This season, streets and sidewalks are drenched with every possible type of precipitation. But your body is likely to be as dry as a martini.
We asked nutrition, health and beauty experts for advice in winning the war against damaging winter weather.
First, the basics: A good moisturizer is your best weapon. Use it often and in mass quantities. Keep it in the car, your purse and your desk, for replenishment anytime, anywhere. A good conditioner is moisturizer for your hair, but save that for the shower.
It's shocking what can happen to hair this time of year. Static is a major problem, and Joan Courtney, owner of Annapolis Day Spa and Salon, says humectants, which seal in moisture, and frequent hot-oil treatments are your best defense against electrifying tresses. (Aveda makes a humectant, which is available in several local salons.)
Your shampoo should be free of or at least low on harsh detergents, which strip your hair and make it more vulnerable to dryness, says Laurie Polis, a New York dermatologist. For these few months, you may want to switch to a combination shampoo and conditioner, which contains milder cleaning formulas.
Suggestions: Humectants, hot oil treatments, shampoo-conditioner combos
NAIL THE PROBLEM
In addition to compulsive moisturizing, Courtney recommends twice-a-month paraffin treatments, which soothe and replenish the hands with warm wax and essential oils.
Also, your nails are likely to get hammered in winter. To keep them sturdier, Tammy K. Wolfe, a clinical aesthetician at Annapolis Day Spa and Salon, advises maintaining a wide nail base and squaring off the tips. Nails and cuticles also need moisturizer, but soak in warm water before applying.
Suggestions: Paraffin treatments, maintain wide nail base, moisturize nails
So maybe you're not frolicking about barefooted or in sexy toe-exposing sandals. You still need to tend to your tootsies.
A sensible, simple approach is wearing socks at home and to bed to lock in moisture. Also, Wolfe encourages the use of a foot file, an exfoliating device that sands and stimulates chapped feet.
Suggestions: Constant cover and foot files
When the cold is as bitter as day-old Sanka, it's easy to forget that the sun is still a threat. In winter, instead of beating down on you, the sun is reflecting up at you from the ice and snow.
So don't forget sunglasses and sunscreen. Also, as an alternative to traditional facial moisturizers, Polis suggests glycolic acid spritzers, which contain glycolic acid diluted in water. Instead of simply spraying water on your face, which evaporates and leaves skin thirstier, the glycolic acid seals water into the skin. (SKINpolish is the spritzer Polis personally uses. You can get it by calling 212-431-1600.)
Winter also poses problems for your pucker. Look for lip balm products containing vitamin E. Avoid petroleum-based ones, which coat but don't condition, says Cindy Bloom Turner, an aesthetician and masseuse at Edward Amato in Mount Washington.
Suggestions: Sunscreen, glycolic spritzers, lip balms
Maybe the inside of your head doesn't strike you as a problem area, but who looks good with puffy eyes and a runny nose?
David Edelberg, an internist and founder of American WholeHealth, a national chain of holistic medical centers, recommends alternating weekly between immunity-boosting herbs such as echinacea, astragalus and pau d'Arco, which ward off colds and boost energy. (They're available at Green Earth and Fresh Fields.)
Suggestions: Herbal remedies
When you shower, 86 the Irish Spring, Ivory and other standard bar soaps that strip and punish the skin.
Body cleansers, such as shower gels, applied daily with a loofah or puff perform triple duty -- exfoliating, moisturizing and cleansing, says Bloom Turner. After rinsing, turn off the water, but don't get out. The steamy shower is the perfect place to slick yourself down with sesame, almond or jojoba oil.
Now you can get out. When you're completely dry, apply an all-over moisturizer to seal in the oil.
Suggestions: Nonsoap body cleansers, loofahs and shower puffs, natural oils
Pub Date: 01/24/99