As the winter chill enters the air, you will probably notice subtle changes in your skin. Seasonal changes in temperature and lower humidity can trigger dryness and ashiness. Those with normal, combination, or oily skin will find that their skin can become drier. For those who already have dry or sensitive skin, it can worsen during the winter months.
Cold winter air and harsh winds draw moisture out of the skin, and many of the things we do during the winter to keep warm can also contribute to this dryness.
Here are tips to keep your skin well hydrated, soft, and smooth through the winter season.
- Hydrate the Skin. Be sure to keep the skin hydrated to alleviate dryness and itchiness.
- Be Gentle. Use gentle products, formulated for dry skin and that are alcohol-free to avoid further drying out the skin.
- Moisturize When Needed. Moisturize whenever skin feels dry and itchy. Use the nighttime hours to treat yourself to moisturizing facial and body masques. Moisturize dry hands and feet with moisturizing butter like shea and cocoa butter and cover with cotton gloves and socks overnight.
- Shorten Bath Time. Take shorter showers and baths. Long showers and soaking in the tub too long can strip the skin of natural oils. Try to keep baths and showers to 15 minutes or less.
- Stop Getting Into Hot Water. Shower and bath in lukewarm water. It’s tempting to take long hot showers and baths, but hot water will also rob the skin of moisture. To lock moisture into the skin after bathing, do not completely towel dry.
- Pat skin with a towel to absorb excess water and apply moisturizer while the skin is still damp.
- Stay Soap-Free. Use non-alkaline, soap-free cleansers on the skin. Soap also strips the skin of natural oils. Also avoid deodorant soaps, which are harsh and drying. Use non-alkaline body washes; superfatted and unscented moisturizing bath soaps.
- Don’t Over-Cleanse. Don’t wash the face more than once or twice a day. Try cleaning the face at night when you have the most grime, environmental pollutants, and makeup on the face. Then rinse the face with warm water in the morning and immediately apply a moisturizing face cream with sunscreen. Excessive washing removes the protective lipid layer of the skin’s surface causing it to dry out.
- Exfoliate. Exfoliate skin 1 – 2 times a week with a gentle exfoliating cleanser or scrub. There are some exfoliating body washes on the market that is gentle enough to use daily. Sometimes the skin, especially black skin, can have an abnormal exfoliation cycle. The cells build up and form a barrier making the skin look ashy and becoming resistant to lotions.
- Don’t Rub Skin the Wrong Way. When exfoliating the skin, be sure not to rub the skin too hard, especially if you have sensitive skin. Gently massage the exfoliant into the skin with circular motions and then rinse with warm water.
- Reduce Indoor Heat. The dry indoor heat also contributes to dry skin. Make sure that the temperature of your home is not too hot. Keep the temperature between 68 – 70 degrees.
- Spend Less Time by the Fire. While sitting near fireplaces feels warm and cozy, it also dries out the skin.
- Use a Humidifier. Use a humidifier, especially in the bedroom. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can place a bowl of water near the source of heat to keep moisture in the air.
- Avoid Wool. Avoid wool sweaters and scarves and other harsh fabrics that rub against the skin and cause dryness. Wear softer, more breathable fabrics like cotton and cashmere.
- Use Sunscreen. Always use sunscreen in the winter months, even on cloudy, overcast days.
- Avoid Chapped Skin and Remember the Lips. Put moisturizers and sunscreen on the skin 30 minutes before going out into the cold. Going outside before the creams and lotions absorb into the skin can cause dryness by the liquid evaporating or freezing on the skin contributing to dryness and chapped skin. Don’t forget the lips. Wear a moisturizing lipstick or lip balm with SPF.
What’s Causing Your Cracked Cuticles and Skin? How To Treat Winter Dry Skin Rash?
- Drink Water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Even though water does not actually moisturize the skin, it keeps your insides hydrated and helps remove toxins and keep skin cells functioning properly.
- Is It More Than Dry Skin? Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can worsen during the cold, winter season. You may need to see your dermatologist for suggestions for how to take care of your skin during the winter months.
- Eat For Warmth, Healthy, and Beauty. Be sure to eat a healthy diet. This season is perfect for warm vegetable-based soups, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.
28 Tips for Dry Skin in Winter
When Wintertime approaches, your happy normal skin can turn into a dry, flaky mess. Head-to-toe, you need to change up your routine and maybe even your products. If you are dealing with dry skin this winter, check out our 28 Tips for Dry Skin in Winter.
The dry, cold air that comes along with Winter can cause havoc on your skin. Everywhere you go, people are itching and scratching all different areas of their bodies. But you don’t have to join them. A little effort is all it takes to keep winter dry skin rash at bay. These 28 tips for winter dry skin should help.
Cold Weather Tips for Your Body:
- Keep your showers less than 10 minutes. If you can get it all done in 5, all the better.
- Keep the water lukewarm, not hot. Hot water strips the natural layer of oil on the outermost part of your skin called the epidermis.
