The Best Winter Skin Care Tips

The Best Winter Skin Care Tips

Dry, cracked, itchy skin is common during the winter months, but with a few simple adjustments to your skin care routine, you can eliminate these unwanted seasonal symptoms.

Your skin faces unique challenges during the colder months. As temperatures drop, so do outdoor humidity levels. That’s because air holds less water in cooler conditions. Indoors, humidity also tends to decrease during winter as forced-air heating units, fireplaces, space heaters, and wood burners zap moisture from the air.

This results in a double assault to your epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin that tends to reflect the humidity levels around it. Low levels of humidity cause moisture to evaporate from your skin’s outer layer, resulting in a dry, dull, or even flaky complexion.

Other symptoms of dry skin you may experience during the winter include:

  • Redness

  • Skin that feels tight after bathing or swimming

  • Skin that feels and/or appears rough

  • Slight to severe flaking, peeling, or scaling

  • Gray or ashy-looking skin

  • Small cracks

Dry Winter Skin Care Tips

So what is the best skin care routine for winter? Fortunately, we have some helpful tips to keep your skin looking and feeling vibrant during these colder months. Choose the tips below that work for you, and start enjoying a healthier glow.

Hook up a humidifier. Harvard Health recommends setting a humidifier to around 60% in the winter. That level helps replenish moisture on the top layer of the skin (the epidermis).

Winterize your bathing routine. Hot, steamy showers may seem tempting in winter, but high water temperatures can strip your skin of its much-needed natural oils.

  • Opt for lukewarm water and aim for no more than one daily shower or bath of about 10 minutes or fewer.

  • Avoid soaps and skin care products that contain harsh ingredients such as artificial fragrances, which can further dry out the skin.

  • Consider skipping the soap altogether and opt instead for a fragrance-free moisturizing wash.

  • Be gentle. Avoid applying a lot of pressure or using bath brushes with rough bristles.

  • Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing to reduce moisture loss.

Find a moisturizer that works for you. “What should I put on my face for winter weather?” is a common question posed to dermatologists. One recommendation is to opt for a winter cream-based moisturizer that contains more oil than lotion, which is better suited for the summer months. These relatively thick creams are often found in tubs or tubes, not pump bottles. Look for skin-repairing ceramides on the ingredients list, too.

Some people even prefer to use straight oils such as coconut, olive, or jojoba on their skin.

If you’re still not seeing results, you may need an ointment, which is thicker than creams. Ointments, many of which are petroleum-based, adhere to skin to protect it against the harshest winter conditions.

Don’t skip on sunscreen. Look for a moisturizing sunscreen that’s been reviewed favorably by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that analyzes the safety of ingredients and releases an annual Guide to Sunscreens. These are the best sunscreens with moisturizer, according to its guide.

Eat carotenoid-rich foods. Never underestimate the power of food. Natural compounds called “carotenoids” are responsible for the hues in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These same compounds can help brighten up gray, ashy skin suffering from the moisture-zapping qualities of winter.

Work the following carotenoid-rich foods into your meals to help give your skin a winter boost:

  • Winter squash, including pumpkin and butternut squash

  • Carrots

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Tomatoes

  • Pumpkin

  • Spinach

  • Turnip greens

  • Collard greens

  • Citrus fruits

  • Cantaloupe

  • Red peppers

  • Papaya

Make time to destress. Regardless of the time of the year, it’s important to build stress-reducing practices into your day to protect your skin. According to the University of Utah, the skin contains receptors for the stress hormone, cortisol. When activated, they increase skin inflammation and make it more difficult for the skin to heal.

Try new self care techniques to bring more relaxation and mindfulness into your daily routine. One convenient way to incorporate more self care into your life is through the AdaRose Spa in a Box. In addition to providing guidance on stress reduction, it also supports your skin through an at-home facial led by a Licensed Esthetician.

Other winter hacks to reduce skin irritation. The University of Cincinnati Medical Center's UC Health recommends the following tips to further protect your skin in the winter.

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps to keep your skin’s pH balance in check, and protects skin elasticity.

  • Eat almonds and avocados in moderation. They’re both rich in vitamin E, which provides antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals, which play a role in cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. Both foods also contain beneficial fats.

  • Avoid using synthetically-fragranced laundry detergents to prevent skin irritation.

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