When the weather outside is frightful, it can feel like your skin is heading quickly in that direction, too. Below-freezing temperatures (and the dry indoor heat we use to combat them) are some of our skin’s worst enemies. If you’re battling cracked knuckles, a flaky face or just all-around irritation, a few simple swaps in your routine can make a big difference. Here are a few of our favorite winter skincare tips to help you deal with dry winter skin.
1. Switch to a gentler facial cleanser.
If the summertime heat turns your face into an oil slick, you’re likely used to using harsher cleansers that strip it clean. Now’s not the time to fight your skin’s natural oils (and the drier air is likely slowing its oil production, anyway). Look for a cleanser labeled “gentle” or “suitable for sensitive skin,” and as always, try to go fragrance-free. Our Quench Cleanse is a creamy formula that easily cleanses away impurities while creating a healthy shield that locks moisture in.
2. Update your moisturizer.
If a light, water-based lotion is your go-to in the warmer months, you may notice it’s not quite doing the trick when the temperature drops. If that’s the case, look for a winter alternative that features hydrating oils to retain more moisture. Our Skin Therapy is packed with safflower oil and pomegranate sterols to hydrate skin cells, plus oat protein to soothe inflamed skin.
And since skincare shouldn’t stop at your face, make sure to swap out your body moisturizer for something a bit more high-powered, too. Opt for rich creams and ointments rather than lotions, which tend to be lighter and better suited for summer. Our Creme of the Crop is a decadent choice, with protective ingredients like African shea butter and lavender water.
3. Avoid alcohol-based skincare products.
If your skincare routine typically includes a toner or astringent, take a close look at the ingredients label. Keep an eye out for alcohol, especially ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and denatured alcohol (‘alcohol denat.’). While these ingredients are a red flag at any time of year, they’re especially harsh and drying during the winter. Consider switching to a product featuring natural astringents like green tea or witch hazel when you feel like your skin could use a little extra oil reduction – though it’s probably safe to skip this step altogether while the air is extra dry.
4. Don’t skip the SPF.
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it a thousand times – SPF isn’t just for summer days! Whether you’re hitting the slopes from dawn or just walking from your car into work, the sun has a chance to reflect off the snow and right onto your exposed skin. But don’t let your guard down on those grey days, either. Harmful UV rays can easily permeate the cloud layer, causing damage. Just like any other time of year, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen like our Perfect Sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
5. Don’t sit around in wet clothes.
This might sound like common sense, but think about the last time you came in from shoveling: did you change immediately, or take a few minutes to relax on the couch? (Don’t worry – we’ve done it, too!) Wet gloves, pants, and socks can irritate already compromised skin and cause even more discomfort. Try keeping an extra pair of socks at work in case of a particularly soggy commute, and fight the urge to head right to the bar after a sweaty day on the slopes. We promise the après scene will still be there when you’re warm and dry!
6. Fight the urge to steam up the shower.
After a long day in a sub-zero office or a particularly intense snowball fight with the kids, we’ve all turned the shower into an in-home steam room. But cranking up the heat is actually pretty damaging to your skin. Especially in the winter months, hot water evaporates off the skin quickly, leaving small cracks that can end up feeling like dozens of tiny paper cuts. Not worth it! Instead, keep the water at lukewarm for showers, baths, and handwashing. A good rule of thumb: if it turns your skin red, it’s too hot.
7. Use a humidifier.
Waking up with a dry mouth and skin like the Sahara doesn’t have to be the norm during the chilly season! Beyond adding moisture directly to your skin, try plugging in a humidifier to add some moisture to the air. Try setting a standard size next to your bed for overnight hydration, or place a compact humidifier on your desk for a workday pick-me-up.