The cold, dry air of winter can wreak havoc on your skin. As the humidity drops, your skin loses moisture and may become dry, flaky, irritated, and itchy. Additionally, harsh winter winds and frequent temperature changes from going in and out can cause redness.
Implementing a smart winter skincare routine is crucial for protecting and nourishing your skin during the colder months. Below are 10 essential skincare tips for winter to help you keep your skin healthy, glowing and hydrated all season long.
1. Moisturize More
One of the golden rules of winter skincare is to moisturize more. The dry air actually pulls moisture from your skin faster, so you need richer moisturizers to replenish it. Look for moisturizers labeled “extra-hydrating” or “for dry skin” and apply them liberally each morning and night.
Focus extra moisture on the driest parts of your body. Apply healing ointments, balms and oils to chronically dry spots like hands, feet, elbows and knees before bed. Also, layer a hydrating serum underneath your regular moisturizer for an extra moisture boost.
2. Exfoliate Gently
Dry winter skin can build up and cause dullness. Gently exfoliating removes dead skin cells and improves moisture absorption. However, harsh exfoliators can damage your skin’s moisture barrier and cause irritation in the winter.
Opt for gentle scrubs with soft microbeads or chemical exfoliators like lactic acid a few times per week. Avoid abrasive scrubs and over-exfoliating, which can make dryness worse. Also, limit exfoliating to 1-2 times a week max to prevent inflammation.
3. Choose Gentler Cleansers
Harsh soaps and cleansers can strip away your skin’s natural oils. To avoid dryness and irritation, switch to creamy, hydrating cleansers without sulfates, alcohol or fragrances. Wash with lukewarm water instead hot, and avoid over-washing your face more than twice a day.
Also, consider adding an oil, balm or milk cleanser to your routine. These nourish while gently removing dirt and buildup. After cleansing, pat a few drops of facial oil into damp skin to reinforce your moisture barrier.
4. Drink More Water
Proper hydration is crucial for healthy, glowing skin all year round. In winter, however, it’s especially key. Heating systems create dry air in most homes and buildings during winter. All that moisture sucked from your skin must be replaced by drinking more water.
Aim for at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Consider adding moisture-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups to your diet too. Herbal teas also count towards your daily fluid intake. One of the easiest ways to remember is to carry a reusable water bottle with you.
5. Boost Your Skin Vitamins
Nutrient-dense foods feed your skin from the inside out. Focus on keeping your diet rich in skin-loving vitamins and antioxidants all winter long. Vitamins C and E are particularly great for guarding and repairing winter skin damage.
Fill up on citrus fruits, broccoli, red peppers, nuts, seeds, avocados, dark leafy greens and salmon. Consider adding a daily multivitamin too. Protecting your skin through proper nutrition helps retain moisture and restore radiance.
6. Apply Face Masks
Give your complexion some extra TLC this winter with nourishing facial masks. Once or twice a week, smooth on a hydrating mask packed with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides or plant oils. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes so your skin can fully absorb all the goodies before rinsing.
For severely parched skin, slather on a thick sleeping mask in place of your regular night cream. Let it work its magic overnight while you sleep to deeply hydrate and repair. You’ll wake up to ultra-soft, dewy skin.
7. Mist Facial Mists
Facial mists are an easy way to replenish moisture throughout the day over makeup or bare skin. Stash mini facial spray bottles in your bag, car and office to mist whenever skin starts feeling tight or dry. Seek out hydrating ingredients like spring water, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid.
Facial mists also create a cooling sensation when spritzed on skin hot from being indoors. Keep one in the refrigerator for an even more refreshing pick-me-up during winter. The simple act of misting helps reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier.
8. Switch to Richer Hair Products
Just as your complexion needs extra moisture during winter, so do your tresses. The cold dry air can make hair extremely brittle and damaged. Because moisture gets sucked away so quickly, condition more intensely.
Swap out lightweight conditioners for ultra-nourishing masques and treatments. Apply them generously focusing on the driest sections – your ends. Let them penetrate under a shower cap for 5-10 minutes before rinsing if possible. Also explore oil treatments to deeply intensively smooth and hydrate parched strands.
9. Adjust Your Makeup Routine
The way you apply your makeup may need to be tweaked slightly during the winter as well. For example, setting makeup by spraying it with water can make it flaky or crackly when skin is severely dry. Try makeup setting sprays and powders instead. Also, heavily pigmented matte lipsticks can emphasize cracked lips and dry patches. Opt for moisturizing lip tints and glosses instead.
When it comes to complexion makeup like foundation, avoid overly drying formulas. Seek out moisturizing, luminous options like liquid skin tints. Prepping skin properly with moisturizer and skin-care boosting primers makes makeup glide over smoothly all season long without clinging to flakes.
10. Protect Skin Outdoors
Don’t abandon your sun protection habits just because it’s cold out. Harmful UVA/UVB rays still penetrate through cloud cover and can damage unprotected skin. Look for moisturizers and foundations with built-in broad-spectrum SPF 30+. Also apply a scarf over skin or wear UV-protecting gloves when running errands outdoors.
Harsh winter winds and frigid temperatures also batter unprotected complexions. Nourish your lips with healing balms before facing the cold. Cover up with wool scarves, hoods, hats and high-collared coats whenever possible too. Pay attention to any skin irritation, excessive redness or cracking and treat promptly to resolve it quickly.
Essential Skincare Tips for Winter
Implementing smart winter skincare best practices helps stave off seasonal dryness, irritation, redness and damage. Focus on gently cleansing, intensely hydrating, moisturizing morning and night with richer creams. Shield skin daily with SPF and give it weekly nourishment boosts with masks. Don’t forget your body either — show dry hands, feet and elbows extra TLC. Finally drink enough water and eat a skin-friendly diet.
Following these essential winter skincare tips protects your complexion so you can face the harsh cold seasons with a glowing, healthy radiance all winter long.