Winter Skincare: Essential Tips for Maintaining Skin Health

Written by: Cindy Mills


Are you feeling underprepared and overwhelmed by the dry, crispy winter months ahead? With temperatures dipping, shorter days, and little sunlight, it's no secret that taking care of your skin during this season can be quite taxing.

Ever wondered why your skin feels dry and easily irritated when winter rolls around? Or perhaps you've asked yourself, "Why is my normally glowing complexion suddenly dull and sad?" You're not alone. The cold season can be tough on our skin.

But winter skincare does not have to feel like a chore. Together, we'll explore common winter skincare issues and ways to maintain healthier-looking skin during these long, cold months. From adding specific ingredients to your routine to adjusting practices that nourish your complexion from within, you'll gain valuable insight into which steps work best for maintaining healthy, radiant, glowing skin all winter long!

Understanding Winter Skin Issues

Winter brings a chill in the air and snow on the ground, but it can also challenge the health and beauty of your skin. Common winter skin issues for all skin types - including sensitive skin - often include dryness, cracking, scaling, and inflammation. But why does this happen? Let's get into the nitty-gritty of dry skin causes.

Dry Skin: The Unwanted Guest

The crisp winter air is less humid than warm summer breezes. This lack of moisture can make your skin feel parched and irritated. If you've ever felt like your face could crack with a smile or found flakes dusting off your arms like fresh snowfall - congratulations. You've met one of the top winter skin problems: dryness.

Besides external conditions, internal factors contribute to winter-induced dryness, too. Central heating systems zap moisture from our bodies and the environment we live in - leading to more dehydration issues.

Say Hello to Chapped Lips and Hands

Two of the most common areas to become chapped are our lips and hands. Without the typical protections we use on the rest of our body parts, these areas frequently catch the full brunt of winter months.

In an effort to protect itself from freezing temperatures (and sometimes just because it's sensitive), our skin can overcompensate by producing extra layers of dead cells, causing skin texture to become thick and rough. Not exactly the look we want to rock during the festive season, right?

Flaky Terrors

During the winter months, it's not uncommon to experience flaky skin - but why does this happen? One major factor is the decreased moisture levels in the air, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause dehydration. Additionally, harsh weather conditions and indoor heating can further damage the skin barrier and exacerbate dryness.

However, with a little extra TLC, you can help restore hydration and prevent flaky skin. By taking care of your skin barrier and keeping it well-hydrated, you can maintain a healthy, glowing complexion all winter long.

Key Takeaways:

Exposed skin is especially vulnerable during winter. It bears the brunt of harsh winds and freezing temperatures, resulting in roughness and irritation. To keep your skin smooth and healthy throughout these chilly months, make sure to use moisturizing products regularly.

The Role of Hydration

The importance of hydration in winter skincare cannot be stressed enough. As the temperatures drop and humidity levels plunge, your skin can feel dry, stressed, and irritated - and there is good reason for this. Of course, it's unpleasant, but your skin is telling you it's thirsty - and in need of critical hydration.

According to research, our skin contains 64% water - so just imagine what happens when you don't give it enough moisture. It's like not watering a plant - over time, both will wither and lose their vitality.

Maintaining Skin Hydration during Cold Months

Did you know our bodies naturally produce oils called sebum, which helps maintain moisture levels? But during winter months, these natural oils are stripped away, leaving our skin parched.

So moisturizing - especially during the cold winter season - must be a top priority to keep your skin looking young and vibrant. A good moisturizer doesn't just provide instant relief for dryness, it also creates an effective barrier that locks in hydration and protects against harsh, dry winds.

Use cream-based products: Creams have a thicker consistency than lotions, providing more protection against cold weather. They contain fatty acids and higher oil content, which provides lasting nourishment for dry or chapped skin. A few top ingredients to look for include shea butter and cocoa butter, which are well tolerated by all skin types, including gentle skin.

Nighttime application: Your body works its regenerative magic while you sleep, so using a night cream with a generous consistency before hitting the sack can help your skin recover from the day's wear and tear.

