Dry winter skin? Try our 11 top winter skincare tips
Should you change your skincare routine in winter?
Winter is very tough on your skin. It’s often exposed to freezing cold weather outside, then promptly greeted by the warm flush of central heating, causing your skin to become dehydrated.
The cold temperature reduces your skin’s circulation, in addition to reducing the amount of sebum (oil) it produces. This makes your skin less supple and more dry, so it’s important to introduce skincare products tailored to your skin’s specific needs during the winter.
We all make the switch with our clothes once the colder months arrive, storing our light, short, summer-numbers underneath the bed or stuffed in the back of the wardrobe until the warmer weather rolls around again.
But as we swap shorts for jumpers, it’s important that we make the switch with our skincare, too. In this guide we’ll discuss the importance of adjusting your skincare routine when the weather gets colder, and recommend some of our top skincare tips in winter to keep your skin protected and healthy.
A dehydrated body leads to dehydrated skin, which isn’t what we want! Of course, it’s just as important to stay hydrated all-year round, but during the winter, many of our good hydration habits slip. During the hot summer months, we’re eager to drink due to an increase in physical activity and sweating that piques our thirst.
However, in winter, we’re more inclined to stay indoors, shivering. This can lead to a lack of thirst, and ultimately, dehydration. The takeaway here is to not rely on the feeling of thirst to drink water – replenish your body regularly, aiming to drink around 6-8 glasses of water per day.
Ensuring that your skincare products (i.e your moisturiser) contains an SPF isn’t just important on those warm, summer days, but during winter, too! Without it, your skin is at risk of being exposed to harmful UV rays which can lead to skin damage, wrinkles, sunburn, and sometimes skin cancer.
You may believe that your SPF 15 sunscreen is enough to prevent skin damage, and although it’s certainly better than nothing at all, you should choose a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
There are two types of UV rays that you should protect yourself from - UVA and UVB. When buying your SPF products, look for the UVA star rating; this should be no less than 4.
Use warm, not hot water in the shower
Despite how good it feels stepping into a hot shower after battling the frigid temperatures outside, it’s not advised – instead, opt for a warm shower. Hot showers and baths aren’t good for your skin. They can cause the skin to inflame, resulting in redness, itching and even peeling!
Sudden hot temperatures can disrupt the skin’s natural moisture barrier, stealing all of those essential oils, fats and proteins that are keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
Having a humidifier on standby during the winter months can give your skin a helping hand to improving dry, itchy skin. Humidifiers work by pulling moisture back into the air, aiding you in retaining that all-important hydration.
Expect to see a difference in your cracked lips and itchy skin, but don’t rely on them too much. Nothing can replace your skincare routine, but it can make it easier for you to maintain your glow even when the weather is against you!
Wear warm clothing
Not only do jumpers, scarves and gloves keep you warm against the rapidly dropping temperatures, but it can protect your skin, too. Keeping your skin covered shields it against increased sensitivity, redness and dryness.
However, the type of material you choose to wear can also impact your skin. Ideally, choose soft, breathable fabrics that won’t cause your skin to become dry and itchy. Wool is notoriously itchy, despite it being equally thick and warm. We’d recommend wearing something underneath your woollen garment to avoid any unpleasant irritation.
Not only do the cold temperatures strip your skin of moisture, but winter is rife with cold and flu viruses. Odds are, you’ll be washing your hands more often than usual, sucking the last remaining oils from your skin.
This can make things worse if you’re using your hands all day, so why not try O'Keeffe's Working Hands? This scentless, concentrated formula contains high quantities of glycerin which conditions and softens the skin, proven to boost moisture levels and create a protective layer on the skin’s surface to prevent moisture loss.
If applying your hand cream in a balm isn’t for you, try Aveeno Skin Relief Restoring Hand Cream that helps to soothe and comfort dry or chapped hands. If your skin is feeling tight, rough, or very dry, this cream can provide the intense hydration you need to leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and healthy.
Let’s move on to moisturisers, one of the most important steps in your skincare routine to hydrate and prevent dry skin. If you’ve got dry, sensitive or redness-prone skin, try Cetaphil’s Daily Hydrating Moisturiser. This non-comedogenic and fragrance-free formula contains hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, perfect for everyday use.
