Top 10 Winter Skincare Tips for Dry Skin – how to beat dry skin for life

We know that as the season changes, we have to adapt. More sunblock in the summer and layering up in the winter. Some changes must be included in our routines though, starting with a new winter skincare regiment!

Person in the winter touching their skin
Cold can wreck havoc on your skin –Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

Sometimes, our skincare routine has to be seasonal too, especially if you have dry skin!

And as someone that has had dry skin, you can bet there are ways to improve the skin, and even reduce dryness in the long run.

Keep reading to learn the top 5 tips to keep skin healthy and plump in the winter!!

Why Does Skin Dry Out More in the Winter

When you think cold, your first thought may not be dry, especially if you live somewhere with snow.

However, in the winter, there may be less moisture in the air. This causes moisture loss from the upper layer of your skin.

The heat from furnaces can also cause dryness.

This also means humectant ingredients that draw in water from the air into the skin will not be as effective.

Your face, hands, feet, and other areas exposed to the air can all be affected, becoming flakier and dryer, or even becoming red, itchy, or irritated, hence the need for winter skincare.

Winter Skincare to Prevent Dryness

Here are the top ten tips to reduce and even eliminate dryness in the skin, especially in the winter!

Moisturize When the Skin is Still Damp

Moisturize as soon as you step out of the shower, while the skin is still damp. This ensures the moisturizer penetrates deep into the layers of the skin.

This also helps to seal in that dampness on your skin in.

You usually use warmer water in the shower as well, which can open your pore and further let treatment and moisture in.

Use Ceramides

Ceramides are an essential ingredient in skincare, and can actually improve dryness long term.

Ceramides are lipids found in the skin, making up about 40% of your skin layer. When used in moisturizers, creams, or serums, they can help restore and repair the skin barrier.

Improving the skin by improving the ceramide levels in it is a great way to reduce dryness, not only in the winter but for life. They are an essential addition to any winter skincare routine.

Use Sunscreen

Sunblock in a winter skincare routine? It’s more likely than you think.

Many individuals may actually experience more sunburns in the winter due to not using sunblock, but even more so, from the reflection of the sun on the snow.

The reflection of UV rays from the sun on the snow have just as much impact on your skin as direct sunlight.

Make sure you are using sunblock on all parts that are exposed when you go outside to protect the skin!

Seal Your Skincare in with Emollients

As a final step in your skincare routine, after serums and moisturizing, it may be very beneficial to seal the skin in a protective layer that traps moisture in.

That can be an emollient, which has a soothing and softening effect on the skin due to its ability to fill in gaps between the skin cells and protective properties. 

An emollient can be silicones, mineral oil, petrolatum, or facial oils.

Ingredients for product labels as emollients include different oils, shea butter, cocoa butter, and other lipids.

Don’t Shower with Hot Water

And no, I’m not telling you to shower with cold water in the winter. That legitimately sounds dangerous.

Excessively hot water though can strip the skin of essential oils and lipids that protect the skin. This can cause the skin to feel drier and flakier than usual, especially in the winter.

During the shower, avoid harsh scrubbing, and only lightly pat the skin dry. Keep some dampness for that moisturizing step!

Remove Irritants from Skincare

Some ingredients in your skincare can cause excess redness, irritation, and dryness.

Try to remove fragrance from skincare in general, particularly if you have sensitive skin to begin with.

This includes removing it from your body wash and laundry detergent. Fragrance may cause the skin to be more sensitive, increasing flakiness and dryness in the winter.

Another ingredient to avoid is alcohol in skincare. While some have a hydrating effect, others, such as dent alcohol, cause dryness in the skin. 

Exfoliate Less

While exfoliating can have great results on the skin, exfoliating in the winter may cause more harm than good.

Mechanical exfoliates, like scrubs, may worsen itchiness, redness, and inflammation of the skin on the face and body.

Likewise, chemical exfoliates can strip the skin of essential oils and moisture that the skin needs to stay healthy and hydrated.

In general, when the skin is irritated or sensitive, try to back off on exfoliating, reducing it to once a week (or even once a month!). 

Increase Water Intake 

When you increase water intake, you can increase the hydration of the skin. This may be a subtle tip, but a little goes a long way!

Try to listen to your body closely, and pay attention to when you are thirsty. Scientists say that thirst and hunger are easily confused, as we tend to neglect the cues from our bodies when we are busy.

Eat food that is high in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids, as these can help the body develop healthy skin cells.

Hydration comes from within. Even the food you eat contains water. Did you know even solid foods like rice and beans contain water to hydrate you?

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

While alcohol can be a tasty treat to drink socially, alcohol consumption can actually dehydrate the skin.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes the body to remove fluid and flush them to your kidneys and out of your system through the bladder. However, this may not be the main reason alcohol causes dehydration.

To break down alcohol and process it, the body uses water. 

Try a Humidifier

Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture into the air of your home, allowing humectants in your skincare routine to really draw in moisture from the air.

In the winter, a humidifier setting of about 60% can replenish moisture in the top layer of your skin, even without the use of a humectant.

Wear Comfortable, Natural Fabrics

Some fabrics such as wool can irritate the skin. At any time of the year, rough clothing can cause redness, roughness, and flakiness in the skin.

Try to wear softer, looser clothing to reduce physical friction on the skin. 

Use detergents that are for sensitive skin to avoid chemicals and fragrances that may further damage the skin, leading to dryness and inflammation. 

The Takeaway

The skin is one of the largest organs in the body and provides physical protection against the elements.

But it also needs protecting.

Step up your skincare routine by moisturizing at the right time and including vital ingredients such as ceramides and emollients.

Take steps to reduce irritation such as removing harsh chemicals and fragrances, and bathing with lukewarm water.

Health starts from within, so hydrate properly, eat a nutritious diet, and watch wellbeing and wellness flourish!

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