isn’t the end of it. It is further invaded by dandruff, which would give any snowfall a run for its money! As if that wasn’t enough, this can be outdone by the hair falling at an alarming rate of over 200 (which is normal) strands per day. Your crowning glory can be left looking more like a withered broom. But, take heart! All is not lost. A few simple steps will restore your skin and hair to their former magnificence.

* No hot water: First things first. No matter how comforting a hot water bath sounds, it must be avoided. Not the bath, the hot water. Lukewarm water is what you need to bathe and wash your hands and face at all times. This will protect the skin from losing its natural oils, which hot water removes, leaving the skin scratchy and dry.

* Moisturise on damp skin: Remember to moisturise yourself immediately after a bath, while the skin is still damp. This ensures that the moisture is sealed in, leaving the skin hydrated and supple.

* Exfoliate twice a week: Needless to say, exfoliation is a must to remove the dead cells and to allow the new skin cells to come up, breathe and be moisturised. Using a scrub once or twice a week should do the trick to rejuvenate the skin.

* Use night creams: Don’t be lazy about the night cream routine. Follow it religiously. Use creams without perfumes or paraffins. Lesser preservatives make for better longer lasting creams.

Home remedies

A few home remedies never did anyone any harm. Here are a couple to keep

your skin soft and nourished:

* Curd to the rescue: Take curd, even straight from the fridge and apply it on extra dry skin or even on any rash. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then wash it off with rose water or plain water. This will leave your skin feeling definitely healthier and softer. Go ahead apply your night cream after that.

* Vitamin E capsules: Another trick is using Vitamin E (Evion) capsules. Cut or burst open a capsule. Apply it directly to dry or mature skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes then wipe your face gently but thoroughly. Do not wash your face and apply your night cream. This can be done once a week. If the skin is too dry, then twice a week.

* Lip lock: For the lips, a lip balm is a must. You can un-chap your lips by applying a vanilla scrub of two parts sugar, one part olive oil, and a dash of vanilla essence mixed well together.

* Best foot forward: Your feet too need that extra attention to remain crack free. Wash them with warm water at night. Generously apply cream on them (you can add crushed camphor to the cream as well) and wear cotton socks to protect them further from developing cracks. Lactic acid cream is a better option.

* Oil toil: At the end of your bath, before wiping yourself dry, fill up a mug of water and add 8-10 drops of any oil of your choice. Splash this water all over your body, this forms a moisturising coat on your body.

Now, for the hair

* Warm oil routine is a big YES. Gently massage the scalp with warm or even hot olive oil for about an hour. This will make sure your hair is properly hydrated.

* Blow drying is a no-no, even if it is tempting on a cold day to dry your hair. The brittle winter hair is only damaged further by blow drying. Avoid it.

* Above all make sure you are hydrated properly all the time. People tend to drink less water during winters,leaving the skin and hair dehydrated. No hot soups, beverages can replace the body’s water requirement. Drink up 2-3 litres of water; it can do wonders for your skin and hair. We need to be moisturised
inside and outside.

* Finally. Listen to your body and what it needs. Eat healthy fats, drink plenty of water and moisturise yourself. Don’t forget. When you step out you must cover yourself with a good sunscreen as much as you did in summer. Cover yourself properly from head to toe to face with hats, gloves,jackets. Choose your style.

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