Top 10 Winter Skin Care Tips

 Since I am experiencing dry, itchy winter skin,  I needed a top 10 winter skin care tips list. I decided to investigate. And share my winter skin care tips with you!

This information is relevant if you have skin, no matter where you live.

WINTER SKIN CARE TIPS

If you live anywhere that experiences winter weather, you know those cold temperatures cause issues for your skin.

Why? Because the air is drier.  Why is the air drier in winter? (I know, I sound like a five-year-old. Fortunately, I have the answer!)

It has to do with the properties not of air, but of water!

Top 10 Winter skin care tips
The cold clear days of winter bring more than Instagram opportunities!

BLAME THE THERMODYNAMICS OF WATER!

Think of boiling aka high temperature water.

Lots of the molecules escape from liquid to gas form, or into the air.

In contrast, cold water stays a liquid. The molecules aren't moving quickly and do not escape into the air.

Hot air = more water vapor. Cold air = less water vapor.

Now that we know that the air is an innocent victim too, and why we have cracked hands, feet, and faces, what can we do about our suffering winter skin?

Run away?

make sense of science
YES! We can move to Mexico!

For many of us, it’s not possible to move south. (if you’re in the northern hemisphere, that is.)

Or if you’re Louie, you like winter and want to stay put! As you can see, he’s happy to help you shovel!

Time to share those top 10 winter skin care tips.

Winter Skin Care Tips_don't eat yellow snow_Louie
Louie's tip? Don't eat yellow snow.

TOP 10 WINTER SKIN CARE TIPS!

1. HOOK UP THE HUMIDIFIER!
Humidifiers add water vapor to the air!
Central heating systems (as well as space heaters) blast hot dry air throughout our homes and offices
As we know, this does not add needed moisture to the air
Previous
Next
2. HYDRATE FOR YOUR HEALTH
Okay...that's a true statement but drinking water does not hydrate your skin
So technically this is not a winter skin care tip.
This is a myth!
I wanted to share this with you.
Water does rid your body of toxins!
Water rids your body of toxins
Previous
Next
3. BAN SUPER HOT BATHS & SHOWERS
The intense heat of a hot shower or bath breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin, which can lead to a loss of moisture.
Lipid barrier and hot water
Hot water feels great after being out in the cold, but it's not great for your skin.
Use warm water instead
Not my bathroom
FUN! But not ideal for your winter skin
Previous
Next
4. CUT BACK ON EXFOLIATION
Avoid using harsh peels, masks, & alcohol-based toners or astringents in winter
Ditch the clay masks in winter, which draw moisture from your face
Find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, & masks that are "deeply hydrating."
Previous
Next
5. DON'T GO OUTSIDE WITH WET SKIN
Wet skin chaps more easily
IN THE SAME VEIN...
Wet socks & gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching & cracking
Previous
Next
6. GREASE UP YOUR FEET AND LIPS
Brian-Gaeddert-Flickr
Try to find products that contain that contain petroleum jelly or glycerin
Previous
Next

Petroleum jelly? (aka petrolatum) Glycerin? What difference does any of this make?

A lot!

If you’re like me, you spend time looking at ingredients on the backs of the moisturizer packages. What the heck are they?

Moisturizers? And what about emollients, occlusives, and humectants? 

I could write an entire post about this but I’ll try to break the main differences down here.  

Skin Care Tips for Winter_Louie can't use lotion
Yes, you need to read the labels because I can't!

WHAT IS A MOISTURIZER?

WHAT IS A MOISTURIZER?

Moisturizer is a catch-all term, created by marketers!

It is not a scientific term but used to imply a cream to increase skin moisture.
more on moisturizers

So what are we talking about? Three different types of moisturizers. Emollients, occlusives, and humectants. 

winter skin care tips_dry skin

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EMOLLIENTS, OCCLUSIVES, AND HUMECTANTS?

Skin care tips for winter-Louie says use ointment JPG
Louie can't tell what's what!
EMOLLIENTS
An emollient is a substance that fills in the spaces between dead skin cells, thus creating a smooth skin surface.
That sounds gross!
But nearly everyone can benefit from an emollient
Role of emollients in dermatitis
Emollients are physiological lipids, like ceramides, cholesterol & fatty acids, or they are silicones.
Another post about humectants, occlusives, and emollients may be in order
I have a plethora of info to share!
Don't get me started on niacinamide!
Previous
Next
OCCLUSIVES
For skin protection from harsh weather, an occlusive is best.
Unlike emollients, occlusives don’t penetrate the skin, but stay on top, forming a film that prevents water loss.
Occlusives create a water impermeable barrier over the skin surface creating an environment conducive to barrier repair
occlusives
Petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, beeswax, olive oil and avocado oil.
Previous
Next

The difference between emollients and occlusives isn’t a line in the sand.

