For many women, the cold months of winter are synonymous with unbearably dry skin. Among all of the seasonal struggles winter brings–shoveling snow, holiday shopping madness, never-ending gray skies, etc.–you shouldn’t have to dread dry skin, too. Dry skin isn’t just uncomfortable and unsightly. It can disrupt your entire daily skincare and makeup routine, forcing you to experiment with different techniques and spend money on brand-new products to compensate for the flaky patches on your face.
If you already have naturally dry, a cold winter just exacerbates that dryness. The dryness of winter usually gives women with oilier complexions both dry and oily patches that are difficult to remedy. In other words, winter’s moisture-draining tendencies don’t complement any skin type. Fortunately, there are several easy and effective ways to avoid dry skin altogether. Arm yourself with knowledge of how to combat winter dry skin to save your skin from the start of the season.
1. Moisturize Right
It’s pretty obvious that one of the best ways to prevent dry skin is to moisturize it. While this is true, there are ways to alter your moisturizing habits to make them more effective at fighting off dryness.In the morning, use a light, water-based moisturizer that you can wear underneath your makeup. At night, apply a layer of a heavier oil-based moisturizer to preserve the natural moisturizing oils in your skin while you sleep. Try to apply your moisturizer as soon as possible after you shower. The moisturizer will penetrate your skin more easily when it is still damp as well as seal in vital water.
For intensely dry areas, apply a thin layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline to remedy extreme dryness as quickly as possible. Avoid using these heavy ointments on your face to prevent clogged pores and breakouts (although they are very effective for dry under-eye areas). Apply them to your hands, feet, elbows, and any other areas that tend to get especially dry and irritated in the winter. To add a dimension to your moisturizing routine, seal moisture into your hands and feet by putting on socks and gloves immediately after applying moisturizer. Keep the socks and gloves on all night long to rehydrate your skin while you sleep.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Gel
2. Stop Shaving
Okay, so a complete moratorium on shaving probably isn’t realistic for most women. However, shaving irritates your skin and strips it of its natural oils and moisture. In the winter when your skin is already more prone to dryness, this irritation often leads to visibly dry, scaly skin.
If you don’t want to stop shaving completely from December through March, at least try to minimize the frequency of your shaving–try skipping three days between shaving your legs instead of one. Also, be aware that the areas where you shave are likely to suffer from more intense dryness so give extra attention to your legs, arms, armpits, and anywhere else you shave in your daily moisturizing routine.
3. Don’t Forget Sunscreen
Not wearing sunscreen regularly is one of the worst and most common mistakes women make when it comes to winter skincare. It’s easy to forget to apply your SPF products when the sun isn’t shining down outside to remind you, but you can suffer just as much sun-related skin damage in the winter as in the summer even if it’s completely cloudy and gray outside.
If you find yourself forgetting to apply sunscreen to your skin–especially your face–every day, try investing in a BB cream, primer, or pre-makeup moisturizer that includes SPF 30 or above. If an essential product in your everyday beauty routine has SPF in it, you’re unlikely to forget your sun protection even if it’s not at the front of your mind.
4. Cool Down Your Water
This is everyone’s least favorite winter skincare tip, but it’s effective enough at preventing and combatting dry skin that it still deserves to be included. Using very hot water in your showers and baths can be very drying to your skin. Unfortunately, the cold weather makes people even more likely to crank up the water temperature during the winter.
You don’t have to take ice baths to protect your skin from hot water-related dryness. Just try to keep your shower water lukewarm instead of scalding. If you just can’t bring yourself to lower the temperature, stay in the shower for a shorter period of time. Also, keep your sensitive face skin out of the spray whenever possible.
5. Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers are boring appliances that instantly remind many people of allergies and sick days. It might be worth investing in one, though, if it keeps your seasonal dry skin at bay. (check out the best Best Mist Humidifiers here.)
During the winter, the cold air outside is dryer than usual, which leads to dry, flaky skin. However, if you use central heating or space heaters when it’s cold outside, the air inside your house is likely also contributing to your seasonal dry skin. An influx of hot air sucks moisture out of your house and makes your dry skin worse. Having a humidifier running in your house replenishes moisture in the air and prevents your skin from getting dry and irritated by the air.
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
6. Keep Exfoliating
Many people stop their normal exfoliation routine during the winter. They’re afraid that exfoliating will only make their seasonal dry skin worse.
Harsh, abrasive exfoliants can contribute to dryness and irritation in your skin no matter what time of year it is. However, using a mild, non alcohol-based exfoliant once or twice per week in the winter removes layers of dead skin. This removal can noticeably improve the appearance of dry, flaky skin.
7. Hydrate with Your Diet
It is common to get dehydrated in the winter. The cold weather encourages many people to drink hot beverages instead of good old water. Remember that hydration is essential to soft, smooth skin. Use that as motivation to keep getting in those eight cups per day.
Water is key to hydration. However, you can also add more hydration to your diet in the winter by eating hydrating foods. Some of the most hydrating and healthy foods you can find in the wintertime include celery, cantaloupe, spinach, grapefruits, carrots and yogurt.
Don’t settle for dry skin when winter hits. Use the tips in this post to keep seasonal dry skin at bay for good with quick and easy shifts in your regular routines.