For many people, the cold days of winter can bring uncomfortable dryness on the face, hands, and feet.
For some people, the problem is even worse than just a general tight and dry feeling; they get skin so dry that it results in flaking, cracking, and even inflammations and eczema.
If this sounds awfully familiar to you, continue reading to find out how to boost your winter skin game with my following skincare tips for winter.
Why Do I Get Dry Skin In Winter?
Winter-dry skin isn’t your fault as there is a vicious cycle at work where your skin not only reacts to the products you are using to nourish it but it can also rebel against the cold air and other environmental conditions.
The outermost layer of your skin consists of dead skin cells embedded in a mixture of natural oils that are made by underlying sebaceous glands.
These natural skin oils keep the water inside our body and prevent it from evaporating into the air and also keep irritating substances and germs from entering the body.
Both the skin oils and the dead skin cells hold a certain amount of water (moisture) that helps keep the skin soft, pliable, and hydrated.
Dry skin results when there is not enough water in the top layer of the skin for it to function properly.
One way this can happen is when protective oils in the top layer of the skin have lost the mentioned moisture as it has already evaporated into the environment.
Too much soap, exposure to harsh chemicals, the normal aging process, and certain types of skin diseases (think dermatitis) are some of the causes of decreased amounts of protective skin oils.
As the skin dries out, it shrinks, and as it shrinks, small cracks can occur. This exposes the underlying living cells to irritating substances and germs in the environment.
Luckily, there are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin and help keep it feeling moist, supple, and soft all season long.
Some of these include simple changes in your everyday routine.
So before you click out of this article and go on a splurging spree for an entirely new skin care routine, read my following tips:
Keep Moisture In The Air
As we already mentioned above, your skin is the barrier that keeps water inside your body, so when it is dry and cool, water evaporates from the surface faster and easier.
Additionally, this can also happen with the frequent use of air-conditions as well as heating when you are inside the house.
When examined at high magnification, researchers found that dry and artificial air (such as the one coming from the AC) can make the outermost layer of skin cells to essentially shrink, which leads to that dry, scaly texture.
Therefore, if you are someone like me and you always want to feel warm and cozy in the winter months, invest in a good humidifier to keep moisture in the air.
Placing two or three of these around your home will help humidify the dry air, and help the skin against drying out and becoming cracked, damaged, and itchy.
Feed Your Skin
And no, by this I do not mean put food on your face to keep it moisturized!
Nourishing your skin from the inside out is a key component of an effective skin care routine, and the saying you are what you eat pretty much sums up this entire deal.
Dry skin can seriously benefit from a healthy dietary intake that includes an adequate amount of omega 3 fatty acids.
Your skin’s physiological health and appearance are greatly reliant on your body’s omega 3 fatty acid levels as these encourage healthy skin barrier function and can battle inflammation and skin dryness successfully.
Fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna are high in omega 3 fatty acids as well flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts can strengthen your skin barrier and help you combat dry and dull winter skin significantly easier.
Hydrate Your Skin
Besides the lack of natural oils that are the main cause behind dry skin, the winter months are also notorious for giving you dehydrated skin.
Therefore, it is logical to think that you need to replenish the skin’s moisture levels by drinking a lot of water as well as minimizing side pleasures such as coffee and alcohol.
Warm water with a slice of fresh lemon is nowhere near to being satisfying as much as a cup of coffee is in the morning, however, this will help your dehydrated skin on a significantly larger scale.
How Do I Keep My Face Hydrated In The Winter?
And now for the fun part. If you have been thinking about switching your skincare routine in the winter months and are not quite sure where to start, continue reading my fantastic winter skin care tips.
Opt For A Gentle Cleanser
I know I always say this, but you guys just won’t listen!
Using a badly formulated cleanser that contains irritating ingredients such as drying alcohols, fragrances, and high concentrations of essential oils can worsen your fragile, dry winter skin.
Additionally, while I am a huge lover of using exfoliating acids and I prefer recommending them to my clients instead of abrasive scrubs, I simply want to make it known that there is no place for acids in a cleanser.
Exfoliating acids are active ingredients that need to remain on your skin in order to do their thing and refine your complexion.
Therefore, it is actually pointless and perhaps even irritating to use a cleanser that contains exfoliating acids such as AHAs and BHAs as you only keep them on your face for several seconds before removing them.
This time will not be enough for the acids to do what they are meant to do, but it is more than enough to irritate your skin further.
