When winter arrives, it can really wreak havoc. Days are shorter and darker, the weather grows cold and gloomy, and the season’s changes can leave your skin feeling dry and uncomfortable. The harsh weather and dry air that happen during winter strip moisture from your skin – and that can create dull, itchy, red, or even irritated skin.
And unfortunately, even following your usual skincare routine can create additional skin woes in winter. Because dryness is often the biggest problem, using the same products year-round can exacerbate winter skin issues. You need the right knowledge, the right skincare routine, and the right hydrating products.
If you’re wondering how you can prevent dryness, itching, and other winter skin issues, here are the tips you need to follow.
Switch to a Gentle, Hydrating Cleanser
Washing your face and body is the foundation of any good skincare routine. But during the winter, any average cleanser won’t help your skin. In fact, if you use a gel cleanser or soap, you could dry out your skin even more.
You’ll want to switch your regular cleanser to something that’s gentler and more hydrating¹. Your skin is already being exposed to harsh weather and dramatic temperature shifts every day – when you wash your face and body, you want to use something that’s gentle and non-irritating.
And cream or foamy cleansers can help add moisture back into your skin. Look for a cleanser that won’t strip away moisture with harsh ingredients; instead, choose one that’s thick and designed for hydration.
Turn Down the Temperature When You Shower
There’s nothing better than a hot shower when it’s cold outside. A hot shower will warm up your body and your bathroom, making you feel perfectly cozy. But unfortunately, scalding hot showers come with one huge downside: they strip important moisture from your skin.
Hot showers can actually create cracks in the surface of your skin, and that exacerbates dryness². It can speed up damage to your skin, leaving you feeling itchy, experiencing dry spots, and even feeling chapping.
Instead of giving in to the urge to take a hot shower, turn the temperature down a bit. Take lukewarm showers when possible – the slightly cooler water won’t dry your skin out as much. And if you do take hot showers, make sure you moisturize immediately afterwards. You want to help keep moisture in your skin as much as possible.
Switch to a Thicker Moisturizer
In addition to swapping your normal cleansers and body washes out for more hydrating options, you should also change up your lotion and moisturizer. Your skin needs extra hydration – and choosing a more deeply moisturizing product can be a huge help.
Thick moisturizers and lotions are best during the winter. You should use a thicker, heavier moisturizer on your face during the coldest season of the year. If you’d like, you can use a lighter formula during the day and apply a thicker one at night to lock in hydration.
The same goes for the rest of your body too. Instead of using a regular lotion, dermatologists recommend using creams or cream-based lotions³. Creams are more moisturizing, and you can also layer body oil underneath a body cream for added hydration. Try to avoid products with fragrances, as fragrance ingredients can actually dry out or irritate skin⁴.
Moisturize Your Driest Areas Overnight
If your skin is really dry and affected by winter weather, you can get a whole lot of extra moisture into it by lotioning up overnight.
The driest areas of your skin tend to lose moisture faster than all other areas of the body⁵. So, if your hands, feet, elbows, knees, or other thin-skinned areas are feeling dry, or you’re noticing dry and dull skin in any patches, pay special attention to them. You should moisturize those areas even more deeply, and you can do so by applying deep moisturizers or creams at night.
To really lock in the hydration, apply your moisturizers and then wear gloves and socks. That will keep the cream in place while you’re asleep – and it might warm you up too.
Take Better Care of Your Skin This Winter
If you’ve always struggled with your skin during the winter, you aren’t alone. The cold temperatures, harsh weather, and dry air affect everyone’s skin. And that means you can go from glowing and healthy to dull and dehydrated, even if you’re following a solid skincare routine. The key is understanding how the winter weather affects your skin – and how you can combat those effects.
Make sure you have an arsenal of products that can deeply moisturize your skin, giving it the hydration it craves during winter. By preventing dryness, you’ll prevent and avoid other problems like redness, dull-looking skin, and irritation.