If you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin, you don't need a heavy moisturiser to tackle dry skin concerns, but it’s still very important that you moisturise your skin.
During the hot weather, you’d need an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser, but during the winter, the only thing that’s essential is ensuring that your moisturiser is non-comedogenic so it won’t block your pores and cause acne.
Try CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion which includes SPF 50. It’s tailored for normal skin, but during the winter, oily skin would benefit from the added moisture.
Why not add a hydrating serum into your skincare routine? Aveeno Calm & Restore Triple Oat Serum. Using the power of Aveeno’s triple oat complex and calming feverfew, this serum instantly smoothes, soothes and fortifies the skin barrier, leaving the skin feeling soft and hydrated. With a lightweight texture and fast absorption, this formula helps to nourish and calm your skin.
Exfoliating is the key to boosting your skin’s cell turnover, and during winter, it’s even more essential. You’ll need to exfoliate more often because your skin will hoard dry, dead skin, taking on a duller, flakier appearance. If you’ve got sensitive skin, however, don’t exfoliate more than once a week as it can aggravate your skin.
When the temperature drops, so does the moisture in your lips, leaving them cracked, chapped and sore. It’s a good idea to store a lip balm in your bag, car or desk so you always have a boost of moisture there to save your parched lips when you need it.
We’d recommend Nivea Hydro Lipcare. It contains SPF 15 and rehydrates dry lips in addition to soothing irritation with calming aloe vera extract.
You can never go wrong with a trusty pot of Vaseline, either - try Vaseline Lip Therapy Aloe Vera to soothe your irritated lips with the healing properties of the aloe plant, or if you’d like a pop of colour, choose Rosy Lips.
Use gentle skincare
Your skin is prone to being extra sensitive during wintertime, with the cold air and harsh winds sucking the moisture from your skin. That’s why it’s important to use gentle yet effective skincare products to avoid aggravating it.
Always check the ingredients in your skincare products and avoid things such as fragrance, alcohol, sulphates and certain acids. Thankfully, most brands will do the hard work for you by labelling their products with phrases like ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ or ‘gentle on skin’.
Choose the right cleanser
Your face bears the brunt of the winter elements, so it’s vital that you choose the right cleanser that’ll not only clean your skin, but lock in moisture and prevent redness, irritation and dryness from occurring.
Starting off with the cleanser recommendations is CeraVe, a gentle yet effective cult classic.
If you’ve got normal, combination, dry or sensitive skin, try CeraVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser.
This fragrance-free, allergy-tested and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t block your pores) formula contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help your skin retain moisture, essential during winter when your skin becomes drier than usual.
If your skin is on the oiler side or you’re prone to breakouts, CeraVe Facial Foaming Cleanser is for you. This lightweight yet hydrating formula contains ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, so it fights any potential, pesky spots while keeping your skin hydrated.
If you’ve got oily skin, it’s very important not to use products that dry out your skin, even though it’s tempting. This is because your skin can actually produce more oil to make up for the lack of moisture. The more you know, right?
The skin on our feet is up to 12 times thicker than the skin on the rest of our bodies, so when they become dry and cracked during winter, it’s important to find a specific product that targets problem feet.
Our top-pick would be Eucerin Dry Skin Intensive Foot Cream that hydrates dry or extremely dry feet. It provides intense moisturisation to leave your feet soft and smooth, while reducing hard skin and calluses.
The intense formula contains moisturising ingredients such as urea and ceramides and is clinically proven to deliver immediate and intense hydration.
Hydrated skin is happy skin. Here you’ll find a wide selection of winter skin care products from top brands at even better prices, so what are you waiting for?
Don’t put off your winter skincare shopping like you may have done with your Christmas shopping - it’s time to save your dry skin and protect it from the cold by adopting some of our top winter skin care tips.
Remember, if you’re suffering from extremely dry skin or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis and it’s affecting your daily life, always speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice.
Most people suffer from dry winter skin, but when your skin is naturally dry or you have a dry skin condition, winter can make it a lot worse. If you need further information about dry skin, visit the NHS website or take a look at our skincare guides.