As the winter months approach, temperatures drop and the coats and scarves come out as we brave the cold. For many of us, this can also bring uncomfortable skin dryness. You might find your hands, faces, lips or even feet are drier than usual—often accompanied by cracking, flaking and redness.
If you experience dry skin in winter, here are some simple tips for taking care of your precious epidermis during the colder seasons.
1. Bring Out the Humidifier
As outside temperatures get colder, we turn up the heaters in our homes. This feels great for comfort, but the hot, dry air can lead to dry skin in winter months.
To combat this, consider using a humidifier. It will push more moisture into the air and disperse it more evenly into the home—helping to remedy dry skin.
2. Switch Moisturizers… and Use Them More
Your spring or summer lotions may not cut it the same in the winter. It’s likely time for something a little more moisturizing.
Look for lotions that are oil-based (like night creams) instead of water-based. The oil in the former helps provide a protective layer to keep in more moisture. However, be careful with the type of oil in the formula, especially if you’re prone to breakouts:
- Look for oils that don’t clog your pores, such as almond oil, mineral oil, avocado oil and primrose oil.
- Avoid vegetable shortening, shea oils, or butters, as these can just increase greasiness on the skin.
- As alternatives, you can also try moisturizers with glycerine or petroleum jelly to more deeply fight dryness.
3. Exfoliate Rough Skin
Rough areas of dead skin, especially on your feet, can make it hard for lotions to sink in deeply. Dry skin in winter can make this even worse.
To help, gently exfoliate rough skin with a foot brush or pumice stone. Periodic exfoliation can remove that built up dead skin and improve the permeation of moisturizers.
4. Wear Thick, Dry Gloves and Socks Outdoors
The skin on your hands is thinner than other areas, so it’s harder to keep them warm and moist. This is why dry skin on and between the knuckles is so common in cold weather.
Wearing thick gloves when you go outside helps prevent dryness, cracking and itchiness. Same goes for thick socks on your feet!
And if it’s been snowing or raining, be sure to remove wet gloves or socks as soon as possible and replace with dry ones. Wet clothes can irritate dry skin problems.
5. Avoid Super-Hot Baths or Showers
You might be tempted to use hot water when showering or bathing, especially if you’ve been out in the winter cold. However, water that hot can actually make dry skin matters worse: Intense heat can break down skin barriers and increase moisture loss.
Instead, stick with lukewarm to warm water—and avoid staying in too long. Adding baking soda to a warm bath can also help relieve dry, itchy skin.
6. Stay Hydrated
Be sure to drink water whenever you’re thirsty and eat plenty of water-containing fruits and vegetables (and getting enough vitamins and minerals) during the winter months. Hydration is just one facet of a healthy routine, but it can make a big difference for your body, including for your skin.
Although drinking plenty of water isn’t a cure-all for dry skin, it’s still a good practice that keeps you healthy overall. It can also help prevent fatigue that’s more common in the winter months.
7. See a Specialist if Needed
If home remedies aren’t working, it might time to see your dermatologist for more in-depth resolutions to what’s going on.
The Bottom Line
Most mild dry skin in winter is helped with healthy tips like these and knowing the warmer months are right around the corner will bring relief!