Drink plenty of water: Moisturizing isn't just an outside job. Keeping yourself hydrated internally is equally important. Consume at least 8 glasses of H2O daily to keep your complexion glowing.

Key Takeaway:

Hydration is key in winter skincare to combat the drying effects of cold weather. Boost moisture levels with cream-based products, apply heavier night creams for recovery, and drink plenty of water. Also, choosing a moisturizer tailored to your skin type can enhance its effectiveness.

The Protective Barrier: Choosing the Right Winter Sunscreen

It's a common myth that sunscreen is only for summer. But UV rays don't take a vacation when it gets cold. They can reflect off snow and ice, causing even more damage to your skin.

Sun protection should be an all-year commitment. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that harmful UVA rays are present throughout the year with equal intensity.

Your Best Defense Against Winter Sun Damage

You need a sunscreen tailored for winter conditions. Look out for broad-spectrum labels - they protect against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Make sure you get one with at least SPF 30, or as your board-certified dermatologist recommends.

Also, consider getting sunscreens infused with moisturizers to combat dryness associated with colder weather. This will not just protect but also nourish your skin in harsh winters.

Application Matters

How you apply sunscreen matters as much as what kind you use. Before heading outdoors, ensure you have applied sunscreen generously to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes prior.

Don't forget often overlooked areas like your ears and the back of your hands. Even if it’s cloudy outside or if you’re just going for a quick errand, make sure to apply some SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends reapplying sunscreen every two hours for the best protection.

Key Takeaways:

Don't fall for the myth that sunscreen is only a summer necessity. UV rays can still harm your skin in winter, especially as they reflect off snow and ice. Arm yourself with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30, preferably one enriched with moisturizers to combat winter dryness.

Daily Winter Skincare Routine

Your skin needs a little extra love during winter. The chilly weather can strip your skin of natural oils and moisture, leading to dryness and flakiness. So take a few minutes to consider your daily winter skin care routine, and make sure you're ready to protect the natural beauty of your skin during the cold months ahead.

Step 1: Gentle Daily Cleansing

Cleanse your skin using a mild, moisturizing face cleanser like this Gentle Face Wash. It removes dirt and impurities without stripping away essential oils that keep your skin hydrated in winter.

Step 2: Nourish Your Skin

Serums provide the skin with the necessary ingredients to stay healthy and moisturized. Serums that contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E help protect the skin from free radicals and environmental stressors, while aloe vera and Hyaluronic Acid work together to promote hydration and soothe any irritation. 


By incorporating these nourishing serums into your daily skincare routine, you can give your skin the TLC it deserves and feel confident that it's protected against the harsh winter weather.

Step 3: Moisture Infusion

Winter months can wreak havoc on our skin, making it dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. That's why it's crucial to apply a good moisturizer to your skin to help protect your skin barrier during this season. 


Moisturizers enriched with Vitamin E and Shea Butter are particularly helpful as they penetrate deeply into your skin, providing hydration and nourishment. Retinol-based moisturizers also help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming while promoting healthy cell turnover. 


Keep your skin happy, healthy, and glowing by incorporating a good moisturizer into your daily routine this winter season. Your skin will thank you!

Step 4: Protect Your Skin

A common myth is sunscreen isn't needed when it's cold outside because we're not under direct sunlight or experiencing intense heat like summer days. 

Despite the colder temperatures, the sun's rays can still be damaging in winter, so don't forget to apply an SPF product before leaving home. So always apply an SPF product before starting your day.

Avoiding Common Winter Skin Mistakes

As we've learned, the harsh winds and low humidity levels during winter can wreak havoc on your skin. You can maintain your skin's radiance all season by avoiding common winter skincare mistakes.

Mistake 1: Skipping the Moisturizer

We often underestimate the power of a good moisturizer during winter. Your regular lotion might not be enough to combat dryness caused by cold weather. So, it's time to switch up your routine.

