5 Ways to Care for Your Skin When You’re Sick

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Cold and flu season can do a number on your body but if you’ve got a serious case of the sniffles, you might be seeing some effects on your skin too. Between cold medications, repeated nose blowing, itchy throats and fevers, it’s not abnormal to experience subpar skin. To avoid spotty, flushed, dehydrated skin, try following these five tips from celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau:

1. Use a humidifier at night. Whenever the air is dry it looks for moisture wherever it can get it—and that means robbing it from skin. Common decongestants also dehydrate the skin, leaving it parched and dry. Using a humidifier at night keeps moisture in the bedroom air, which maintains hydration levels in the skin, and keeps it feeling comfortable.

2. Apply a cold gel mask to your skin. Since decongestants can dehydrate the skin, a gel mask is a good way to replace the skin’s moisture while also alleviating a pounding head and achy face from congestion. Renée’ suggests keeping a mask in the fridge for cooling relief when you need it. We like Bioelements Gel Therapy ($40).

3. Keep moisturizer on your nose at all times. Repeated nose blowing causes friction of the tissue (even tissues with added moisturizer) around the nose, resulting in red, dry, irritated skin. After every blow, apply a small amount of cream to the nose area for comfort and repair. Look for creams that contain ceramides and lipid-rich oils for ultimate soothing moisturization. One to try: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream ($12).

4. Turn to mint. Fighting an infection can leave skin looking gaunt and sallow and congestion makes it hard to breathe. So think mint. Look for products with natural mint oils, which will open up clogged nasal passages like Renée Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($35.50). Sip on mint tea, too—medical experts recommend it to sooth a sore throat, help drain sinuses and ease congestion. You’ll love the taste of this one.

5. Drink a lot of water. Despite common perception, this isn’t very beneficial for the skin, since water is the least efficient way to hydrate it, but more so for the body. Keeping fluids running through your system can flush away toxins and keep your internal temperature down. Renée’s recommends making refreshing water recipes to help flush out those germs. She loves strawberry, mint and lemon. Adding fresh ginger and honey is great for combating colds with a refreshing spicy twist, she says.

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