Wintertime can wreak havoc on all skin types, but especially for skin that’s naturally on the dry side. Extremes in outdoor and indoor temperatures, wind, and lack of humidity in the air all take a toll, resulting in irritated, sometimes red, flaky, and lackluster skin.
Fortunately, a few adjustments can make all the difference, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get hydrated, glowing skin this time of year.
10 Essential Winter Skincare Tips Everyone Should Use
1. Get a good humidifier.
Indoor heating can sap moisture everywhere, but placing a humidifier in your bedroom will add moisture back into the air and help with not only dry skin but may even help to diminish allergies and sinus problems. If you have a whole house humidifier, that’s the best, but if not, a regular-sized one will still help moisturize and stave off itchy, dry skin.
Increasing moisture levels in the air replenishes dehydrated skin, so run your humidifier whenever you’re at home. There are even humidifiers that have essential oil diffusers incorporated into the design!
2. Drink more water.
Hydrate from the inside out and ditch the caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, and skin is the body’s largest organ. Internal hydration is even more effective than external hydration at keeping skin well-fed.
An easy calculation is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. A person weighing 150 pounds = 75 ounces of water/day. If you’re not a fan of plain water, try infusing it with fruit.
3. Don’t forget to exfoliate.
A common mistake when dry skin appears is to slather on more moisturizer. But the key to moisturizers working is to remove the barrier of dead skin.
Proper exfoliation, both physical (a gentle scrub) and chemical (with alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids), will allow any moisturizer or serum to be more easily absorbed into the skin.
Did you know that dry skin and dehydrated skin are completely different [source]? While dehydrated skin is a condition, it can often be remedied by increasing water intake, both internally and in topical water-based products.
Dry skin is a skin type lacking oil and usually involves dryness all over the scalp and body. Both dehydrated and dry skin can also lead to irritated or sensitive areas, so nourishing and hydrating products are crucial when combating wintertime weather.
Here are three recipes to try:
1. Mist throughout the day with an essential oil mineral face mist.
- Bottle of mineral water
- Essential oil
- Mist spray bottle
Great for dehydrated skin, this mineral water provides a nice pH balance for our skin and also helps us absorb minerals and needed water. Adding a few drops of an essential oil like geranium or lavender can be very beneficial for hydrating dehydrated skin.
Pour 1/2 cup of mineral water into a 4-ounce spray mister and add 6 drops of essential oil. Shake before each use and apply throughout the day as needed for added hydration.
2. Apply a hydrating Honey Mask weekly.
This moisturizing mask is a wonderful treat for dry skin that can be applied while enjoying a nice bath soak. Honey is a humectant, which means it retains moisture [source].
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant [source], and avocado oil builds collagen [source] and treats the dry patches [source] that sometimes pop up during the winter season. The triple nourishing combination of these ingredients makes it an ideal choice for dry skin.
-1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (about 3 vitamin E capsules)
-1 teaspoon honey
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and apply to your face and neck for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Follow with serum and moisturizer.
3. Make a rich moisturizing face oil.
Another DIY for dry skin, this facial oil is a cinch to make and extremely effective. Almond oil absorbs easily into the skin and yet is also light in consistency. It has been used to treat scarring, address dryness, and smooth surface skin [source]. Even if you feel you have an oily t-zone and are dry everywhere else, it’s still a good choice for an everyday facial moisturizer, especially in the dry winter months.
-Choose one of the following essential oils for your skin type: chamomile for sensitivity/redness/itchiness [source], lavender for dry or inflamed [source], ylang ylang for oily or irregular pigmentation [source]
Add 6 drops of essential oil for every ounce (30 mL) of almond oil. Keep the oil in a dark glass jar to retain its potency. Apply to clean skin 1–2 times a day. Follow with sun protection during the day.
5. Keep yourself covered.
Hide from the elements. When outside, cover your skin from the wind and snow by protecting it using scarves, hoods, face masks, and gloves.
6. Resist the urge to take a hot shower.
Avoid very hot water—yes, even on those extra cold mornings when it would feel so good to start the day with a steaming hot shower. Hot water saps the skin of moisture, so try to stick with warm instead. And after a bath or shower, always moisturize or slather on body oil as soon as you get out.
7. Use your sunscreen—always!
Even on those gloomy and gray days, keep using an SPF. You can still get skin damage from UV A and B rays and other wavelengths [source] during wintertime, regardless of the lack of sunshine. And sun damage is one of the greatest contributors to skin aging [source]. Here are some of our safe sunscreen picks.
8. Get some exercise.
It can seem like an easy decision to skip your exercise routine when you can’t go anywhere. But keep moving! Exercise is so important for our skin, mind, and body.
Search for exercise routines you can do at home. If you have stairs, run up and down them for 20 minutes. Don’t have weights? Used canned goods. Mat pilates routines typically need no equipment.
9. Lip balm.
Don’t go to bed without lip balm! Lips can get chapped or cracked during the winter months, and the battle to keep moisture in can be fought with a hydrating lip balm or chapstick. You can even make your own if you’re feeling crafty; it’s one of the easiest cosmetics to DIY.