- Exfoliate your whole body from the shoulders down three times a week. Buy a body exfoliator or make your own. You can even simply mix sugar and body wash for an easy, inexpensive exfoliation. Rub your skin in circular motions to thoroughly exfoliate.
- Consider using soap daily only on the parts that need a good washing, including areas that you sweat. Soap also can be very drying on your skin, especially if you use deodorant soap. Use soap on the rest of your body as needed.
- Trade in your bar of Dial for a moisturizing bar or body wash. Dove, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter or any creamy body wash is a good alternative.
- Women, instead of shaving with your husband’s shaving cream, try Eos: moisturizing shave cream for a less-drying option.
- Pat, your skin dry, don’t rub it dry.
- Immediately after you pat your skin dry, use a cream, body butter or oil, such as argan oil. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the faster your skin will begin itching.
Cold Weather Tips for Your Face:
- Reassess your skin. Many people find that their daily moisturizer isn’t enough for the cold winter months. Take some time and really get a good look at your skin. Is it flaky? Tight? Take note of the changes you’re seeing.
- Use a gentle creamy cleanser such as Cetaphil daily cleanser which gently strips the dirt and oil of your face, but doesn’t dehydrate it like a sudsy cleanser.
- Exfoliate two to three times a week using a facial exfoliator to remove the dead layer of skin on your face. Scrub in circular movements for a minute or so before rinsing. Or consider using a facial brush.
- Men, consider switching your shaving foam for a more hydrating shaving lotion or serum. Typical foamy shaving creams can leave your skin feeling dry and tight.
- Take note of how your moisturizer is working. Does your skin feel hydrated after application? What about 30 minutes after application? It might be time to switch your moisturizer to one made for dry skin. Make sure your daily moisturizer has SPF in it.
- What are you using for a night cream? It’s important to apply a good night cream to your face, especially if you have dry skin. Your day cream will ideally have SPF, so you’ll want to pick a night cream that does not have SPF.
- Even if you don’t usually use an eye cream, you might want to in the winter time to help plump and also smooth the skin around your eyes. In case you have dry skin rash, then your skin is prone to showing fine lines and wrinkles, then give it a boost of moisture with an eye cream.
- Use a weekly or bi-weekly hydrating facial mask. Many hydrating masks are marketed for aging skin because skin typically becomes dry as you age. This is good because many contain anti-aging properties that your skin will benefit from.
Cold Weather Tips for Your Hands and Feet:
- Apply lotion each time you wash your hands. Keep a bottle of lotion next to the soap on your sink to help you remember.
- Try this recipe, Honeyed Hands, for a hydrating winter treat.
- Always wear gloves when outside in the winter. The cold weather is brutal to your hands. Keep a pair of gloves in your car and wear them every time you drive.
- If your hands are dry, apply a thick layer of moisturizer on your hands before you put on your gloves. Even if you do just this, your hands will hugely benefit.
- Pay attention to your cuticles. You can get a cuticle oil, or you can use your moisturizer or even dab on a little bit of olive oil when you’re cooking. A small bit goes a long way.
- Alos, before you go to bed, apply a thick layer of moisturizer to your feet and use cotton socks. That is a sure-fire way to help heal very dry feet.
- Exfoliate your feet when you’re exfoliating your body and never forget to put moisturizer on them after your shower. This is important because areas of your feet are prone to cracking in the winter months, which is very painful. Stay on top of them with exfoliating and moisturizing.
Cold Weather Tips for Your Lips:
- Exfoliate them twice a week to help prevent chapping. Use a lip exfoliator, make your own by mixing lip balm and sugar, use a gentle, soft toothbrush or use a damp washcloth to exfoliate them smoothly.
- Put on a lip moisturizer every night before you go to bed. Keep it somewhere on your bedside table to remember. We are Vaseline fans, but if you aren’t, try Waxelene, an all-natural alternative to Vaseline.
- It’s a good idea to keep a lip balm with you at all time. One at your desk, one in your purse, one at home, etc. Preferably one with SPF as lip cancer is the most common oral cancer and your lips need protection from the sun’s rays just as your body does.
- Remember, nothing makes you look older than dried lipstick and chapped lips. Apply a lip balm or hydrating lip gloss over your lipstick, especially if you’re going to be outside. This will help you keep your color and plump your lips, making them look younger.
- Try making the Healing Honey Winter Hydrator lip mask recipe to plump and moisturize.
Skin Care FAQs – Help Me With Extremely Dry Skin
Question: Skin Care FAQs – Help Me With Extremely Dry Skin
My skin is getting out of control dry. It’s not flaking or anything, but it’s bad. My friend told me my dry skin is because of the sunscreen that I put on daily. Do you think that’s true? It seems pretty oily when I put it on though. She told me I should start using Aveeno’s body lotion that has SPF 30 in it. SPF 30 is never enough for me though.
I use Dial soap for cleansing and just sunscreen for moisturizing.
There are several things that we can change in your routine that will show you immediate results that you will love.
