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Summer is right around the corner and after an exceptionally long winter, we can’t help ourselves from getting excited about the hot weather ahead of us. But shuttling between hot exteriors and frosty air-conditioned interiors can do a number on your once silky-soft skin. Chapped hands, scaly legs and an overall tight, dry sensation — sounds like the makings of a horror flick. Well, don’t go all Chainsaw Massacre on your helpless epidermis; instead, lend it the helping hand (cream) it needs. It’s time to get serious about protecting the skin you’re in.

For the very dry: Body butter/creams

Butter? Lotion? What’s the difference? Well, if you’re suffering from seriously sapped skin, introducing a body butter or cream into your beauty routine is the answer to your body’s cry for help.

Contrary to the name, body butters don’t actually contain real butter but do have a slightly greasy, creamy texture and are usually oil-based. Creams and butters are called emollients, as the oil in them creates a protective layer on the skin, which shields the skin from harsh elements and pollutants. Whereas lotions have a thinner texture, butters are identified by their rich, thick formula and deliver extreme healing properties by sealing in the skin’s natural moisture. But be sure to use butters wisely as too much can clog pores and cause breakouts. Once or twice a week should help improve your skin’s moisture levels and prevent future dry-out.

Body Butter
Bliss Lemon+Sage Body Butter Maximum Moisture Cream, $35; The Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body Butter, $10.

For daily softness and maintenance: Body lotion

Whether you’re looking for a sweet-smelling potion to lather on as a pick-me-up or just something to keep your skin soft and supple post-shower, body lotion is a beauty staple during Canada’s long, cold winters.

With a lighter texture and feel than creams, lotions are best for everyday use and have a lower oil content than heavier butters. Lotions are considered to be humectants, as they work to preserve the existing moisture in the skin by drawing water to the surface. For those with sensitive skin, make sure your lotion isn’t too heavily perfumed as extra chemicals can cause unwanted irritation, not to mention, will be absorbed into your silky, smooth skin.

Body Lotion
Ahava Dead Sea Water Mineral Body Lotion, $28; Vaseline Total Moisture Dry Skin Lotion, $6.50.

For desperate digits: Hand cream

There’s nothing less attractive (or painful!) than chapped, cracked knuckles and rough, sandpapery palms. Our hands take the brunt of winter’s harshness as we slip gloves on and off to check our phones, to pull bus tokens out of our pockets or to simply maintain overall dexterity while braving the elements.

A thick hand cream is best if you have time to sit and let it soak in, but a grease-free formula is often more practical when out and about or attempting to hold a pen without it slipping through your fingers. Whichever you choose, be sure to have a small tube in your bag, on your desk and by your bed to ensure you’ll always have the upper hand on moisture.

Hand Cream
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, $8; L’Occitaine Dry Skin Hand Cream, $33.50.

For the purist: Body oil

If you’ve lived your life until now thinking that oil and beauty don’t mix, you’re in for a surprise. Thought that using oil-based products would result in clogged pores, breakouts and shiny skin? It turns out you were just using the wrong products.

A mainstay in Europe and other parts of the world, body oils containing naturally derived oils (think jojoba, almond and coconut) are thought by some to be the best way to not only infuse parched skin with nutrients and hydration, but also protect the skin’s natural moisture balance. When scanning a product’s ingredients listing, look for oils that contain jojoba. It’s considered to be one of the best hydrating oils because it has a similar composition to our body’s natural oils thus will absorb easily and won’t leave a greasy finish. How slick is that?

body oils
Caudalie Divine Oil, $52; Aura Cacia Jojoba Pure Organic Skin Care Oil, $19.

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