Moreover, it is important to avoid one single ingredient known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLF) as this is a surfactant that is notorious for over stripping the skin of its natural moisture and leaving it unable to defend itself.
My recommended cleansers for your winter skin care routine:
- COSRX Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser; $13
- Krave Beauty Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser; $16
- The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser; $8
Exfoliation Is Always Important!
Exfoliation happens regularly in a good skin care regimen, however, it is always important not to overdo it, especially when it comes to exfoliating your skin in winter.
If you are suffering from unbearably dry skin this winter, you should definitely exfoliate less than three times a week, as this is sufficient enough to keep those dead skin cells away while retaining a healthy skin barrier to protect you from external aggressors.
Here are my exfoliating saviors for that annoying winter dryness:
- The Ordinary – Lactic Acid 10% HA; $6,70
- By Wishtrend – Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water; $22
- COSRX – BHA Blackhead Power Liquid; $22
Treat Yourself To A Hydrating Essence
Essences are a concentrated formula that specifically targets wrinkles, fine lines, and dull, uneven skin tones.
Essences are big on the market right now since everyone since to be jumping on the K- beauty wagon and striving to have a 10-step routine.
Look, this is not absolutely necessary so don’t put yourself under the pressure of having to keep up with all these trends in order to have that glowy, Instagram-worthy skin, however, they are a nice little thing to have to complement your skincare routine.
Essences contain active ingredients that optimize your skin’s natural cellular turnover rate, thus they aid skin regeneration, and with regular use, you will definitely notice that your skin is smoother and brighter than it was.
It definitely can’t turn back time and completely erase wrinkles or fine lines, but it is definitely the product you might want to pay more attention to when it comes to the winter months.
My favorite essences:
- MISSHA – Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence; $26
- PURITO – Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence; $16
Invest In A Good Serum
If you want to skip the essence, that’s completely fine, however, try to at least invest in a good serum in order to deliver a potent mixture of revitalizing and moisturizing ingredients that will work to soothe that dry, winter skin.
Serums are skincare products that have a light consistency of active ingredients with smaller molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver their moisturizing benefits.
Serums are great tools for targeting specific skincare concerns such as wrinkles, dryness, cracked skin, hyper-pigmentation, dehydration, and others.
Here are a few of my favorite serums for winter skin:
- The Ordinary – Marine Hyaluronics; $7
- The Ordinary – Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydration Support; $7
- iUNIK – Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum; $13
- iUNIK – Beta-Glucan Power Moisture Serum; $25
Switch To A Thicker Moisturizer
You may have found a moisturizer that works just fine in spring in summer, however, as the weather conditions change, so does your skin.
And so should your skincare routine.
Switching to a moisturized that is slightly thicker than the one you typically use in summer will help protect your skin barrier by creating a protective layer that retains more moisture.
Still, I think that oils can be the absolute devils of skincare so I absolutely advise you to stay away from those, however, a properly formulated moisturizer that will not clog your pores but will still do a great job in keeping your skin protected and moisturized will be the ideal solution to treat your dry, winter skin.
- First Aid – Beauty Ultra Repair Cream; $12
- The Ordinary – Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA; $8
- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturiser; $20
Protection Is Crucial
Even on bright, winter days, the snow reflects the sun’s rays and increases your risk of sun exposure and all the bad stuff that comes along with that.
That means whether you’re out on the slopes, playing in the snow, or just walking on the street on an errand run, it’s just as important to be applying sunscreen and protect your skin in the harsh winter weather.
And don’t be fooled by dark and grey winter days, either. The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still induce skin damage on a cellular level.
Therefore, always apply your broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed areas of your body, especially your face.
My current favorites:
- Paula’s Choice – Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF30; $29
- Paula’s Choice – RESIST Skin Restoring Moisturizer SPF 50; $33
- COSRX – Aloe Soothing Sun Cream; $16
Hydration is important, and there is certainly a lack of that during the harsh weather conditions that typically come with winter.
You’ve just finished reading my skincare tips for winter that teach you how to prevent excessive dryness and discomfort during the most charming, but also the harshest season of all.
Additionally, if you are currently struggling with a skin condition or a concern you want to tackle, hit me up so we can work on it together!
Trying to cope with my obnoxious acne breakouts forced me into finding a solution to my problem by pursuing a career in the beauty industry. Today, I’m a certified esthetician & I’m passionate about sharing what I know to help you achieve healthy, glowing skin. You can learn more about me here.