The trick is using heavier creams that create a protective layer on the skin. They lock in moisture and prevent water loss due to evaporation.

Mistake 2: Forgetting Sunscreen

Sunscreen isn't just for summer. The sun's UV rays are present year-round - even when it’s cloudy.

You need an SPF of at least 30 daily, regardless of temperature changes. Remember this: No matter how many layers you wear outside, sunscreen should always be one.

Mistake 3: Neglecting Hydration From Within

Your skincare regimen won’t work if you don't hydrate from within. Drinking plenty of fluids helps maintain healthy skin cells and eliminate toxins more effectively than any topical product could do alone.

Consuming a minimum of eight glasses of water each day is recommended to ensure proper hydration.

Mistake 4: Over-Exfoliating

While exfoliation effectively removes dead skin cells, doing it too often can lead to more harm than good. It strips away natural oils, leaving your skin vulnerable and dry.

A gentle approach - using a moisturizing clay mask - is often best for winter skincare - and limit exfoliation sessions to once a week.

Mistake 5: Ignoring Your Skin Type

All skin is not created equal. What works wonders for one person might spell disaster for another. Get acquainted with your skin type and choose skin care products that work best for you!

Key Takeaways:

Winter skin troubles? Dodge these common blunders. Don't skimp on moisturizer; swap light lotions for heavier creams to combat dryness. Sunscreen isn't just a summer essential - use it daily, even in winter. Hydrate from within by drinking plenty of water, and avoid over-exfoliating your skin. Lastly, don't forget that skincare is more than just what you put on your face—it's an integral part of overall health and well-being.

Winter Skincare FAQs

Why does my skin get so dry during the winter?

Cold air, harsh winds, and indoor heating can strip the skin of its natural moisture. Additionally, lower humidity levels during winter can make the air drier, causing the skin to lose moisture more quickly. 

How often should I moisturize in the winter? 

Ideally, you should moisturize after every time you wash your face or take a shower to lock in moisture. For extremely dry skin, reapplying a moisturizer throughout the day can be beneficial.

Is sunscreen necessary during winter months?

Absolutely! While UVB rays (responsible for sunburn) decrease during winter, UVA rays (which cause skin aging and damage) remain constant. Applying sunscreen can protect your skin from these harmful rays.

What types of moisturizers are best for winter?

Cream-based moisturizers or ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides are effective for winter as they provide an extra layer of protection and hydration.

How can I avoid chapped lips during cold months?

Regularly apply a lip balm containing beeswax or petroleum jelly to seal in moisture. Avoid licking your lips, as this can exacerbate dryness.

Should I change my skincare routine for winter?

Yes, adapting your routine to address the unique challenges of winter can help maintain skin health. This might include using gentler cleansers, increasing moisturization, and adding hydrating serums or masks.

How does diet impact winter skin health?

Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins can boost skin hydration and health. Drinking plenty of water also helps keep skin hydrated from the inside out.

Are hot showers bad for my skin in winter?

While tempting, hot showers can strip the skin of its natural oils. It's best to use lukewarm water and moisturize immediately after showering.

Can exfoliation help with winter skin problems?

Yes, but with caution. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells, allowing moisturizers to penetrate better. However, over-exfoliating can irritate the skin, so it's essential to find a balance.

What remedies can help soothe itchy winter skin?

Applying a heavy moisturizer, using a humidifier to increase indoor humidity, and taking oatmeal baths can provide relief from itchy, winter skin.


Skin care in winter doesn't have to be a struggle against the elements. With this guide, you can face those icy winds head-on.

Remember, hydration is key during these cold months - don't let your skin dry out! 

Moisturizers are your best friends, and sunscreen isn’t just for summer anymore. It's an all-year-round protector.

A daily winter skincare routine can help keep that radiant glow intact. And being aware of common mistakes gives you the upper hand in maintaining healthy skin.

You've got everything you need to navigate through winter's challenges. Go ahead and flaunt that glowing complexion, and enjoy this festive time of year!