First, we need to talk about exfoliating. Exfoliating is a really important step in skincare which will remove the dry, dead skin cells.
You’ll never have smooth-looking skin if you don’t exfoliate. You should exfoliate two times per week. An oil-based body scrub works best for extremely dry skin. My favorite this moment is H2O Plus: Sea Salt Skin Smoother. You’ll see results after the very first use.
Next, you should always apply a moisturizer after you get out of the shower. Your skin is like a sponge, and also it soaked in all of that water from your shower; you need to seal it in with a moisturizer. Because you are complaining about extremely dry skin, body butter will be a good choice, as it can last up to 24 hours. Try 100% Pure: Blood Orange Shea Body Butter. Kudos for applying sunscreen daily, but don’t substitute your moisturizer for sunscreen.
Apply your moisturizer after your shower; apply your sunscreen 20-30 minutes before you head outdoors. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen about every two hours for all-day protection.
And finally, ditch the Dial! The dial is good at stripping dirt and oil from your skin, but in doing so, it just strips it all!
You’re left with stripped skin that is dry, dry, dry! If you like bar soaps, why don’t you try a company that sells handmade soaps? Etsy is a great start. You’ll find soaps made with ingredients such as goat’s milk, olive oil, and coconut oil, all of which will leave your skin moisturized as well as clean.
Extra-Dry Skin from Dr. Kenneth Howe: Consulting Dermatologist for Lubriderm
We’re so excited to have been able to pick the brain of Dr. Kenneth Howe, Consulting Dermatologist for LUBRIDERM®. He shares with us his secrets on taking care of and preventing extra-dry skin.
Dry skin is something that we all deal with from time to time. What daily or weekly skincare steps can we do to keep on top of our dry skin?
Being proactive about the prevention of dry skin is important. Too many people (especially men) ignore it until it becomes severe. Untreated dry skin can become irritated, inflamed, and itchy; it is more properly termed eczema at that point.
Dry skin rash can be avoided if the skin preserves the proper volume of oils and moisture. Two things are essential: not removing too much oil and also adding back oils.
- You might want to keep showers short, under 5 minutes if possible.
- Avoid excessively hot showers, as hot water more readily removes surface oils, just like hot water does when washing dishes.
- Use soap only in areas of skin folds—underarms, neck, groin, feet. Soap is a detergent that lifts off oils from the skin.
- Use a mild soap.
Regarding moisturizing, it is important to do this every day. Daily application of a good moisturizer keeps the barrier of the skin (the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of dead skin cells) in good repair. Specifically, it keeps the stratum corneum from drying out and cracking. An intact barrier allows the stratum corneum to fulfill its function of keeping allergens and irritants from penetrating the skin.
With the cold weather soon to be upon us, for many of us, that means we’ll be experiencing the awful white, flaky skin, especially on our legs. Is it just something we have to do deal with in the winter? If not, what products can you recommend we pick up and what makes these products so helpful?
It is not something that anyone should just accept! Such dry, unattractive skin can be easily prevented.
The skin over the shins is particularly prone to dryness and often develops deep cracks that can take on the appearance of a dry riverbed. Shaving the legs can exacerbate the problem, as the uneven surface of the dry skin will tend to be nicked by the shaver’s blade.
The best treatment for such dry skin is LUBRIDERM® Advanced Therapy Triple Smoothing Body Lotion. This LUBRIDERM® product contains an alpha hydroxy acid that gently strips away the excessive build-up of dry, dead skin cells, leaving a smoother, more even surface. Removing the excessive surface build-up allows the moisturizing elements of the product to penetrate more deeply, and relieve the dry skin.
What about our hands and cuticles. What can we do to make sure they stay nice and soft instead of dry and cracked?
The hands need frequent moisturization, especially during the winter. A good, rich hand cream such as LUBRIDERM® Advanced Therapy Hand Cream should be applied at least daily. More frequent applications are necessary for people who are prone to dryness of the skin of the hands, such as chefs or homemakers.
People with a tendency to dryness in this area should also make sure to protect their hands. They should wear rubber gloves when doing dishes and avoid contact with strong detergents. Excessive hand washing will also worsen the dryness of the skin of the hands.
Let’s talk about men. Can you give men any skincare tips? What products would men feel comfortable using?
All of the Lubriderm products are guy-friendly. They go on easily and quickly, without any greasy or damp feeling. A guy can slap this stuff on and put on his shirt immediately. There is also little to no fragrance in any of them, but for the really skincare-phobic man, I recommend LUBRIDERM® Daily Moisture Lotion Fragrance-Free. This product is completely free of scent. The only thing a guy can smell after he puts on this moisturizer is himself.
If you could recommend just one skincare step that we may not be doing on a regular basis, what would it be?
The daily application of a moisturizer. It will keep your skin looking healthy and feeling comfortable. It’s the quickest, easiest way to avoid annoying wintertime itch. It will keep your skin from looking brittle and pasty.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.