Skin Science

Skincare for dry skin: 8 Steps to softer, smoother skin this winter

Christina Heiser
Christina Heiser May, 20, 2020

Skincare-obsessed, fitness enthusiast, cat lover 

Holiday shopping. Gingerbread lattes. Warm, cozy blankets for a quiet afternoon on the couch. There are a lot of things to love about winter — but often, it feels like winter doesn't feel the same way about your skin. Making it through the cold season with supple skin is no easy feat, so we're sharing the best skincare for dry skin, from glowing skin prep to dry skin treatment options you can use from head to toe for softer skin this season.

What causes dry skin in winter?

As temperatures drop, the air tends to get drier. And when there's less moisture in the air, the water in your skin evaporates more quickly. This can result in dry, tight skin that flakes to the touch. But cold air isn't always your enemy. Indoor heating and long, hot baths can also contribute to dry skin.

Skincare for dry skin: 8 Steps to softer skin

If your skin is uncomfortably dry, it's sending you a message: Help! Luckily, you can come to its rescue with these dry skin treatment ideas.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

It will come as no surprise that the No. 1 dry skin treatment to use in winter is moisturizer. Some moisturizers work by attracting moisture to the skin, while others help to hold in existing moisture and prevent further dehydration. Moisturizer comes in a variety of forms, including lotions, ointments and creams, and they typically come packed with moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and jojoba oil. Apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp for best results.

2. Add a humidifier to your bedroom

You can add moisture back into the air in the winter using a humidifier. Experts recommend setting the humidifier to 60% humidity, which should help restore moisture to the top layer of your skin.

3. Limit your time in the tub

What's more relaxing than taking a long, hot bath when it's freezing outside? While it might feel good in the moment, excessive soaking can actually strip your skin of much-needed moisture. Cut your showers or baths to 10 minutes tops, and use warm water, not hot, to avoid drying out your skin.

4. Take your skin type into account

A regimen that works for one person in the winter may only spell trouble for someone else's complexion. If your T-zone still gets oily around this time of year, a light, oil-free lotion will absorb into your skin reducing the risk of clogged pores. If you have skin on the sensitive side, avoid anything with heavy fragrances that could cause further irritation. Aging skin, meanwhile, is usually thinner, meaning it tends to be on the drier side. In this case, you may benefit from richer or heavier products.

Woman wakes from sleep and she was cleansing the morning before shower

5. Be careful with cleansers

Say goodbye to harsh bar soaps and cleansers. Creamy facial cleansers and body washes with gentle, nourishing ingredients are your best bet this season to keep hydration in.

6. Exfoliate from head to toe

Skin can sometimes start to look dull and flaky during winter, which is why regular exfoliation is key. Clear away dead skin cells on the surface of your skin with a gentle exfoliating scrub using small, circular motions. Just ensure that you're not scrubbing too roughly which can cause irritation and redness.

7. Nourish your skin with a mask

The next time you're snowed in, pamper yourself with a moisturizing face mask. Masks for dry skin help infuse your skin with moisture, making them a great pick for the winter months. Look for superstar ingredients like oat, avocado and vitamin E to make sure your mask will really pack a punch.

8. Eat the right foods

A healthy diet supports overall skin health , so load your plate with foods like seasonal fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy fats. And drink plenty of water! Studies show that when you're hydrated, your skin is well-hydrated, too.

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