When the weather turns chilly, there’s no better time than the present to get a refresher on winter skin care. With all the dry winter air in the colder months, it’s time to evaluate your skin care routine and address any issues your skin might not face during warmer months.
Let’s take a deep dive into why the winter season often goes hand-in-hand with dry skin and figure out the best winter skin care routine for you — one that’ll help you deal with dry winter skin safely and effectively. Read on and beat winter skin woes for good.
Why Winter Weather Affects Your Skin
Primarily, it’s all about the humidity. As temperatures drop and humidity levels fluctuate, your skin loses hydration much quicker. In fact, the cold and dry climate can rob your skin’s ability to hold moisture during winter by about 25 percent.1
Harsh winter weather isn’t the only thing to blame for this loss of moisture and weakening of your skin barrier. Your lifestyle changes in response to the winter months also play a role: more (or longer) exposure to hot water, changes in the fabrics you wear and the amount of water your drink, and frequent handwashing all contribute to stripping your skin of oils and natural moisture.2
The weather conditions and changes in your routine are all factors to consider as soon as you notice your skin reacting to all the changes. Read on for the visible effects the cold has on your skin, so you can address them with some effective, easy winter skin care tips.
Common Winter Skin Issues: Are You Experiencing These?
Hydration at the cellular level is essential to keeping skin supple. Because the skin barrier is weakened and lacks moisture, a host of skin discomforts may occur:
- Rougher skin texture
- Itchiness and/or irritation
- Dryness that can make pores and wrinkles more visible
- Flaking, or even painful cracking of the skin
- Burning sensation, or more sensitive skin than usual3
If you’re experiencing any of the above, it’s safe to say it’s high time you adopt some changes that can help you maintain healthy skin, even in the harshest weather. Here’s how you can do a winter skin care routine at home.
Humidifiers And Humectants: Tips To Follow for Healthy Winter Skin
Healthy skin tips for the cold winter months include changes in both your skincare product lineup as well as your lifestyle and bathroom habits. If you want to achieve hydrated skin that stays comfortable and clear throughout snow days and cold snaps, try the following.
Limit Shower Time and Temperature
As much as you’d love to languish in a hot shower after a long day out in the cold, exposing your skin to too much heat can dry it out even more. Limit your steamy shower to ten minutes, tops, and opt for a lukewarm shower (or even cooler water, if you can stand it).4
Invest in a Humidifier And Lower The Thermostat: Maximize Moisture And Avoid Dryness
A humidifier can help restore moisture levels in the air, which can also directly affect how well your skin retains moisture. Keep one running in your office, bedroom, or other areas you spend a lot of time in. As for your thermostat, as tempting as it is to crank up the heat, keeping it set to a comfortable level — no more than 72F — may help with your dry skin.5
Improve Your Diet And Water Intake
Ask your dermatologist or doctor about including more omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. These nutrients show promising effects in strengthening the skin barrier, helping it hold on to hydration. Aside from supplements, you can consider eating more avocado and other healthy fats — also key in supporting healthy skin.6
And, of course, drinking more water is essential. As tempting as it is to imbibe more warming liquids — coffee, tea, or even alcohol — try to drink in moderation, as these are diuretics (stimulants that can cause you to urinate more often). The more you pee, the more it messes with your hydration, resulting in a drier and more drab complexion.7
How To Modify Your Facial Skin Care Regimen for the Season
As for your winter skin care routine, you may need to take a closer look at your cleansing and moisturizing regimens and tweak them for the lower temps, so you can ensure maximum moisture retention. Here’s a quick step-by-step.
Choose A Cleanser Carefully: Opt for Gentle, Fragrance-Free Cleansers
Gentle cleansers are in all year round, but especially as soon as the weather turns. Read the label carefully — avoid any cleanser that contains harsh alcohol and astringents, which can further dry out skin. A nourishing cleanser can keep skin free of dirt and grime, while keeping it supple and comfortable.8
Focus on intensely hydrating formulas during this season — your dry skin will drink it up. Choose richer products (think emollient creams over lightweight lotions, especially when it comes to night cream) loaded with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides — these are key to providing long-lasting moisture.9
And don’t forget the delicate skin on your hands, either. While you can wear winter gloves outside, your hands often take a beating due to frequent hand washing and sanitizing. Take the time to apply a gentle — but very emollient– hand cream after each wash. You can also wear waterproof gloves when doing the dishes, so you can limit contact with hot water.10
Ease Up On Exfoliating
But don’t skip it completely, either, as you do need to remove dead skin cells to allow new layers of skin to resurface. If you’re using harsh physical scrubs, opt for a chemical-based exfoliator instead — something loaded with a good antioxidant content and hydroxy acids — that will do right by dry skin.11
Adapt And Glow
The winter season never lasts forever, but it’s still important to make sure your skin thrives regardless of the weather. With a few changes to your routine and product choices, you can still show off healthy and hydrated skin, and glow your way through cold, winter days.