The cooler, harsher winter weather can take a toll on your skin, making it more prone to irritation, dryness and early signs of aging. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to fight off winter’s worst so your skin stays healthy and beautiful.

Here’s your top 10 list:

Drink lots of water. This tip tops the list because it’s one of the simplest to do, and it yields plenty of benefits for your skin and for the rest of your body too. When you drink water, you moisturise your skin “from the inside out,” replacing the moisture your skin loses when it comes in contact with dry winter air. That means your skin is far less likely to become dry, flaky or chapped. Plus, water helps flush away toxins, and it makes it easier for your skin to absorb many of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Ideally, you should aim to drink about 2 litres of water each day. Yes, you can get some water from the fruits and veggies you eat, but those amounts can be hard to quantify. To make sure you’re getting enough water, buy a water bottle and keep track of how much you consume throughout the day. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, both of which can dry out your skin.
Follow a skin-healthy diet. Speaking of nutrients, you’ll want to make sure your wintertime diet includes some foods that have plenty of healthy essential fatty acids (EFAs), including omega-3 and omega-6. Oily fish, avocados, flaxseed oil, whole grains and most nuts have plenty. These EFAs are important for helping skin produce its own natural, protective oils and for controlling inflammation and blemishes.
Limit your hot showers. While drinking water is good, standing under a steaming shower – no matter how good it may feel – really is not good for your skin. Hot water softens your skin and opens your pores, allowing important oils to be rinsed down the drain. If you just can’t face the day without a hot shower, at least limit the time you’re in the shower or turn the temperature down a few degrees. Your skin will reward you by staying softer, suppler and less itchy.
Cleanse gently. Your shower habits aren’t the only bathtime routine that may need a little wintertime tweaking. During the steamy months of summer, you may be able to get away with soap that contains detergents or other drying agents, but in the winter, you want a creamier cleanser that’s oil-based and designed to pamper and soothe your skin. (It’s the perfect excuse to shop for a new, luscious cleanser.)
Moisturise deeply. Moisturisers have changed dramatically in recent years. Instead of the oily, sticky products that just lay on top of your skin, today’s moisturisers and serum products are designed to penetrate deeply, repairing damage under the skin and helping your skin cells retain more moisture. When you combine drinking more water with regular use of moisturisers, you provide your skin with the lubrication it needs – inside and outside – to stay healthy and beautiful.
Slough off the old. Your skin naturally sheds the top layer of dead cells, but giving it a helping hand with regular gentle exfoliation improves your circulation and helps prevent irritation and clogged pores. An even more effective option: Schedule a microdermabrasion appointment. Microdermabrasion gently bombards your skin with tiny microparticles, dislodging dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities that make your skin look dull, then vacuuming the debris away so your skin is left feeling (and looking) smooth, soft and healthy.
Protect your skin with ample sunscreen. It’s easy to slack off on your sunscreen use when the weather turns cool and gray, but even the cloudiest day can’t prevent the sun’s UV rays from penetrating your skin and causing damage. As in the summer, apply your sunscreen liberally before heading outside.
Pamper your skin with photo-LED therapy. Dry winter air tends to rob skin of its protective moisture barrier, and that means skin can be more prone to other types of damage as well. LED (light-emitting diode) therapy uses varying wavelengths of light to help promote circulation, build collagen and fight off blemishes, and it’s especially effective in people who have issues like psoriasis, acne and eczema, all of which can be exacerbated during the winter months. Its collagen-building benefits also aid in reducing the appearance of scars, including acne scars and accident-related scars.
Prep for summer. Winter may seem like it lasts forever, but we all know summer is just around the corner. And that means it’s never too early to get ready for the shorter skirts and lighter, form-hugging fabrics of summer. Diet and exercise are great for your skin and for your body, but nearly everyone has stubborn pockets of fat that just don’t respond despite our best efforts. That’s where Coolsculpting can help. CoolSculpting is a completely noninvasive treatment that uses cold temperatures delivered deep below your skin where fat cells “hide out.” The cold temperatures kill fat cells, and over a few weeks’ time, your body’s natural waste disposal system carts them away, leaving you with a firmer, sleeker profile. Since it can take up to 3 months (sometimes a little more) to see the optimal results of your treatment, having Coolsculpting now, during the winter, means you’ll be looking your best by the time the warm weather arrives.
Get moving. Exercise is great for your muscles, but it’s also important for your skin. That’s because when you exercise, you ramp up your circulation, and that makes it a lot easier for your skin to get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and to rid itself of toxins and waste. Plus, exercising regularly improves your mood and reduces stress, which can also take a toll on your skin (and your overall health too). You don’t have to run a marathon or commit yourself to a grueling daily workout. Regular daily walks will do the trick.