No matter what your skin type, winter dryness doesn't discriminate: It can occur anywhere on the body, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. The result of cold temperatures, whipping winds, and indoor heating, "winter dryness is also one of the main reasons that skin often looks older than its years," says Katie Rodan, M.D., adjunct clinical associate professor of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine. But you don't have to spend another season letting dryness and inflammation age you. "Skin that's well moisturized always looks healthier and younger," says Dr. Rodan. How exactly do you care for the skin you're in? Take our quiz. Then tally your score and get tailored-to-you advice on keeping your birthday suit healthy, flake free—and forever young.
Quiz: Winter-Skin Checkup
How dry are you, really? Diagnose your level—then learn how to deal with it.
- In what part of the country do you live?
- How old are you?
a. Under 30
b. 30 to 45
c. Over 45
- Do the following test: Place a piece of clear tape on the back of your hand. Leave it there for several seconds, then gently pull it off. Your tape is:
a. Still clear
b. Flaky in spots
c. Totally clouded by flakes
- Are you ever self-conscious about your dry skin? For example, do you notice flakes on your legs as you sit in a meeting?
- How often are you in the itch-scratch cycle? (You scratch an itch, then your skin gets inflamed and begs to be scratched more.)
c. Frequently, especially in winter
- Wash your face and leave it bare—no moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup, etc. Ten minutes later, your skin:
a. Is well hydrated (it looks shiny)
b. Feels tight, slightly dry
c. Feels very dry, and it's flaking or cracking
- You apply foundation in the morning. By lunchtime, it:
a. Appears to be almost gone
b. Still looks pretty smooth in most places
c. Has started to cake, especially around your face's dry patches and wrinkles
- In photos, your face appears shiny:
- Your skin is red and itchy:
- After a plane trip, your skin:
a. Looks and feels the same as when you boarded
b. Is a little dry, but looks OK
c. Looks and feels (painfully) parched, with noticeable dry patches or chapping
Your skin is almost baby fresh.
Diagnosis: Your skin is super-healthy...now try to maintain that status quo.
You're middle-of-the-road dry.
Diagnosis: Your skin is definitely thirsty...but you have a secret weapon.
You're as dry as the Sahara Desert .
Diagnosis: Your skin may be unable to retain water.