It is not necessary that winter has to be the season of your skin’s discontentment. Just follow this guidance from top dermatologists and your skin will look great no matter what the calendar says.
- SWITCH CLEANERS
Winter isn’t the season for soaps, which can leave your skin dried out, says Christine Choi Kim, MD, a skin specialist from California. Instead use creamy, hydrating cleaners, that put moisture back into the skin. Here are
- TAKE SHORT, LUKEWARM SHOWERS
“It’s alluring to take a hot shower when it’s freezing outside, but that’s the exact opposite of what your skin needs,” says Philadelphia skin specialist Nazanin Saedi, MD. Hot water can cause the skin to dry out by striping the natural oils. Instead, Dr. Saedi recommends keeping water temps on the slightly warm side and making it quick (5 to 10 minutes, tops) when you’re in the tub.
- OPT FOR ULTRA-HYDRATION
The regular runny moisturizer will not work in the winter. “Make sure to use a cream, instead of lotion,” says NYC skin specialist Doris Day. Look for ingredients in the moisturizer which includes hyaluronic acid and glycerin, says Dr. Kim, which will make moisturizers more effective, but not necessarily heavier.
- MOISTURIZE REGULARLY
Twice a day, both morning and night. Enough said. Moisturizing is especially important for skin itching and redness.
- MOISTURIZE AT THE RIGHT TIME
Studies show that moisturizing immediately after washing is significantly better than not applying moisture at all or applying it long after showering, says NYC skin specialist Joshua Zeichner. Stash your body moisturizer in your shower, in winter months, so you can apply it directly to damp skin before you step out of the steam.
- SCALE BACK ON SCRUBS
Exfoliating dry skin makes it look more human and less snakelike in the small term. But scrubbing daily causes swelling that makes dry skin even drier (and flakier, and itchier) over time. If you exfoliate just once a week–and prevent irritation by washing with creamy, hydrating cleaners before you scrub–your skin will look smoother in the long run, says Dr. Zeichner
7. USE SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY
“Sunscreen is totally a must in wintertime,” says Dr. Kim. The snow reflects UV rays as well (especially at higher heights) so she advises being extra careful about protecting your skin while participating in winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
8. KEEP LIP BALMS HANDY
Cold wind and dry indoor heat reduce your lips’ natural rich barrier. The lips have no oil glands of their own to keep them hydrated. Simple solutions like petroleum jelly can create a rich coating that will prevent and treat cracked and dry lips. Avoid licking your lips too, since the enzymes in saliva can increase irritation, causing swelling and even cracking, says NYC skin specialist Jessica Weiser.
9. USE SLEEP MASKS
Overnight masks create a pervious seal on top of your skin that makes anything underneath it penetrate better, says Dr. Day. You can apply other hydrators (serums, oils) first, then coat all of that with a thick layer of a sleep mask, and it will help everything soak in more effectively.
10. GET STEAMED
There are some real beauty benefits of humidifiers, says Dr. Bank. “By soaking in the air with moisture, they help comfort dry, itchy, cracked skin.”
11. PROTECT SKIN FROM SCRATCHY FABRICS
A wool sweater may keep you warm, but wearing outfits fashioned of rough fibers directly next to your skin can irritate sensitive skin. To prevent fabric friction, layer a soft cotton tee underneath to provide protection.