By Crissie Mergogey

Winter is coming! The chilly weather brings a beautiful change in scenery, family gatherings, and cozy nights by the fire. Unfortunately, the cold air can also lead to dry itchy skin. Many moisturizers contain parabens, phalates and other toxins that are bad for your health and the environment. But don’t worry, there are safe, natural ways to keep your skin smooth and soft.

Keep your self and your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day.

Eat Healthy Fats
Adding the right dose of certain fats to your diet can improve skin from the inside.  Chia seeds, hemp seeds and ground flax seeds have an excellent balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.  Easily blend them into smoothies or mixed into salad dressings to enhance your skin. 

Vitamin E
Many moisturizers contain vitamin E which is great for skin health. Dark leafy greens, nuts and avocados are high in vitamin E and can easily be added to your diet to soften skin.

Take cooler showers
A hot steamy shower may be a lovely idea to beat the cold, but it can cause dry skin and worsen eczema.  A lukewarm shower can save your skin during the winter months.

Oatmeal bath
For thousands of years, oatmeal has been used to treat dry skin.  Oatmeal is moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and gentle for sensitive skin.  To make an oatmeal bath, blend one cup of oats in a blender until it becomes a flour.  Stir it into a lukewarm bath and soak for 15 minutes.

Use a salt or sugar scrub to remove dead, dry skin cells prior to moisturizing.  This will help your skin absorb more moisture.  Try a homemade scrub: mix together 1/2 cup sea salt or sugar, 1/2 cup jojoba oil, 2 teaspoons citrus zest.  Rub onto skin while showering, and rinse. 

Homemade Moisturizer Store-bought
Moisturizers have so many ingredients that it is hard to find one that is completely natural and safe.  Luckily, you can make one at home with only three simple ingredients: 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil, and 5 drops lavender essential oil.

Dry air during the cold season is the real culprit for dry skin, not the cold temperature.  Having a humidifier in your home can add moisture to your home environment.

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