During winter, the indoor and outdoor air pull water from your skin – leaving it dry, scaly, itchy, and chapped. Slathering on moisturizing creams and lotions will not help if you’re applying them at the wrong time, using the wrong products, or countering their benefits by using harsh soaps.
There are three simple steps to moisturize and nourish your skin all winter long – it is actually easy. Follow these three steps and you’ll make it through the dry winter months with healthy and comfortable skin that looks and feels great.
Good news! Many of the winter skin care products recommend below are also part of our Holiday Special Sale going on now till December 16th.
What are the 3 simple (but essential) steps to prevent chapped winter skin?
- Moisturize every day right after you’ve washed your skin and toweled it dry.
- Use only gentle soaps, cleanse with only cool or warm (not hot) water on your skin, and thoroughly rinse all soap residue off.
- Protect your skin from the drying winter elements by:
- Wearing gloves and clothing that protect your skin from harsh, cold weather.
- Creating more indoor air humidity with a humidifier.
It’s really that simple!
Why do these 3 steps work so well?
Moisturizers applied to your skin after washing help trap the water that soaked into the outer layers of your skin during the bathing process; they will also hold the water in your skin throughout the day. Conversely, applying moisturizer onto dry skin will make your skin feel greasy without adding water. It’s why keeping hand cream at your desk and applying it throughout the day does not work very well to prevent chapped hands. Again, moisturizers trap water but they don’t significantly add it.
Gentle soaps, plus cooler water temperatures and a thorough rinsing of all soap residue work together to prevent the stripping of your natural skin oils when you bathe. “Harsh soaps” remove extra amounts of your skin’s natural oils. They can also cause skin irritation. This, in turn, can lead to skin water loss, which is the beginning of chapping your skin. Leaving any soap residue on your skin will do the same. To understand the importance of avoiding hot bath and shower water, remember how hot water cleans the grease off of pots and pans better than cool water does.
Dry air around your skin works to pull the water out. It’s just like drying your wet laundry by hanging it out to dry. Adding wind increases the drying ability of the air. If you’re not able to wait out the winter on a warm and humid tropical island, then cover up to protect your skin from the cold and windy winter air. Wear gloves, a face mask, and muffler when you are outdoors. Consider using an indoor humidifier to add moisture to your dry, heated indoor air. This will help prevent moisture loss from your skin while you are indoors.
What are the best skin care products to use in the winter to prevent and treat dry skin?
Rich moisturizers are best for winter skin care.
A rich moisturizer is one that includes some oils and/or water-binding ingredients (such as lanolin, glycerin, hyaluronic acid). My absolute favorite moisturizers for winter skin care are my All Natural Face and Body Butter Cream and my All Natural Face and Body Lotion. I love these natural products. They’re the hydrating heroes for my sensitive skin during the winter.
The All Natural Face and Body Butter Cream is part of Complete Dry Skin Care Product Collection and the All Natural Face and Body Lotion is part of my Best Skin Care Collection for the Body Holiday Special sale.
“That cream is like a miracle drug!…I’m going to give the Butter Cream to everyone this year as a gift, it’s fantastic.” Michele P
Other moisturizer options include VaniCream, which like my Natural Body Butter and Lotion, is also hypoallergenic. Alternatively, you could use jojoba oil, olive oil, shea butter, or one of the good old standard dermatologic moisturizers such as Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, Eucerin Original Healing Creme, or Nivea Cream. These brands also make thinner lotion products, but for winter you want a thick and rich product.
Your hands are exposed to the winter elements and so hand moisturizers need to be applied multiple times during the day. Remember, moisturizers work best when you apply them after wetting your skin. Since you wash your hands repeatedly throughout the day, it’s easy to moisturize them after washing. Keep a non-greasy hand moisturizer by your sinks to make it easier to apply it many times a day. This will make a huge difference to healing your chapped hands. I think the best hand cream for winter skin care is my Dry Skin Hand Cream. I keep a tube in my lab coat and by every sink that I frequent, and it saves my hands from the winter elements.
If your hands are prone to severe winter chapping, consider using my Dry Hand Skin Repair Kit - it’s 911 for severely dry hands.
The Dry Skin Hand Cream is part of Complete Dry Skin Care Product Collection Special Holiday Sale. Save $17 on this special collection till 12/16/13.
“I love your hand cream. I substituted some other stuff (like Nivea, Bert’s Bees etc) but it didn’t work as well. I’ve turned other people on to it.” Paula M
Lips are uniquely exposed to the winter elements too. Apply a simple, but long-lasting and moisturizing lip balm all day long. My favorite is Ceralip. When you are outdoors in the sun (yes even winter sun is harmful to your skin) use EltaMD Lip Balm SPF 31 with mineral zinc oxide sun protection. Be sure to always use lip balms with simple ingredients because many “healing” lip balms contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions that mimic chapped lips.
The Ceralip is part of Complete Dry Skin Care Product Collection special holiday sale. Save $14.00 on this collection which will help your winter care needs.
“Luv, Luv, Luv Ceralip- lifetime of cracked, dry lips until ceralip. Thanks Dr. Bailey” Tricia H,
Gentle Soaps Are Best For Winter Skin Care
The most gentle soaps are syndets (synthetic detergent). They are made from ingredients that are unlikely to irritate your skin or disturb your skin’s pH. Options include VaniCream Cleansing Bar, Dove Unscented Aquanil Cleanser, and Toleriane Cleanser.
If you want natural skin care, try a glycerin bar soap or a natural soap made by a master soap maker that leaves in the natural glycerin that results from the soap making process. A master soap maker will also remove excess alkali, which can make a natural soap actually harsh to sensitive skin. My natural soaps are made by a master soap maker which is why my Naturally Best Bar Soap for Dry Skin is such a great option for winter skin care. It’s affordable and perfect for the entire family. For your hands, use a foaming cleanser that rinses off thoroughly such as Vermont Foaming Hand Soap. Natural soaps perform best in softened water.
“Thanks Dr. Bailey for taking a few years off my face.”
If you want to treat your entire your entire body with the best winter skin care you can, and save money too, check out my Complete Dry Skin Care Product Collection or our other great holiday collections here. These make great holiday gifts!
If you have found the 3 steps and products helpful for your winter skin care needs, thanks for commenting, sharing and”Liking”, Tweeting”, “Pinning” and Google +1 this blog post with friends and family. Sincerely, Dr. Bailey Skin Care Team
Photo attribution: Thanks and Gratitude to © Ocean/Corbis.