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Caring for dry skin in winter is quite different from caring for dry skin during the warmer months of the year. A quick dab of moisturizer isn’t enough to keep dry skin moisturized and healthy in winter. During this season, your skin needs a lot more TLC than during other times of the year.
The cold, harsh outdoor weather and dry indoor atmosphere play havoc on any skin type. This is because low humidity that’s common in the colder weather continuously draws moisture from the skin, drying it out.
Dry skin is particularly susceptible to irritation, extreme dryness, and flaking in winter. Without proper care, the dryness can cause the skin to crack and bleed, increasing the risk of painful infections.
These 12 winter skincare tips help protect your skin against harsh winter elements, keeping it soft and smooth through the season.
12 Winter Skincare Tips That Work For Dry Skin
1. Hydrate Your Skin from the Inside Out
Increasing your water intake is one of the best ways to care for dry skin in winter.
We don’t give it much thought but insufficient water intake does a lot of damage to the skin. Lack of hydration manifests as wrinkles. The less hydrated you are, the faster wrinkles develop and deepen.
Insufficient water intake also impedes the skin-repair process, which can result in unsightly and flaky dry patches.
Water hydrates your skin cells from the inside out and also plays a role in the skin repair process. This prevents your skin from getting too dry and hinders the formation of lines and wrinkles. Water also flushes out toxins from the body, which helps to keep your skin looking healthy.
Staying hydrated in winter can be challenging for most people. We tend to crave more carb-rich comfort foods when temperatures start to go down. But there are ways you can overcome these challenges and stay hydrated.
These tips to stay hydrated will help you stay on track with drinking sufficient water throughout the day. They are especially useful if you keep forgetting to drink water (it happens to all of us).
Tired of drinking 8 glasses of water a day? See how you can stay hydrated without drinking water.
2. Choose A Good Moisturizer For Day-Time Use
Dry skin needs extra moisturizer all year round to prevent lines and flaking. But your regular year-round moisturizer may not be enough for dry skin in winter. You need a thicker, more luxurious moisturizer to withstand the cold, harsh environment and keep your skin soft and smooth.
The best moisturizer for dry skin in winter is one that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid molecules can hold as much as 1,000 times their own weight in water. Using a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain hydration and lock in moisture.
Moisturizers containing jojoba, rosehip, and almond oil are also excellent for dry skin in winter as they possess superior hydrating and emollient properties.
Raw honey is a natural humectant, which makes it a fantastic natural moisturizer for dry skin in winter. Its humectant properties allow it to seal in moisture so your skin stays soft and supple.
Pay special attention to your eye area. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate. There are very few oil glands in this area, which makes it more prone to fine lines. Use a good under-eye serum to nourish and protect the skin around the eyes and prevent premature wrinkling in this area.
3. Use A Carrier Oil At Night
Pure, organic carrier oils are excellent for moisturizing dry skin in winter but they are best used at night. When applied at night the nourishing ingredients get plenty of time to work their magic undisturbed.
The best way to use carrier oil is to gently massage it into damp skin right after a shower or a bath. The oil seals the moisture in so it can’t escape by evaporation. This allows you to get longer-lasting emollient and hydrating effects,
These are the best carrier oils for dry skin in winter:
Jojoba Oil – Rich in vitamins A, B, and E, Jojoba Oil is the best carrier oil for dry skin. This waxy liquid is closest in consistency to sebum, the body’s natural oil, Jojoba Oil moisturizes without being greasy.
Coconut oil – Organic, cold-pressed coconut oil is rich in fatty acids such as lauric and linoleic acid. Both of these ingredients are excellent for keeping dry skin hydrated and nourished in winter.
Rosehip Oil – Rich in vitamins A, C, and E, Rosehip oil is hydrating, moisturizing, and soothing. It acts as a skin barrier, which protects dry skin against harsh elements in winter.
Olive oil – Rich in antioxidants, olive oil seeps into the layers of your skin to provide a softness from within. Use it for your hands, feet, and body only. Avoid using on your face as it is highly comedogenic and can block the pores on delicate facial skin.
You can also make your own moisturizers at home with shea butter, oil, essential oils, and a variety of other natural ingredients.
You can also make your own night cream at home with shea butter, oil, essential oils, and a variety of other natural ingredients.
