We live in Minnesota, which means cold weather is inevitable. To survive in the frozen tundra we call home, we still need to get out and be active. However, the dryness of winter often leaves us with cracked, bumpy, uncomfortable skin. 

We already put our skin through enough during the summer months with exposure to heat and sun, so why do we wait until our skin becomes dehydrated before we really take action? Your skin is the first line of defense for your body, but if you don't take care of it, it becomes weakened and brittle. Skincare experts Jennifer Sanneman, owner of Essence Skin Clinic. Kory Tuominen, M.D., owner of Ansara Medical Spa, gave us the inside scoop on how to take care of your skin.

LASER ON YOUR SKIN

When it gets colder outside, the moisture from the air seems to disappear. Our skin reacts to the bitter temperature, and all of our summer damage reveals itself in the form of dry, red, chapped skin. The first thing you can do is see your local skin care professional. 

The experts at Ansara Medical Spa and Essence Skin Clinic use laser treatment to remove sun-damaged skin, making skin look and feel younger and smoother. A typical laser treatment requires three to five visits but can visibly reduce wrinkles by 40 percent. Dr. Tuominen believes in the mantra, "peel, nourish, protect." 

After laser treatments, a great moisturizing lotion is exactly the nourishment your skin needs. Using a non-toxic moisturizer will help lock in moisture, keeping skin hydrated. Lotions tend to provide more moisture for the skin than a serum, so if you use something light in the summer, consider switching to a denser lotion in the winter. At Essence Skin Clinic, they formulate their own products, so you can get the right product for your skin type. 

SKIN CARE AT HOME

Dr. Tuominen believes the key to protection is, "sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!" You've heard it before: We need to use sunscreen in the summer, but it's cloudy in the winter so that doesn't matter right? Both of our experts stressed that sunscreen is a year-round necessity for skin protection.  

Getting a humidifier helps keep the air in your home moist. Get a large humidifier for the whole home or a couple of small ones to put around the house. Jennifer at Essence Skin Clinic also noted that if you don't have a humidifier, household plants release moisture into the air, which can help alleviate dryness.

We stomp around snow and slush this time of year, so make sure your gloves and socks are dry. Damp clothing can dry out skin further, so if
you find that yours are consistently damp, bring extras with you to work or on your winter wonderland outings. 

Jennifer advises her clients to make their own skincare concoctions at home using household products. She recommends a blend of coconut oil and sugar for a great exfoliating scrub for the whole body. I personally use this mixture with a few drops of lemon essential oil, and I love it.

TREAT THE WHOLE BODY

As if we need more reasons to exercise and eat healthy, having good skin doesn't typically top the list as reasons we should eat broccoli and hit the gym. Our experts told us that really focusing on eating well and staying active can keep skin strong and nourished. Keep your skin hydrated by drinking water. Winter can be a harder time to drink water because it's cold out and a warm, frothy cappuccino sounds much better, right? Try a warm cup of water with a slice of lemon or a decaffeinated green tea when you need something warm.

Caitlin Summers is a local certified personal trainer and nutrition and wellness consultant. 

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