In the dead of winter, we can all use a little help with our skin. We’ve curated some of the best winter skin solutions to help keep your skin in tip-top shape while braving the subzero temperatures.
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Taking care of your skin in the winter is not purely cosmetic. Excessively dry skin can turn into eczema and lead to skin infections. It’s important to use give your skin a little TLC during the winter and use skincare products that provide protection and moisture.
Here are some tips on how to keep your skin healthy all winter long.
Key Ingredients for Better Winter Skin
According to Dr. Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist, “creams are ideal for winter because of their richer texture.
Glycerin: This silky ingredient works by binding water to the skin, preventing excessive dryness and slowing the evaporation process so that skin stays comfortable longer.
Hyaluronic Acid: A naturally occurring substance in the body, this ingredient has the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, deeply moisturizing skin while plumping and filling in fine lines and wrinkles. Look for hyaluronic acid high on an ingredients list for the best results.
Ceramides: Ceramides are naturally occurring fats present in skin that help to strengthen and reinforce the natural moisture barrier. This allows skin to absorb them with ease to quickly deliver results.
Other Moisturizing Ingredients: Shea butter, mango butter, urea and petrolatum.
General Cold-Weather Skincare Tips
Drink More Water
Dry winter air can suck the moisture right out of our skin. While skincare products are a great way to treat winter skin, sometimes all you need is to drink a little more water every day. If you normally drink 8 glasses of water, then drink 10 during the winter months for extra hydration.
— Diane Elizabeth, Founder of Skin Care Ox
Add a humidifier to your bedroom to add moisture to the environment to counteract the dryness caused by running the central heat in your home.
— Dr. George Skandamis is a board-certified dermatologist, Medical Director and co-founder of Universal Dermatology & Vein Care
Winter Hands, Feet and Body Care
Moisturize Hands After Washing
Place a moisturizer with ceramides like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream next to your soap. Apply after each washing. Place it on the back of the hands and rub it in gently to have very little on the palms and finger tips to avoid feeling sticky or oily.
—Tanya Kormeili, MD, FAAD Board Certified Dermatologist Clinical Instructor, UCLA
Keep Your Feet Healthy
In the winter, the skin of the feet is more susceptible to dryness and cracking, which is not only painful, but can cause an infection.
To keep your feet soft and healthy, gently exfoliate the skin and moisturize. The best time to do this is after the shower when the feet are still moist, which will help to trap the moisture and soothe and soften feet.
—Dr. Andrew Shapiro, DPMPodiatrist and Past President of the New York State Podiatric Medical Association
Apply Moisturizer Post-Shower
Be sure to not wait too long post-shower to apply your moisturizer. Pat your skin dry, don’t rub it, and then apply your moisturizers to help lock in moisture that was picked up during bathing. The moisturizer should be applied liberally as a lotion over the body and a cream on the face.
Facial Skincare for Cold Weather
Care for Dry Winter Lips
For dry cracked lips, the Dr. PAWPAW Mulitpurpose Balm is my go-to. The rich formula provides immediate relief. The fermented pawpaw, a healing mango-like fruit, helps heal and nourish the skin and sooth the skin.
The amazing thing about this balm is that it can also be used on the hands as well. As a makeup artist, I’m constantly washing my hands and using alcohol to sanitize and my hands can get dry and tight.
The PAWPAW helps heal and hydrate and provide immediate relief.
— Kasey Spickard, Makeup Artist
Use Moisturizing Washes
In the winter, men should make sure to a more hydrating facial wash like the La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.
— Dr. Alan J. Parks, founder of DermWarehouse
Use Rich Face Creams
For the face, I recommend Obagi Hydrate Luxe. Shea butter, mango butter and avocado extract keep skin soft, supple and balanced, while peptides work to improve the appearance of fine lines.
— Dr. Schlessinger as board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor
Use Essential Oils for a Boost
I’ve really been loving oils in my skincare lately and cedarwood is no exception. The WOW Cedarwood Essential Oil is a new favorite. Cedarwood has tons of skin benefits, it’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic which makes it perfect for acne. I mix a couple of drops of this into my moisturizer.