10. Change up your routine.
Yes, you need to update your routine for fall and winter! If you are used to using a gel or foaming cleanser, reach for a cream cleanser instead. Add in a facial oil to your nightly routine, or look for products with hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture.
An Esthetician’s Daily Skincare Routine for Winter
As an esthetician, I have a strict policy of never recommending a product to a client or friend without using it myself. I am a firm believer in “do as I do,” not “do as I say.” When I recommend increasing your water intake, you can bet that I am right there with you increasing my own.
My skincare routine changes seasonally, but if you have ever wondered what products an esthetician uses for herself, here’s a peek into my medicine cabinet for the winter months. Keep in mind that I have dry skin, I am 37 years old, I am working on lightening some minor pigmentation caused by sun damage, and I am constantly battling those fine lines around my eyes. Let’s go!
My Morning Skincare Routine
Cleanse & tone. Whatever I applied the night before will determine how I cleanse my skin in the morning. If I need a deep cleanse to remove a sleeping mask, I will reach for Bioelements Flash Foam Cleanser.
Other times, I will only cleanse with Son & Park Beauty Water, applied with unbleached cotton squares, to gently clean and exfoliate my skin. Whether I use a foaming cleanser or not, I always use the beauty water with the cotton squares before the next step.
Treat. Vitamin C serum comes next, and right now I am using one by a beautiful brand called Odacite An Autumn on the World. They have a wonderful program where you can order 3 samples and just pay for the shipping. In the past, I have also loved SkinCeuticals and their vitamin C products.
Eyes. Eye cream is one item I never skip, day or night. I am currently using Arcona’s Eye Dew in the morning.
Protect. Tinted sunscreen during the winter months has to be hydrating since I am on the dry side, so I am a huge fan of Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Tinte. Generally, I do not use an additional moisturizer since this sunscreen is very hydrating and leaves my skin looking radiant and dewy.
My Nighttime Skincare Routine
Cleanse. I begin with an oil cleansing by using Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil because I am sensitive to fragrances and love how plain this one smells. I apply it to dry skin, and it removes all of my makeup. Once I massage the cleanser all over my face and eyes, I will add a little water and keep massaging.
To remove, I use these amazing washcloths, which I soak with water, squeezing out the excess so they are just damp. Next, I will cleanse a second time using either my Flash Foam Cleanser from the morning or Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, which is soap-free.
Tone. When it comes to toner, I have several in my arsenal that I reach for:
–Bioelements Equalizer is one I pick when my skin is feeling a little unbalanced—dry in some areas, congested in others.
–Eau Thermale Avene is my go-to when I want to drench my skin in hydration.
–Odacite Aloe + Immortelle Mist is great for soothing my skin if it feels irritated.
–Caudalie Beauty Elixir is a staple in my medicine cabinet—I choose this when I want to feel refreshed.
Treat. Several times a week, I use a glycolic serum to treat unevenness in my complexion and help exfoliate dead skin. I find my products penetrate much better when I am regularly exfoliating.
Several times a week, usually on the off nights of my glycolic serum, I will use a micro-needler. Just recently, I began using the GloPRO to test and report back to clients my findings, and so far I’m a fan. I will add that I am also constantly trying new serums with retinol, peptides, or other targeted ingredients, and it is during this step that I will use one of these.
Hydrate. I have quite a few oils that I regularly reach for, and some nights those will be the only form of hydration I use. I have been known to mix and match a few drops of them together as well. Sea Buckthorn Oil, Marula Oil, and Odacite Acai-Rose Serum are some of my current favorites.
Moisturize. On evenings when I need an extra dose of hydration, I will use Embryolisse Crème Riche hydrating cream.
Eyes. The two eye creams I reach for most are Bioelements Sleepwear for Eyes, which has topical calcium and hyaluronic acid, and Eminence Organics Bearberry Eye Repair. I am a fan of rich, thick eye creams because that area can never be too moisturized, in my opinion.
Now that you’ve had a peek into my typical daily skincare routine, I would love to know the one must-have product you can’t live without—leave a comment below so I can check it out!
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Gina Jansheski, a licensed, board-certified physician who has been practicing for more than 20 years. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.62
Katherine Stribakos says
Great tips! I live in Chicago and during our cold/dry winters exfoliation, moisturizers, and hydrating mists are SO key.
wow. this is a very educative article, i will always visit for more amazing treats. thanks for publishing this.
What about Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone) and Silica Dimethyl Silylate in the Bioelements
Sleepwear For Eyes cream? Isn’t silicone bad for our skin-care?
Butylene Glycol in SON & PARK Beauty Water? -> its been said that in small amount might not harm us, but we do use a cleanser quite a lot? Also PEG-7 Caprylic/Capric Glyceride -> it can cause irritation and system toxicity if used on damaged skin..??
I didn’t see anything wrong with ingredients in ARCONA Eye Dew but is it because is not as nutritional as the night one eye creams which you mentioned?
And againPeg -100 Stearate in Embryolisse Creme Riche Hydratante – Rich Hydrating Cream?
Could you explain me why this ingredients are in face cosmetics, if they are causing irritations and are harmful chemicals?
Burt Bees Radiance night cream works for me. It is rich but not greasy and in the morning my skin looks so good and glowy. I am 70 and my skin is wrinkle free.????