Winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin. Dry, cracked, and dull skin, unfortunately, are common issues your skin can face while dealing with the colder temperatures, and as we crank up the heat inside, the dry air can also cause a whole slew of different issues. Caring for your dry skin in winter is important, so here is a skincare routine and some additional tips to help keep your skin feeling glowy, hydrated, and healthy.
Winter Skin Care Routine
The first step to ensuring your skin stays supple and hydrated through the cold winter months is to adjust your skincare routine. When the temperatures drop, humidity levels drop as well; as a result, it’s important to ensure your skincare routine is gentle and hydrating to seal in moisture and keep your skin looking its best. Here are some tips to switch up your routine to fight off dry skin in the winter:
- Wash with a gentle cleanser: When cleansing your skin, swap out your foaming cleanser and opt for a gentler formulation like a balm, oil, or cream. Foaming cleansers can strip the skin of its moisture and disrupt the skin barrier. Balm, oil, and cream cleansers aren’t as harsh and are just as effective at washing your skin. Consider using cleansers that are fragrance free and don’t contain large quantities of harsh ingredients like alcohol.
- Incorporate a good exfoliator: A gentle exfoliator can help remove dead skin skills and reveal softer, glowing skin. Not only does exfoliating help your moisturizer absorb better, but it also helps create a smooth base for makeup application. That being said, don’t over do it! Choose between a chemical exfoliant or gentle physical exfoliant and use it once a week. You can bump it up to two times a week if your skin can tolerate it.
- Use a daily moisturizer: Moisturize with a rich cream or oil-based moisturizer in the winter. They are more effective than lotions at locking in moisture and hydrating the skin’s outer layers. Don’t forget to also moisturize your hands, since they often come into contact with water and are exposed to the cold air.
- Always carry lip balm with you: Your lips can be exceptionally sensitive to the colder weather, so it’s best to keep them moisturized and protected. Use occlusive balms to seal moisture in, and consider using a lip mask at night to make sure your lips stay hydrated through the night.
- Wear sunscreen daily: It’s important that you continue to wear sunscreen as part of your winter skin care routine. Even if the day is gray and snowy, sunscreen ensures your skin is staying protected from harmful damage caused by UV rays.
- Incorporate skincare oils: Use a hydrating oil after applying your moisturizer. Oils can add an extra layer of moisture to help keep your skin hydrated in the winter and provide antibacterial and healing properties to keep your skin looking its best.
- Use a heavier nighttime cream: Night creams contain ingredients that hydrate your skin slowly over several hours. This ensures that you wake up in the morning with plump, hydrated skin. In the long term, night creams can reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve your skin’s elasticity.
- Use an overnight mask: If a heavy night cream isn’t cutting it, consider investing in an overnight mask. Overnight masks can help lock in your products, like oils, creams, and serums, to keep everything working more effectively without evaporating away. Masks don’t only seal in your winter skin care products, but they also provide a barrier from the dry, cold air, to prevent further moisture loss. For extra hydration, keep a humidifier on throughout the night to ensure the air around you isn’t drying out your skin.
- Incorporate hydrating ingredients into your winter skincare routine: Changing your skin care routine can seem like a daunting task – but it doesn’t have to be! Look for these ingredients to build out your own ultimate winter skincare routine:
- Hyaluronic acid – Hyaluronic acid helps bind and retain water molecules so that skin can appear dewier and more hydrated.
- Ceramides – Ceramides help create a barrier to lock in moisture into your skin, which helps prevent dryness and irritation.
- Lipids – Lipids, such as grapeseed oil, can help shield and protect the skin from the dry air to promote moisture retention.
- Aloe vera – Aloe vera is a soothing ingredient that can help alleviate the pain of cracked skin and can help along with the healing process. Not only can it heal your cracked skin, it also can add an extra layer of moisture and protection to your skin.
- Lactic acid – Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that helps remove accumulated dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin. Find products with lactic acid if you feel physical exfoliation is too rough on your skin.
- Glycerin – Glycerin is a humectant, meaning it helps draw water to the skin to make sure your skin remains feeling hydrated and refreshed.
Winter Skin Care Tips
Once you have a winter skin care routine down, it’s important to get in the habit of protecting your skin, both indoors and outdoors. Follow these additional winter skin care tips to ensure your skin stays healthy and hydrated in the winter:
- Invest in a humidifier: With cold weather comes dry air – both inside and outside. Invest in a humidifier to make sure that enough moisture is in the air to prevent your skin from drying out.
- Avoid hot baths & showers: Hot water can irritate sensitive or dry skin. Try to use lukewarm water when taking a shower or a bath. You’ll also want to limit how much time you spend in the shower to avoid stripping the moisture from your skin.
- Wear comfortable, non-irritating clothing: When going outside, wear clothing that can act as a barrier between you and the elements. Wear gloves, ear muffs, and scarves and make sure you’re choosing fabrics that aren’t scratchy or irritating.
- Lower the thermostat: Turning up the thermostat can contribute to dry air that can cause cracked, dull skin. Consider turning it down to a cozy 68°F to 72°F to ensure your skin stays hydrated while indoors.
- Moisturize frequently: If you feel your skin getting dry throughout the day, carry a small cream or balm with you that you can apply while on-the-go. Don’t forget to also grab your lip balm!
- Layer your skincare: Layer your skincare to help lock in moisture to prevent dry skin during the winter season. A good rule of thumb is to layer lightest to heaviest (toner, serum, moisturizer, oil, cream/mask).