The FDA regulates occlusive and emollient ingredients under cosmetic rules as they are commonly found in personal care products.

Sand_Mexico 2007 Ian buff_IMG
Don't worry, we've got this.

If you look at product ingredients, they may have both but with an emphasis on the emollient or occlusive function. Similarly, a combination of the two can help you find a balance for healthy skin.

This brings me to a perfect segue to return to  my winter skin care tips.

What is hyaluronic acid_winter tree
Winter wonderland

SLIPPING IN # 7 of TOP 10 WINTER SKIN CARE TIPS...

7. SEEK A SPECIALIST
If you go to your local drugstore, you'll be hard put to find a salesperson who can give you good advice.
An esthetician or dermatologist can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, & give you advice on the skin care products you should be using to keep your winter skin healthy.
Here's a website that reviews safety of ingredients if you want to dig in.
Safety of ingredients
Previous
Next

Back to the third definition in the moisturizer trifecta, humectants.

I could write an enitre post about humectants!

Don't sulk
Silly boys. Humectants are amazing!
Shave Ice_Make Sense of Science Blog
High water content. Hydrate yourself & your kids! (ha)
HUMECTANTS
Humectants are hydrators. They bind w/ water.
A humectant is a hygroscopic substance that has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2)
The OH & NH2 groups on these molecules hydrogen bond w/ water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin.
FUN FACT
Humectants can draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize your skin IF the humidity is over 50 percent. (So not during the winter)
Examples include hyaluronic acid, urea, alpha-hydroxy acids, & aloe vera
Previous
Next

WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?

I’m sliding sideways a wee bit (hm, okay a lot) from my top 10 winter skin care tips into straight skin care tips, but hyaluronic acid is important!

And the science behind hyaluronic acid is cool!

In case you skipped the slides, hyaluronic acid  (HA) is present in almost all biological fluids and tissues. It is an extremely large molecule with a high capacity for hydration. 

HA is important for the structural support of collagen and elastin in the skin.

HA has a lot of medical applications too, but I’m holding back.

 

What is hyaluronic acid?
What is hyaluroinc acid? This is.

Due to its size, poor folding of its molecular structure, & its hydrophilic properties, HA potentially creates a large watery space within itself. The proportion of water associated with its structure can be 1000 times greater than its own molecular weight!

Hyaluronic acid is a good tool in biotechnology & medicine, especially in the processes of tissue repair
HA supplements synovial fluid in arthritic patients
Used in certain ophthalmological and ontological surgeries
Used for delivering drugs to aortic atherosclerotic plaques.
Biotech journal article
And as a framework in tissue cultures.
Previous
Next

Oh, oh. I am getting carried away here.

BACK TO OUR TOP 10 WINTER SKIN CARE TIPS

8. MOISTURIZE MORE IN WINTER
Find an "ointment" moisturizer for winter.
As you know, an occlusive which will create that protective layer on your skin & retain more moisture
However, not all oils are appropriate for your face.
Look for "non clogging" / comedogenic oils
Previous
Next
9. SLATHER ON THE SUNSCREEN
USING A NECK GATOR WORKS TOO BUT MAKES IT HARDER TO SEE
Winter sun -- combined with snow glare -- can still damage your skin.
Previous
Next
10. HELP OUT YOUR HANDS
Wear gloves!
The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body and has fewer oil glands.
That means it's harder to keep your hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather.
Someone isn't taking care of their hands here...
Previous
Next

And we got to 10 skin care tips for winter. I’m happy to break down the specific ingredients in humectants, emollients, & occlusives in another post. Let me know if you’re interested via email or comments.

Take care of your skin and enjoy the season! 

Winter skin care tips_wear sunscreen_ boys_IMG
Smile!

If winter is dragging, for you here’s a post w/ tips to be happier!

ski jump
GET OUT THERE AND HAVE FUN!

DON'T SIT THIS OUT! JOIN US!

