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
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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
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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
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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."
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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
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6. GREASE UP YOUR FEET AND LIPS
Brian-Gaeddert-Flickr
Try to find products that contain that contain petroleum jelly or glycerin
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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!
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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...
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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)

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aami06
aami06
January 9, 2022 6:58 am

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!

Fransic verso
January 9, 2022 7:04 am

Amazing tips! we tend to use hot water a lot when showering and it’s not good. Thank you for sharing!

chelseakay01
chelseakay01
January 9, 2022 7:09 am

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

Fadima Mooneira
January 9, 2022 8:04 am

This is a good winter beauty tip. Keeping your skin moisturise is so important. Thank you for sharing.

Molly Transatlantic Notes
January 9, 2022 10:07 am

Much needed advice! I struggle with my skin during the winter months, especially with the extreme wind chill that happens where I live. I did not know to reduce exfoliation — that will really help!

Corinne
January 9, 2022 10:51 am

I had no idea how important hyaluronic acid was! I use a natural moisturiser based on coconut oil. It seems to do the job for me!

Corinne x

Mike
Mike
January 9, 2022 11:09 am

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

Unwanted Life
January 9, 2022 11:14 am

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

Isa A
Isa A
January 9, 2022 11:30 am

This was a trip back to one of NY own posts. Well, not totally. The first time seeing such a topic on your site but ifckurse with a science blend. Enjoyed reading. Just FYI, I also read up products details. haha. Xx
Isa A. Blogger
https://www.lifestyleprism.com/

Vanelle
January 9, 2022 12:19 pm

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

Amy Laundrie
January 9, 2022 12:27 pm

Itching on my back between my shoulder blades drove me crazy until I discovered Sarna. It’s a life saver.

readandreviewit1
January 9, 2022 2:01 pm

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

eileen
eileen
January 9, 2022 8:02 pm

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.

Lay
Lay
January 10, 2022 3:49 am

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.💜

Not-So-Modern-Girl
January 10, 2022 6:00 am

We all need self-care in our lives, especially during the winter months when things can feel a bit bleak! Thank you for sharing these fantastic tips Susan, very helpful x

Not-So-Modern-Girl
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
January 10, 2022 6:14 am

You’re very welcome, for me self-care and looking after my skin are so linked x

untilanotherday
January 10, 2022 6:34 am

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!

Alicia
Alicia
January 10, 2022 7:28 am

These tips are great! Thanks for sharing!

Amie • The Curvaceous Vegan🎆 (@acurvyvegan)
January 10, 2022 10:44 am

These tips are so important, hydration especially because I always find my skin gets drier during the colder months

Ali Duke (@weirdoA)
January 10, 2022 4:38 pm

This is a great post. I have learned a little more about skin care and will take more care of my skin.

Charity
Charity
January 10, 2022 6:28 pm

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!

ThePlainSimpleLife
ThePlainSimpleLife
January 12, 2022 11:10 am

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!

Mummy Conquering Anxiety
Mummy Conquering Anxiety
January 12, 2022 12:38 pm

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 🙂

Simona
January 18, 2022 4:47 am

Amazing tips here Susan, I wish more people would knew about this!

Carolyn Holton
Carolyn Holton
January 22, 2022 11:31 am

Very interesting post with useful tips, thank you. Hmmm, drinking water does not hydrate skin? Does this mean I should drink more wine? 🙂

Dr. Yarish
January 28, 2022 4:30 am

Nice tips! Thanks for sharing!

Jenny in Neverland
February 15, 2022 5:41 am

Some great tips here and some I’ve never heard before too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

CristinaR
February 17, 2022 1:06 pm

As usual Susan some very informative post! I didn’t know hyaluronic acid could be so important, but honestly you got me at the explanation of the drier air, thank you so much for all these tips! x

Susan Berk Koch author

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