Have you ever considered putting Krazy Glue on cracked heels? Dermatologist Hilary Baldwin says it can help damaged feet endure winter's harsh effects. Here is her tip and five other expert tricks for keeping your skin soft and smooth during the cold months of the year.
Avoidantibacterial cleansers. With cold and flu season in high gear, you do want to fight off any winter bugs. But antibacterial cleansers often contain drying and irritating detergents and chemicals, like triclosan. A better bet is to scrub up for at least 20 seconds (sing one round of "Happy Birthday" to make sure you're washing up long enough), using warm water and a traditional, soap-free cleanser. Try: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which sends germs down the drain and moisturizes at the same time.
Pack away the pump. The season’s chapped, flaky skin requires a tough solution and your lotion in a pump may not be up to the job. “Anything that comes in a pump is simply not strong enough to battle the dryness of winter skin,” Baldwin says. “Instead, look for products that come in tubes or tubs.” Creams that contain ingredients, such as ceramides, lactic acid, shea butter, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, add moisture to skin and help it hang onto hydration by fortifying its barrier. Try: Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter.
Order up some salmon. A fat-free diet may help you slip into your jeans, but can exacerbate dry skin. Instead, focus on consuming the right fats. “Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are a natural part of the skin’s top layer,” explains Susan Blum, assistant clinical professor of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and founder of Blum Center for Health. “They are important for the function of your skin’s barrier. With low amounts, your skin can lose water, which can lead to dryness.” Foods rich in omega-6 include safflower, grape seed, poppy seed, sunflower and corn oils, as well as wheat germ. Those bursting with omega-3 are cold-water fatty fish (wild salmon, sardines and mackerel), flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. Phyto also offers PhytoPhanere, a supplement in caplet form that combines nourishing vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants designed to promote healthy skin.
Oil up on the outside, too. Applying oil to damp skin can help trap moisture as well as keep the skin’s natural barrier intact. The key is to use a fast-absorbing body oil that offers all the hydration without the mess to leave your skin soft and smooth. Try: Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Treatment, which starts as a gel but turns into an oil once it hits your skin and has a subtle honey-lavender scent.
Pace your exfoliating. Here’s one of winter’s catch 22’s. Your complexion looks dry and flaky so you reach for your favorite scrub to remove the dead skin, but the skin’s top protective layer is what retains much-needed moisture. What to do? Exfoliate using a gentle non-scrub cleanser and a rotating brush, like the Clarisonic, and do so only one to three times times per week. Immediately after cleansing, apply a rich cream to damp skin. “This helps your moisturizer absorb better because the dry, dead cells, which can block penetration, are removed,” says Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Krazy Glue those cracks. Feet tend to get super dry thanks to the elements, indoor heating and all that rubbing up against rough socks, shoes and boots. The result can be cracks on your heels that are unsightly, painful and unhealthy because they can let infection-causing bacteria into the skin. The solution is as close as your tool drawer. “Just reach for the Krazy Glue,” Baldwin says. This helps close the cracks by bringing the two sides of the skin together and creates a seal to keep germs out. You can also prevent cracks by applying The Body Shop Hemp Foot Protector before bedtime.