4. Invest in a Humidifier to Maximize Moisture Indoors
In the cooler winter months, the air is not just colder, it’s drier too. Using heaters draws away the little moisture that is present in the air, leaving indoor air extremely dry.
Under these conditions, staying hydrated becomes even more important, for your overall health as well as the health of your skin.
Drinking water and avoiding dehydrating foods and beverages helps but sometimes you need more than that. According to MayoClinic, running a humidifier can help restore moisture to indoor air and help to keep you and your skin hydrated. heat the Mayo Clinic suggests running a humidifier
You don’t have to run the humidifier 24/7 in the entire house. Ideally, you want to run it in the rooms you spend the most time in. If you work from home, run it in your home office. Alternately, run it only at night while you’re sleeping.
Even a portable or tabletop air humidifier can help inject small amounts of moisture into the atmosphere, which will be absorbed by your skin.
Indoor humidity levels should be between 30% and 50%. If you’re unsure of your home’s humidity levels, an indoor humidity meter can come in very handy
6. Use A Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Alcohol-based cleansers and bar soaps strip the skin’s natural oils and worsen dryness. It’s best to avoid using either of these to wash dry skin in winter. Also, ditch cleansers that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Both of these are highly drying.
Instead, switch over to gentle, fragrance-free cleansers. Look for a gentle face and body wash that’s formulated for dry or sensitive skin and free from any additives. Cleansing creams are excellent for cleaning purities without drying your skin.
CeraVe makes the best hydrating facial cleanser for dry skin. This non-foaming face wash contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin, which help clean skin without stripping moisture.
6. Use A Gentle Exfoliator
Exfoliating is good for the skin. It involves using mildly abrasive ingredients to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells along with the dirt and grime embedded in the pores. This exposes the inner layer of younger, healthier skin cells leave your skin looking cleaner, fresher, and smoother.
In the winter, exfoliating helps by allowing serums and creams to get absorbed into your skin more easily. It also makes it easier for the nourishing ingredients in your moisturizer to get absorbed more deeply into the skin. This nourishes and moisturizes dry skin from the inside.
While regular exfoliation is good for the skin, it’s important to make sure you’re using a gentle exfoliator. Dry skin becomes even more sensitive when exposed to cold, brisk winds in winter. Using a harsh exfoliating product may irritate and burn your skin even more.
The best exfoliator to use for dry skin in winter is a sugar scrub with carrier oils. Sugar granules are lighter and less abrasive than salt scrubs, so they are ideal for sensitive skin on your face and lips. Go all-natural by making your own scrub to exfoliate with.
Before exfoliating, you must be mindful of any skin conditions you have such as cystic acne, psoriasis, or rosacea. Exfoliating can irritate the blood vessels just below the epidermis, exacerbating the rash, redness, and itchiness. If you do suffer from any skin condition, it’s a good idea to run this by your dermatologist before doing any type of exfoliating.
As for frequency, try not to exfoliate every day, unless it is part of your daily cleanser. Instead, start with once a week, then decide if your skin needs it more often.
7. Show Your lips extra TLC during winter
Lips are more prone to painful chapping and cracking during the cold, dry winter months. This is because the skin on our lips is very thin and delicate, and doesn’t have the same protection as the rest of our skin. Moreover, even if you cover all other parts of your body, your lips still remain exposed to the icy cold.
The first step to preventing dry lips is to make sure you’re using a lip product that will actually help hydrate and protect your lips.
Here are two things you can do to care for your lips in winter:
Use a moisturizing lip scrub regularly – This will remove the outer layer of dead skin cells revealing the healthier and softer cells underneath. When you apply your lip balm, it will stick on and get absorbed more easily. Here’s an easy recipe for making your own moisturizing lip scrub, if you like making your own body care products.
Use a moisturizing lip balm or ChapStick – Applying a thick, occlusive lip balm helps seal the moisture in, providing a much-needed barrier against the elements. Lip balms contain ingredients such as Shea butter and coconut oil, which form a protective barrier on the lips. Applying lip balm regularly while you’re outdoors will help keep your lips protected.
Make your own lip scrub and lip balm with all-natural ingredients.
8. Don’t Forget your Hands
The skin on our hands tends to dry out faster than the skin on other parts of the body.
One reason is that it has fewer oil glands, which allows the moisture to escape quickly, leaving the skin on the hands more prone to wrinkling.
