How to Save Your Skin From These Top Winter Woes

Glow baby glow.

By Katherine Fluor
winter skincare and haircare tips

Seasonal weather changes often wreak havoc on your skin and hair — our glowy, sunkissed skin and textured beach waves have already turned dry, itchy, and irritated all over by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Hat hair, anyone?

It can feel like there’s no escape from the cold weather pitfalls: windy, icy conditions outside can leave our skin feeling raw and damaged, while the indoor heat zaps moisture from the air… and our skin.

But there are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin, including some easy changes to your everyday routine. With the holidays around the corner, we’ll try just about anything to keep our skin glowing!

We’ve broken down the most common winter skin problems that you may encounter below, along with expert tricks and tips to keep in mind when it comes to effective skincare. Because you’re on the nice list, right? Which means you deserve soft, flawless skin – all season long.

camille styles olay retinol24 skincarephoto by catherine sanderson

For dry, flakey skin:

There are many simple ways to combat the causes of dry, flakey skin in the winter and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all season long, including some easy changes to your everyday routine. We talked with True Botanicals founder Hillary Peterson to get the scoop on how she keeps her dewy glow going strong. “One of the best things that you can do for dry winter skin is to not cleanse your face in the morning but rather rinse with tepid water. No matter how gentle, cleansing by nature is slightly drying and our skin has been building up what it needs overnight to function at its best, so a rinse is really all that you need!” she says.

It may be tempting to take a long, steamy shower in the winter, but your skin will be much better-served with a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). Excessively hot water dehydrates the skin. If the water you use on your skin is too hot, it will dilate capillaries in order to cool itself, resulting in red, dry, and flakey skin.

After taking a not-quite-so-hot shower, blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin. When you step out of a hot shower, water evaporates quickly, taking with it some of the moisture on the surface of your skin. I would hydrate and moisturize with: Renew Nutrient Mist, the Pure Radiance Oil that is best for your skin type, and Moisture Lock Lip Balm—our favorites for glowing skin, especially during the drier months”, Hillary says.

ty haney bathroom beauty products skincarephoto by kristen kilpatrick

Remember, the best winter moisturizer for you depends on your type of skin. 

If you have normal to combination skin, try Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Cream, a rich formula that feels like velvet and won’t make you look patchy, even in cold winds. If you have dry skin, try Shiseido’s rich Benefiance Cream. And if you are breakout-prone, try 37 Actives, a moisturizer formula by Dr. Macrene-Alexiades that contains lipids without oil or petrolatum. You could also try Belif’s True Cream Aqua Bomb, a cult Korean skin-care favorite that’s a gel-to-cream moisturizer, so it doesn’t feel too heavy. If your skin is very, very dry, Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank suggests you try applying a light layer of an emollient moisturizer like Aquaphor, which seals in moisture, followed by another cream moisturizer on top.

Also keep in mind that the drier the air, the drier your skin. To maximize the amount of water in the air, we recommend placing a humidifier in your bedroom. A cool air humidifier like this one increases the moisture level in the air, helping skin’s barrier stay hydrated. In addition, be sure the heat is kept on low or at a moderate temperature to avoid extra dryness in the air.

the skincare routine of this korean beauty expertimage by winnie au

For itchy, red skin:

The natural elements that come with winter air can leave your skin feeling and looking red and raw. Hillary Peterson’s personal tips for dealing with itchy, red skin:

“If you are exercising outside before your morning shower, make sure you apply a layer of a non-comedogenic oil (I use the Pre Cleanse oil, but plain jojoba oil is good too) to your face to protect it from the elements.  When you return and are getting ready for your day, simply wipe your face off with a soft, wet washcloth. You will return from exercising with much happier skin! I also recommend applying Moisture Lock Overnight Mask over face oil and under sunscreen before exposure to the elements (such as a day of skiing) to support barrier function and to help prevent red, chapped cheeks,” she says.

bath salts and essential products for the perfect bath

Also, bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt or a magnesium flake bath is not only relaxing, it’s also proven to help skin retain moisture.  And I love adding relaxing essential oils such as bergamot, lavender, and jasmine. It is one of my favorite winter rituals. Just as Karen Blixen said: “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

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For chapped lips:

The skin on our lips is incredibly thin and lacks a strong, protective barrier—this makes it more susceptible to external aggressors like dry winter air, and prevents it from holding onto moisture.

Two rituals we rely on:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: A gentle sloughing with a wet washcloth a few times a week gets rid of patchy dryness and reveals softer, smoother, healthier lips.
  • Moisture, Moisture, Moisture: Most lip balms are made with toxins like petroleum jelly or animal-based ingredients like beeswax. Sustainable palm wax, a key ingredient in True Botanicals Moisture Lock Lip Balm, gets the job done while being both clean and vegan—not to mention it also contains hyaluronic acid!

this post originally ran in November, 2019