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Dry-Skin Tips For Winter

Why Your Skin Needs a Humidifier ASAP

The dry Winter air is here, which means you need some moisture in your life! Allure's Stephanie Saltzman has the perfect tips to get you through the coldest season.

Flaky, scaly, ashy, itchy . . . need I go on? Cold-weather skin is basically the worst, and it's kicking into high gear for the frigid months ahead. I spoke to New York City dermatologists Amy Wechsler and Hadley King about their best advice for avoiding cold-weather skin disaster — and they shared a few tips that may surprise you.

Related: Beauty Tips to Help You Through the Holidays

Some moisturizers are not very moisturizing. "A lotion may smell good and look nice, but if you can't tell you put it on five minutes after you put it on, it's not doing much," says King. She recommends switching to heavier, thicker products that contain humectants like glycerin and sorbitol, which attract moisture to skin, when the weather gets cold.

Oily skin gets dried out, too. "The biggest myth is that people with oily skin should skip moisturizing because it will lead to breakouts," says Wechsler. "That's especially untrue if you're fighting acne with medication that can be drying — dryness can trigger inflammation, which will only lead to more breakouts." Just be sure to pick a lightweight formula that's labeled as oil-free or noncomedogenic, like Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion ($12).

You should add moisture while you cleanse. Some face washes can strip skin as they clean it. Use a gentle cleanser, and if you're going to exfoliate, avoid gritty scrubs and ingredients like glycolic acid, which can exacerbate dryness. It's also important not to overscrub: "Wash your face with your hands, not a washcloth," says Wechsler. When washing your hands — which you should be doing plenty of during cold and flu season — use a nondrying hand soap. We like Archipelago Botanicals Soy Milk Hand Wash ($15).

Humidifiers help. King and Wechsler both recommend keeping a humidifier in your bedroom or anywhere else you spend a lot of time. "They help so much with skin in the fall and winter when there's less moisture in the air. I like the cool mist kinds, like the Air-O-Swiss S450 Steam Humidifier ($260) because they don't grow bacteria," says Wechsler.

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