Another reason is that our hands are exposed to so much, from handling detergents to handling various other chores. This causes the natural oils in the skin to get dried out more easily. When the oils get depleted, the skin dries up even more, causing your hands to age prematurely. Dry skin is even more susceptible to drying and premature aging.
Here are some essential nail and cuticle supplies to be sure you have on hand during the winter season. Apply any of them generously all over your hands and around the nails and cuticles.
Vitamin E Oil – Vitamin E is one of the best oils for your nails and cuticles. It provides intense moisture that softens and heals dry, peeling cuticles.
Coconut Oil – Make sure you get extra virgin or unrefined organic coconut oil.
Flaxseed Oil – Flaxseed oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that are excellent for healing dry, brittle nails and peeling cuticles.
Using a hand mask occasionally will help keep your hands soft and smooth.
9. Lower water temperatures for showering and washing
Long, steamy hot showers can be so tempting when it’s cold and blustery, but water that’s too hot will dry out the skin even more. This is because very hot water strips the skin of its natural oils.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using warm water and limiting your time in the shower to 5-10 minutes to help heal dry skin. They also recommend toweling off gently and slathering on the moisturizer immediately on slightly damp skin.
It’s best to use lukewarm water when washing your hands too. We wash our hands several times throughout the day. Using excessively hot water will leave your hands feeling itchy and dry. It will also cause the skin to look wrinkly and old. If you suffer from eczema, the hot water may trigger an eczema flare-up.
10. Keep Thermostat Temperatures Lower Too
As you step indoors from the dry, icy cold outdoor air, your first instinct may be to turn up the heat. However, while this will help you feel warmer faster, it will also dry out the indoor air faster. As the indoor air becomes hotter and drier, it will draw out moisture from your skin, leaving your skin drier than ever. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) recommends maintaining a constant indoor temperature of 68 to 75 degrees F.
11. Use a moisturizing face mask once a week
Face masks draw out impurities, eliminate dead skin cells, and tighten the pores so your skin looks and feels smoother and younger. If you have dry skin, it’s especially important to choose a moisturizing face mask during winter. This will give you the benefits of the face mask without drying out your skin too much.
It’s easy to make your own moisturizing face masks using easily available items.
12. Apply Sunscreen when spending time outdoors
Sunscreen in winter? Yes, it’s important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays even in winter.
The sun’s rays can permeate the cloud layer during all seasons. Even on those dull dreary days in the dead of winter, up to 80% of the harmful UV days penetrate the clouds and can cause skin damage. It’s worse on bright winter days, when the snow reflects those UV rays, multiplying your exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays have been linked to a number of problems including skin cancer, premature skin aging, and painful sunburn.
Before you head outdoors, make sure to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body. The best sunscreen for dry skin in winter is one with an SPF of 30 or higher with moisturizing ingredients such as lanolin or glycerin.
Read this article to learn more about what research shows about the importance of wearing sunscreen in winter.
These 12 tips are easy-to-follow ways to care for dry skin in winter. With a little extra TLC you can have soft smooth radiant skin all winter long.
Frequently Asked Questions about caring for dry skin in winter
Which oil is best for dry skin in winter?
Almond oil is excellent for keeping dry skin moisturized throughout the year. It also nourishes and rejuvenates dry skin, improving complexion and skin tone.
Which oil should I use if I have eczema?
Almond and coconut oil are excellent for dry skin that’s prone to itching due to eczema or psoriasis.
Can I use coconut oil on my face in winter?
Yes, coconut oil is an excellent all-over oil for dry skin in winter. It gets absorbed into the skin easily while also coating the skin with a protective barrier that seals in the moisturizer. Coconut oil is among the best natural remedies for treating dry skin in winter.
Can I use aloe vera gel in winter?
Yes, you can use aloe vera gel in winter. Aloe vera gel contains several ingredients that help treat skin dryness and dehydration, which are common in the winter. It is ideal for all skin types including dry skin.
What is the difference between lip balm and Chap Stick? Which is better to use in winter?
Lip balm and ChapStick are often used interchangeably but that’s not entirely correct. So what’s the difference between lip balm and ChapStick? Lip balm is a type of body care product that’s specially formulated to protect and treat lips. ChapStick is a well-known brand name that makes lip balms. ChapStick can be considered a lip balm but not all lip balms can be called ChapStick.
How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen?
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.