We’ve all heard the phrase, “the best defense is a good offense,” but if you watched the last Super Bowl, it was a great defense (and perhaps a foolish Seattle offense) that won the game for New England. And if you want to win your super-battle against sickness in the winter and beyond, you need to maximize your body’s frontline defense and take extra care of your skin. That’s right, your skin. Not only does it encase and protect your body’s organs from short-term physical harm, it fends off bacterial and viral infection using your innate immune system a first responder.
In your skin, a complex mix of immune cells can sense foreign invaders and defend against them on the spot. But if you have dry skin, cracks in that defense can allow bacteria and viruses to get through. So keep your first line of defense against illness operating at peak efficiency:
Opt for a warm, not hot, shower or bath. Hot water withdraws moisture from your skin.
After you shower or bathe, pat yourself dry with a towel; apply a moisturizer (we like olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter or petrolatum-based products). And don’t forget your feet! Use foot cream during the day and a thicker ointment or paste on heels at night (then slip feet into soft cotton socks).
Use humidifiers around the house and run them overnight in the bedroom.
Avoid drying, alcohol-based hand sanitizers or use ones with added aloe; soap and warm water protects you best from germs.