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Explainer:

  • Warning: drying conditions ahead! As temps drop, common skin conditions often flare up. Keep your hide healthy with our easy advice. 

  • Your scalp

    Birgit Reitz-hofmann
    Walnuts have omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation.

    Why does dandruff appear right as you're breaking out your cozy black sweaters? Sunlight slows cell turnover, reducing flakes—which may be why you see more in the cold, gray months.

    Skin soothers:  Suds more, not less. "Daily, use a tar-based shampoo‚ slows cell regeneration—or antiyeast formulas, which remove the scalp fungus that causes flaking," says Dale Isaacson, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University.

    Also, fill up on walnuts, wild salmon and canned tuna; their omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation that makes flakes.

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  • Your limbs

    Psoriasis surfaces as silvery white scales at points of friction, like your elbows, knees and lower back. It worsens when cold air sucks moisture from skin, making it crack. And winter illness can also cause flares, as your body spurs cell turnover to fight off infections.

    Skin soothers: Skip fabrics that irritate, such as wool, and instead warm up in soft fleece, corduroy or cotton. Look for moisturizers labeled cream‚ they preserve moisture better, says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. And don't forget your flu shot.

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  • Your face

    Inflammation causes the red facial bumps that mark rosacea; spicy food, stress and more can be a trigger. You're more sensitive when low humidity, wind and shifts from indoor heat to cold outside air chafe skin , says Richard Odom, M.D., professor of clinical dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco.

    Skin Soothers: Find a daily diary booklet at Rosacea.org to help ID and avoid inflammation triggers. And wash with a soapless facial cleanser like Cetaphil to prevent dehydration.

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  • All over

    Image: Woman in shower
    FeaturePics stock
    Hydrate your skin with warm, not hot, showers.

    Eczema inflames skin, leaving itchy, red patches on the arms, hands, legs and face. Adding to the irritation, heaters dry out the air and parch skin. And hot showers wash away lipid barriers, our body's natural moisturizer.

    Skin Soothers: Protect trouble spots from the chill with a hat, scarf and gloves, says Melissa Piliang, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Hydrate with warm, not hot, showers and a humidifier. Pamper yourself and you'll have glowing, healthy skin come spring.

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