Dreading the dry, cold air of late fall and winter? Recovering from a summer spent covered in sunscreen, chlorine, or saltwater? The largest organ you have, your skin, is likely starved for nourishment and moisture, so don’t miss these important cold weather skin care tips:

1. Exfoliate.

Did you know that an estimated 500 million skin cells die or are damaged every day on your body?

The constant dying and replenishing of skin cells is a natural process that keeps a large amount of microbes and contaminants out of your system. And it’s also the reason you have ‘dust’ buildup on your shelves and windowsills (those are actually dead skin cells!).

Exfoliating your skin, from your feet to your face, does wonders for sloughing off dead skin cell build-up and improving the tone and texture of your skin. While you can head to a spa for an expensive chemical peel, a more cost-effective option might be simple exfoliation at home before you shower.

With an rough washcloth, exfoliating brush, or exfoliating gloves, simply rub your body with deep pressure to remove dry skin, dead, damaged and loose skin cells, and built-up impurities. You might also try using an exfoliating sugar scrub or similar topical aid that contains coarse, granular materials which have a similar effect.

Shower or bathe as normal afterwards and then dry and moisturize skin. Your skin should feel softer and look less dull and rough than before. Plus, it will be able to better absorb skin care products like your moisturizers and toners.

Exfoliating also boosts your skin cells’ renewal rate which can help minimize pores, fine lines, and other signs of aging.

2. Moisturize.

Applying lotion all over your body after a shower or bath might seem like a huge hassle. But in the fall and winter, you simply won’t want to miss this step.

Moisturizing your body with a hydrating lotion helps to keep skin supple and be nourished, so it doesn’t dry and flake off. Even if you simply prioritize drinking water to stay hydrated, it’s important to know that your body only transports that moisture to the middle layer of your skin (the dermis).

From there it travels upwards through the epidermis and evaporates off your body, causing skin to dry, crack, and flake off. The drier the air around you, the more moisture it pulls from the outer layer of your skin.

Moisturizers in the form of lotions, creams, and jellies, provide a protective layer over the epidermis that traps moisture in. That prevents it from evaporating and drying things out.

As colder, dry air sweeps in, remember to moisturize with a thicker lotion like body butter or a cream.

The added protection of this type of enhanced moisturizer helps to form a stronger oil barrier to keep moisture locked in to your skin.

Hitting your legs, arms, and torso with lotion is usually a cinch, but you might consider getting a back lotion applicator for harder to reach spots.

More Reminders on How to Take Care of Your Skin

Exfoliating and moisturizing will keep skin hydrated, boost circulation, and help to protect your precious epidermis.

There are also a handful of other important steps to keep in mind as well:

Prep your lips.

Moisturize your lips even when they don’t feel chapped or dry. It helps you create a reserve of hydration to prevent future breakdown should cold and dry weather take their toll.

Don’t forget sun protection.

Spending time outdoors in the fall without the summer heat beating down on you makes it easy to forget that UV radiation is still reaching your skin.

Don’t forget sunscreen when working out outside or spending a significant amount of time outdoors.

Use hand cream.

Whether it’s the constant application of hand sanitizer during cold and flu season, or simply the dry winter air, skin on hands is oftentimes the first to dry out and crack.

Keep hand cream handy and apply regularly to prevent drying, flaking, and cracking.

Try a humidifier.

Extra dry air will start to dry out your nose and feel physically uncomfortable. When it comes to staying hydrated in your own home, try turning down the heat or using a humidifier that diffuses water molecules into the air.

Ditch fancy soaps.

Basic soaps with flowery fragrances often contain ingredients that will actually leave skin dried out and parched. Wash with nourishing body washes during the fall and winter months to keep skin springy and resilient.

Which one of these cold-weather skin care tips will you follow first to avoid dehydration this season?