I do the research so you don't have to! (and use a plethora of exclamation points)

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on pocket
Share on email
Share on print

48 thoughts on “Top 10 Winter Skin Care Tips”

  1. These are excellent tips. I never put sunscreen on in winter so thanks for that. I’d love to learn more about ingredients in moisturizers, as in which ones actually help our skin, like hyaluronic acid and what percent we need. Thanks!

    Reply
    • You’ll need at least 2% hyaluronic acid in your product for it to have any effect on your skin. Great that you’re instituting sunscreen! Your skin will thank you. I thank you for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. This is interesting. I didn’t know hyaluronic acid had so many medical applications. And you are witty! Thanks for the great post.

    Reply
  3. Very useful and practical information. I have found that if you do start forming big fissures in your fingers superglue actually helps prevent them from getting wider. Sounds crazy but it actually helps. Looking forward to more post. One more tip is to just pat yourself dry and not rub all the water off. Put your lotion or cream on when your legs are still wet and that will help keep them moist. Mike

    Reply
  4. I don’t know a lot about moisturisers, all I know is most moisturisers aren’t worth the money as they’ve done nothing for my skin. But I learned a few things I didn’t know by reading your post

    Reply
  5. So informative! Thank you for sharing these amazing tips. It’s exactly what I needed as a reminder as it’s currently cold in Dubai. I definitely need improvement with hot showers! xx

    Reply
  6. This was such a helpful and informative post – you shared some fab tips here! I have a really bad habit of having my showers as hot as possible, so I’ll have to turn it down a notch to warm, haha. Thank you so much for sharing x

    Reply
  7. Great tips! I”m a fanatic these days about sunscreen so I was glad to see iit isn’t just my imagination that sun protection is smart even when the snow is flying! Thanks for a great post.

    Reply
  8. I loved reading this as someone who is studying cosmetic chemistry in college. I would also add people need to use the right ingredients for their skin type. Some ingredients can be too drying for some people while it could be fine on others as long as they aren’t over using it. Loved the article.💜

    Reply
    • Absolutely! That’s why a consultation with a dermatologist or esthetician is important for individualized guidance. Cosmetic chemistry is endlessly interesting; you must enjoy your classes! Thanks so much!

      Reply
  9. I suffer with eczema which flares up during the colder months and emollient creams are really useful! I like to use oils and thicker moisturisers in the winter months to give me skin the extra hydration!

    Reply
  10. I love all these winter skin care tips. My skin gets so dry during the winter so I need all the tips and extra help that I can get!

    Reply
  11. I absolutely love that you mentioned sunscreen even in the winter. So many people think that sunscreen is only for when the sun is blazing. I live in a very hot country so I have the opposite problem – I need a dehumidifier!! The AC makes my skin really dry. I never knew about not going outside with wet skin, that’s really new to me!

    Reply
    • AC is drying too, without question! There is no ideal climate. Where do you live? (Right about now I would like some heat.) No matter where we are, we’ll keep slathering on that sunscreen! Thanks so much!

      Reply
  12. Such an informative post, as always!

    I love your pictures and explanations.

    I always moisture as I have very dry skin. I love petroleum jelly, because it has so many uses. Looking for something with HA in now 🙂

    Reply
    • I’m so happy that you love my photos and find my explanations helpful! Definitely look into adding HA into your skin care routine. For optimum benefits, look for a product that contains 2% HA. Thanks so much!

      Reply

I'd love to hear what you think! Please jot me a note below. Please note that all comments are held for moderation.

Susan Berk Koch author

My New Book!

Be the best-informed reader!

Make Sense of Science is my email newsletter where I share information about future science, new tech developments, as well as tools and resources for STEM at home. It arrives every two weeks and you’ll only hear from me. (And Louie)

YES! I'm IN

Be the smartest person on your block!

Enter your email & I’ll share news about future science, STEM activities, and the best books.

And more Louie!

Louie says please subscribe to our science blog

Be the Best Informed!

I’ll make sense of science, share news about new tech, science advancements, and more. You’ll only hear from me and only twice a month. 

Louie loves STEM at home activities

Be the smartest person!

I’ll share news about future science, new species, show you how to do science at home with your kids, find the best books and more. You’ll only hear from me and only twice a month, tops.

CRISPR IS LIFE-CHANGING
Louie will be so happy!

Don’t miss out on More Cool Science! Subscribe for twice monthly articles. Thanks so much.