By Karen Kwan

The season’s waning frigid temperatures and dry air are some formidable opponents when it comes to maintaining healthy skin. But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to having cracked, irritated skin as you wait patiently for spring to arrive (with its’ own set of beauty challenges). Be smart with these top tips from dermatologists and calm, hydrated skin can be yours just in time for patios and pretty spring colors.

Use a mild cleanser
While you might enjoy some foaminess to your cleanser, that bubbly format could be stripping you of the natural lipids in the very top layer of your skin, says Sandy Skotnicki of the Bay Dermatology Centre in Toronto. If you simply can’t part with your favorite foamy cleanser (you may have found that cream-based washes don’t leave skin feeling clean enough), she suggests adding an alcohol-free toner to your routine.

Lay off on your anti-aging products
“Especially if your skin is fair or sensitive, consider using your anti-aging products only every other day during the winter to minimize risk of irritation,” recommends Benjamin Barankin, medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre.

Avoid exfoliating
Reduce your use of scrubs when your skin is doing its best impression of the Sahara desert. “When your skin is already bordering on inflamed, the mechanical trauma of exfoliation will make it worse,” says Dr. Skotnicki.

Apply creams with water-retaining ingredients
“Look for ones with humectants such as hyaluronic acid to help ease dryness,” says Dr. Skotnicki. Incorporating a hydrating serum to your regimen is a smart idea, too, adds Dr. Barankin, as is using a urea-based cream to your particularly dry spots, such as your heels. “Put on socks to help lock in the moisture,” he says.

Make sure your lifestyle habits are hydrated-skin friendly
To start, reduce how much alcohol and caffeine you’re consuming—these are both key culprits when it comes is dehydration. Also, ease up the hot water by a few degrees when you shower, pat your skin dry with a towel post-shower and immediately apply a moisturizing cream to your entire body, says Dr. Barankin.

7 products to wipe out your skin woes
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Toner, $20.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser, $22.
Dior Hydra Life Serum Sorbet, $56.
Estee Lauder Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme, $42.
Ahava Dermud Intensive Foot Cream, $26.50.
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild, $16.50.
Ahava Mineral Botanic Honeysuckle & Lavender, $23.

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