If there is ever a time to treat our skin with a little extra TLC, it should be during the winter when frigid temperatures, icy winds and plummeting humidity are in full effect. Your skin isn't safe indoors either as the heat which feels nice and toasty on your body can really zap the moisture right out of it. Fortunately there are measures that we can take to soothe and banish dry, itchy and cracked winter skin.
A long steamy shower or bath might seem like a good idea to warm up but prolonged exposure to hot water strips the moisture from your skin. Tepid temps and limiting the time to under 10 minutes are a better bet. If you don't want to give up your baths, try adding some colloidal oatmeal and oil to soothe your skin. Also be careful not to over-wash your hands during the winter.
Change up your cleansers
Give up the harsh soaps with detergent and heavy fragrances and any products with alcohol. There are many cream, balm and oil cleansers out there these days that add a boost of hydration and are also suitable even for those with oily skin.
For the face: Ren Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm // Boots No. 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Balm // DHC Deep Cleansing Oil // The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil, Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Milk // Vichy Labratories Purete Thermale Intensive Cleansing Milk
For the body: Kiehls Creme de Corp Nurturing Body Washing Cream // CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser // L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil // Weleda Creamy Body Wash, Body Shop Cocoa Butter Creamy Body Wash // Aveda Beautifying Crème Cleansing Oil
Choose your moisturizers wisely
Switch up those lotions for creams preferably one that contains ceramides. The emollients in heavier moisturizers hydrate more intensely and will help form a barrier on your skin to retain moisture longer. Be sure to apply them when your skin is still slightly damp to bind the moisture to your skin.
For the face: Embryolisse Lait Crème Concentraté // Dr. Haushka Rose Day Cream // Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream // Avene Rich Compensating Cream // Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Fortifying Hydrator // S.W. Basics Cream
For the body: Dr. Jart Ceramidin Oil Balm // CeraVe Moisturizing Cream // Body Shop Shea Body Butter // Boots No. 7 Cocooning Body Balm // Skinfix Body Repair Balm // Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream
For the hands: Supergoop Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn Broad Spectrum SPF 40 // Kiehls Ultimate Strength Hand Salve // Soap & Glory Endless Glove 2-in-1 Moisture Mask & Hand Cream // Aveda Hand Relief Cream // Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector // ShiKai Borage Therapy Hand Cream
Oils applied topically are wonderful as they create a protective layer that holds onto water better thereby helping your skin to rebalance itself quicker. There are many good commercial beauty oil options on the market these days but if you want to go natural, you can look for pure coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil or vitamin E oil and jojoba oil.
For the face: RMS Beauty Beauty Oil, Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend // Oli Biologique Huile Moderne 004 Hydrating Oil // Sonia Kashuk Radiant Boost Restorative Facial Oil // Body Shop Olive Beautifying Oil // Boots Botanics Facial Oil
For the body: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-purpose Dry Oil // Fresh Sugar Ultra Nourishing Body Oil // Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Oil // Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil // Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Coconut Oil // OGX Hydrating Dry Body Oil
Don't be afraid to exfoliate your skin especially if it is chapped or flaking. With extreme dry skin there is a buildup of dead cells and light exfoliation will revitalize your skin while promoting cell turnover so moisturizers can go to work. Cleansing with a gentle exfoliator followed by a milk or cream cleanser is a great way to banish patchy dry skin.
For the face: One Love Organics Brand New Day Microderma Scrub & Masque // Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder // Fresh Soy Face Exfoliant // Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub // Mario Badescu Strawberry Face Scrub
For the body: Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Body Wash // Juara Invogortaing Coffee Scrub // Kiehls Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish // Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body Scrub // Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub // S.W. Basics Body Scrub
Put a mask on it
The new crop of sleep masks are really a good thing and so easy to use. Slather one on right before bed, let it do it's thing overnight and wake up to dewy replenished skin.
To try: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask // Dr. Jart Water Fuse Water Max Sleeping Mask // Boscia Tsubaki Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask // Garnier Ultra Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream // Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Sleeping Facial // Kiehls Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask
Drink plenty and drink often
Drinking ample amounts of water will help to replenish the moisture lost from your body/skin and also flush out unwanted toxins. Be wary of drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they can dry you from the inside out.
Hydrate with food
Consuming foods rich in healthy fats like oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout) nuts and avocados and vegetables with a high water content like cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, radishes and broccoli can provide a moisture boost as well as nourish your skin and body.
Take your supplements
Omega-3 fish oils supplements are not only good for your heart but they can also help to regulate the skin's production of oil and prevent wrinkles while reducing inflammation.
To try: Nature Made Flaxseed Oil 1000 mg Soft Gels
Add moisture back into your air
Counteract the low humidity due to cold air and overheated spaces by using a humidifier. Try using a cool mist model at night in your bedroom with the door closed to maintain a healthy level of moisture. Your skin and your nasal passages will thank you.
Skip the fragrance
Perfumes containing alcohol can mess with your skin's moisture levels. Try fragrance oils instead if you can't stand to be without your favorite scent.
Don't forget your SPF
The sun may not feel hot but it's still as harsh as ever during the winter. UV rays can reflect off the snow just as they do the sand and water during the summer so make sure you apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to your face and any exposed areas before heading outdoors. And reapply if you're out there for awhile.
To try: La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt in Sunscreen Milk // Suntegrity Sunscreen Face Protection SPF 30 // Supergoop Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen with Olive Polyphenols Broad Spectrum SPF 40 // Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion // MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut // Alba Botanic Hawaiian Green Tea Sunscreen SPF 45
What do you do to stave off dry winter skin? I can't imagine winter without my humidifier.
Photo: Song Hye Kyo for Laneige