8 Essential Steps to Achieving Healthy Winter Skin
Start in the Shower
As tempting as it is to take a long, steamy shower on a chilly day, that’s exactly what not to do. “Hot water strips skin of its oils,” says dermatologist Kenneth Howe of Wexler Dermatology. Limit yourself to five minutes, dial down the temperature and use a creamy body wash with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil, says Dr. Howe. Exfoliate no more than once a week to remove dead skin cells without causing irritation.
Maximize Your Body Lotion
After the shower, follow this derm rule: Apply lotion immediately to lock in the moisture while your skin is still damp and the bathroom air is humid. In winter you also may want to switch to a richer balm to coat and protect the skin, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. This one from Neutrogena is a celeb favorite. "I love this whipped body balm. It’s great for winter because it’s really moisturizing but not greasy," says Neutrogena brand ambassador Kerry Washington.
Upgrade Your Skin Care
When it comes to your face, the goal is to maintain a healthy skin barrier, says dermatologist Shereene Idriss: “That helps skin hold on to moisture better and longer.” Start with a gentle cleanser. If you have any redness, follow with a soothing toner. Then apply a hydrating cream (look for one with ceramides for extra moisture). And if you’re still dry, finish with an oil to seal it all in.
Buy It! Alba Botanica Hydration Sensation Micellar Cleanser, $8.99; target.com, Earth to Skin Honey Manuka Toner, $6.96; walmart.com, Curél Intensive Moisture Facial Cream, $30; ulta.com and Glossier Futuredew, $24; glossier.com
Protect Your Lips...
Your lips are usually the first to suffer when the temperature drops. “Unlike the rest of the face, they don’t produce oil,” says dermatologist Francesca Fusco. Plus they’re constantly exposed. What helps: a nonirritating lanolin lip balm, applied often. Also, buff away any dry flakes with a silicone lip tool and try trading your lipstick for a tinted treatment.
…And Your Hands
The minute you step outside, the skin is hit with a “blast of dry, frigid air,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe. That’s why she suggests packing a balm in your bag to give hands and other rough spots the TLC it needs throughout the day. Her expert tip: Apply a dime size before putting on gloves – and reapply after every time you wash your hands.
Buy It! Cocokind One-For-All Balm, $11; cocokind.com
Repair at Night
Your skin loses water while you sleep, which is why dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum recommends an overnight mask, twice a week: “Apply it over your regular products so they penetrate better.” We love this super-hydrating formula from Miranda Kerr's line, Kora Organics. Also, use a cool air humidifier to up the moisture levels in your room.
If your office or workspace is dry, your skin may benefit from an afternoon hydration boost, says Dr. Idriss. A face mist is the easiest (and most refreshing) option, but some formulas can actually dehydrate skin. Look for one with humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. And try a moisturizer stick, which can perk up your complexion without messing up your makeup.
Hydrate from the Inside Out
Increasing your daily intake of healthy fats may help with dry skin. Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner recommends fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and olives. And we know you’ve heard it a million times, but make sure you’re drinking enough water. Blatner suggests at least 72 ounces each day. Bonus points for cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, which both contribute to dehydration.