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Soft Touch

Your skin serves both beauty and function. It may be weird, but it deserves your love



kin is weird. Why else would Siberia-level cold give you Sahara-style dryness?

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to mitigate the misery of winter. Yes, you’ve heard it all before. Think of this as your reminder to actually do it.

  • Run a humidifier. Dry air = dry skin.
  • Wash your body, especially your hands, with warm, not hot water. (Yes, it kills germs just as well.)
  • Use a cream-style moisturizer rather than a lotion, the thicker the better. I’m a huge fan of Aquaphor (you can use it all over your body), or try CeraVe.
  • Yes, you still need to wear sunscreen. UV rays can penetrate the grayest clouds, and snow actually magnifies the light. Aveeno’s moisturizer with SPF 30 lets you achieve two goals with one product.
  • Use gentle, non-drying soaps and washes. I like the classic Dove body wash and Cetaphil face wash. Hey, they’ve earned their titles.
  • Exfoliate before moisturizing. All that dead skin keeps your moisturizer from getting where it needs to go.
  • Wear gloves. The more your skin is exposed to the cold, the dryer it gets.
  • Remember, your skin serves both beauty and function. It may be weird, but it deserves your love.
Keep It Humid

I’m obsessed with humidifiers. Yes, that makes me old and boring. Don’t care. I’ll take clear sinuses and less-miserable children over coolness any day.

Dry air can exacerbate all sorts of nasty respiratory symptoms — and it allows viral particles to float around a little longer, increasing their chances of finding victims. (I’m sure no one’s thinking about any particular virus with respiratory symptoms, right? It helps for that, too.)

Hence, awesome humidifiers. But which one? Warm mist? Cool? Evaporative? Ultrasonic? How’s a girl to find the perfect congestion-buster?

First things first: Say no to warm mist. Yes, it sounds cozy. And it involves boiling the water, so there’s less bacteria involved. But studies show that it’s less helpful for cold symptoms. More important, it can be dangerous, especially around children (think “boiling water”).

Next: Ultrasonic versus evaporative. (Oooh, fancy words!) Unfortunately, this one’s not as clear cut. Evaporative humidifiers use a fan and a wet wick/filter to encourage water to evaporate into the air. Ultrasonic humidifiers use super-fast vibrations to turn water into mist.

Ultrasonic humidifiers are significantly quieter, and they don’t have filters to replace, so they’re cheaper to operate. They can also take whatever minerals are in your water and fling them into the air as a fine powder, which will then settle on every surface in the room and potentially inside your lungs.

Evaporative humidifiers tend to keep all those minerals in the filter, and they’re generally cheaper at the outset. (But keep in mind the recurring cost of filters.)

Bottom line?

If you have very hard water, stick with an evaporative model. Just be religious about replacing those filters, because they’ll eventually grow mold and bacteria. No one wants to breathe that!

Personally, I use and love ultrasonic humidifiers. I do notice a little extra dust, but not enough to concern me about inhaling it.

Regardless of the style you choose, remember to Clean. Your. Humidifier. Rinse it out every time you refill the tank, and do a vinegar rinse, followed by a bleach soak, at least once a week. Follow the directions in your manual. And yes, it’s worthwhile to spend more on an easy-to-clean model. Circulating bacteria or mold-laden water kinda defeats the purpose of humidifying to begin with.

Baby Faves

Tired of giving the same baby gift? No idea what to get your sister-in-law for her first, or your neighbor for her eighth? We got you! We polled the Mishpacha staff and their families for their favorite baby presents.

Mustela baby perfume or bottle propper. —Chavi Feldman

Toys or books for older siblings.

—Toby Vogel

Cash or a gift certificate — they can use it toward that Doona they want. —M.L.

A picture frame with openings for each month of the first year, with a discount coupon for a professional photo session.

—Rebecca Lefkowitz

A really nourishing brunch or supper for Mom.

—Shana Friedman

Craft sets for the older kids.

—Riki Goldstein

A gift certificate for a massage or facial, even if Mom won’t use it right away. —Rorie Weisberg

Outfits sizes 12 months or up. Everyone gets too many 0-3-month stretchies. Or a basket of onesies or a selection of cute socks. —Bassi Gruen

Sponsor a session with a lactation consultant. —Simi Eisenbach

Box of starter toys like stacker rings, a shape sorter, etc.

—Pearl Nojo

A baby swing.

—Rivky Kleiman

Nursing cape. It’s great for a mother with older kids around. Or a hooded towel for the baby.

—Chaya Baila Lieber

Dainty gold or rose gold necklace with the initials of all the children. —Rivki Rabinowitz

Personalized pacifier clip and pacifier. —Esti Vago

Personalized three-piece set from My Bellabambini on Etsy. She personalizes in Hebrew or English. —SS

Swaddle blanket set with velcro closures. —Esti Vago

Magnetic closure onesies (They’re amazing for middle-of-the-night changes.)

—Michal Frischman


What do you think?

For our next poll, we want to hear from you!

These days, we get recipes from so many different places: magazines, websites, cookbooks, your neighbor at the kiddush, and your mother’s weekly rotation. How do you keep your collection organized? Do you find yourself using one source more than the others?

Let us know at familyfirst@mishpacha.com!

Have a brilliant hack, quick tip, or opinion you’d like to share? Send it over! We’ll tell the world!

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 728)

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