The scent is amazing with rich woody and spice notes that makes applying moisturizer an experience. I also apply to my neck and wrists to add complexity to my cologne.
— Kasey Spickard, Makeup Artist
Exfoliate Away Dry, Dull Skin
Exfoliation is essential for glowing skin. Skin should be exfoliated weekly to remove unhealthy surface cells. Exfoliation allows the moisturizing products to work more effectively.
— Berenice S. Rothenberg, Owner, and Esthetician, Berenice Electrolysis and Personal Beauty Center
Say Goodbye to Winter Acne
Winter Skin can be problematic, not just dryness but all that dead skin can cause acne and clogged pores.
The Peace Out Emergency Kit is a lifesaver. I swear by the Peace Out acne patches, especially for the deep cystic acne that regular acne solutions won’t fix. Pop on a patch, and overnight it sucks up everything and the pimple never forms.
Large pores and blackheads can be especially bad in the winter from excess dry skin. The Emergency kit also has Blackhead Strips that remove all that gunk and Pore strips which reduce pore size!
Don’t Forget Sun Protection
Just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean that you can stop using a daily sunscreen. UV rays pass through clouds and window glass, and they reflect off of snow and ice.
They can cause cellular damage that can lead to skin cancers, and they can cause oxidative and direct damage to the structural collagen in the skin, leaving it looking prematurely wrinkled, spotty and thin. For everyday use, find a super-lightweight lotion or serum that contains anti-oxidants. It can double as your daily ‘moisturizer’.
— Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD. Board-certified dermatologist and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California
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Keep Your Eyes Happy
The skin around the eyes is very thin and gets dehydrated easily, using an eye cream will keep your skin hydrated and your eyes looking younger and brighter. Improve the look of fine lines, dark circles, puffiness due to lack of sleep, too much salty food or just dehydrated skin around the eyes Remember your eyes are noticed most about your face!
—Connie Elder, Founder, CEO Peak 10 Skin
Upgrade Your Pillowcase
Something that I’ve recently been turned on to, is the benefits of a high-quality pillowcase. Traditional pillowcases can hold onto all the dead skin and bacteria from our face and scalp causing acne flair ups and different scalp issues.
They can also absorb all the skincare products we’ve invested in and put on our faces making them less effective. I recently got a Blissy Silk Pillowcase, and it’s changed my skin. Silk is naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
It also doesn’t absorb all my skincare like a traditional cotton pillowcase. This means my skin is more hydrated, calmed, and soothed, which we all want during winter months.
— Kasey Spickard, Makeup Artist
Treating Winter Scalp
Treating a winter scalp: Try an apple cider vinegar rinse after shampooing or instead of shampoo to naturally soothe a dry, irritated, scalp.
The apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties and rebalances the pH level to promote a healthy scalp. Plus, it has a clarifying effect to make hair residue-free, fresh, and shiny.
—Younghee Kim, Salon Owner and Founder of Essential Rinse
Don’t Use a Cheap Razor
Investing in a razor that fit your hair coarseness and skin type will help avoid any razor burn or ingrown hairs. Remember, the best time to shave is immediately following a hot shower, because that’s when your pores are open. Use a winter shaving cream to help moisturize your face and avoid any nicks.
— Dr. Dale Isaacson, DC Derm Docs
Use Cream Shave Lotions
Dryness leads to more sensitive, reactive skin. Swap out any shaving foams for a soothing cream shave lotion like Aveeno.
— Holly Henningson, ATMA Beauty’s Lead Skincare Expert & Esthetician
Switch to Aftershave Balms
One must moisturize well after steam/hot shaves and hot baths. I advise male patients to lay off the aftershave lotions and switch to more moisturizing aftershave balms instead.
— Dr Sonam Yadav, Medical Director, JUVERNE
Stop Shaving Altogether
Grow a beard! The less you have to shave, the less irritation and dryness your facial skin will have to endure.
— Dr Skandamis, Medical Director and Co-Founder of Universal Dermatology and Vein Care
Thanks so much for everyone that contributed! I hope you can avoid dry, itchy and painful skin with these insights from these skincare experts. And when in doubt, drink more water!