Winter is coming. And you know what that means: ice skating, snowy walks, and roaring fireplaces. But the things you love so much about winter can wreak havoc on your skin. The harsh cold climate and dry indoor heat can make your skin dull, dehydrated, and flaky. For some people, their skin gets so dry that it cracks or leads to inflammation flare-ups.
Dry, itchy winter skin doesn’t have to be a fact of life. By making some lifestyle changes and using the right skincare products, you can maintain soft, moisturized, and glowing skin all winter long. In this post, we’ll explain why your skin gets so dry in the winter and offer five dermatologist-approved winter skincare tips to help you avoid seasonal dry skin.
Why Does Skin Get Dry in the Winter?
Before we walk you through cold weather skin care tips, let’s discuss why winter conditions dry out your skin. Humidity levels drop during the winter season because cold air can’t hold on to moisture as well as warm air can. In addition to lower humidity, strong winds and high heat from indoor heaters suck moisture out of your skin, leading to skin dehydration.
When the skin is dehydrated, microscopic cracks can develop on the outer layer of your skin. This layer ⏤ known as the skin barrier ⏤ is responsible for keeping environmental irritants out and locking moisture in. A damaged skin barrier not only accelerates water loss, but these microscopic injuries trigger inflammation which results in facial redness and uncomfortable skin.
How to Prevent Dry Winter Skin
Now that you know why skin dries out during the winter season, it’s time to discuss skincare in winter for dry skin. Maintaining a healthy complexion during the winter season takes a little more time and effort because the environmental conditions are harsh on the delicate skin barrier. Follow these five winter skincare tips to keep your complexion supple and radiant in chilly weather.
1. Strengthen Your Skin’s Barrier
Remember we said that decreased humidity, strong winds, and indoor heat dehydrate your skin and damage its protective barrier? It is this compromised barrier that is responsible for most winter skin problems. Strengthening the skin barrier is one of the most effective cold weather skin care tips to prevent dryness, redness, and inflammation.
Using skincare ingredients that soothe inflammation can help your skin strengthen its protective barrier. Senté Dermal Repair Cream is crafted with our patented heparan sulfate analog (HSA) skincare technology. In a joint study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, San Diego, topical application of HSA was shown to boost the skin barrier within eight weeks of use.
How does this skincare technology work? Just like hyaluronic acid, heparan sulfate belongs to the glycosaminoglycan family of water-binding molecules. Along with preserving skin hydration from within, heparan sulfate plays an essential role in our skin’s immune response to inflammation. Aging decreases the amount of HS in your body which leads to chronic skin inflammation. HSA is a low molecular weight version of heparan sulfate, designed to boost your skin’s immune response to environmental stressors, which helps keep inflammation down. This winter skincare tip makes your skin healthier and more capable of improving damage.
2. Invest in a Humidifier
As we discussed above, low humidity and indoor heaters zap moisture from the skin. Humidifiers pump out a fine mist of water to add moisture to dry air. Your skin then absorbs this moisture, which helps keep the top layers hydrated. This makes your skin soft and supple and prevents the barrier from cracking.
If you want to adopt this skin care tip in winter for dry skin, place a humidifier in the room where you spend the most time in. This could be your home office or bedroom. The Harvard Medical School recommends setting the humidifier to 60% to combat dry skin in winter. Since hydrated skin reflects more light, investing in a humidifier will help you glow all winter long.
3. Apply a Heavier Moisturizer
The skincare products you used during summer and fall are not enough to nourish your skin in severe winter conditions. If you’re using a water-based lotion or moisturizer, switch to an oil-based cream in your cold weather skincare routine. Consider overnight deep moisturizing treatments to revitalize your dull and dry winter skin.
One of the best winter skincare tips is to use heavier moisturizing creams that contain ceramides and nourishing lipids. Lipid-rich treatments like the Senté Dermal Repair Ultra-Nourish cream replenish your skin’s moisture and fat content while minimizing water loss. In a clinical study, 90% of subjects reported increased skin hydration after eight weeks of using our award-winning replenishing cream.
4. Avoid Hot Showers and Baths
Nothing can feel as good as a hot, steamy shower/bath at the end of a cold winter day. But according to Baylor College of Medicine, hot showers can damage your skin during winter. Hot water breaks down the lipid barrier that protects your skin and prevents moisture loss. This makes your skin dry, irritated, and more vulnerable to damage from environmental stressors.
You won’t like this winter skincare tip, but avoiding hot showers is necessary for skincare in winter for dry skin. If you want healthy winter skin, take 5-10 minute showers in lukewarm water. What you do after showering/bathing also matters. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel instead of rubbing, and apply an oil-rich cream to damp skin to replace the lost moisture and lipids.
5. Use Gentle Cleansers
Your skin is oilier during the warmer months, so it can better tolerate conventional facial cleansers. But as the skin dries out during the winter, the cleansers you used to use can strip your skin of its protective oils and leave you with itchy, flaky, and tight-feeling skin. Just like switching to a heavier moisturizer, you also need to replace your cleanser with a more hydrating one.
Here is an important winter skincare tip: use a gentle facial cleanser in your cold weather skincare routine to clean your face without drying it out. Look for a soap-free cleanser that is free of foaming agents like sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. Soap-free cleansers like the Senté Daily Soothing Cleanser will purify and refresh your skin while leaving it soft and hydrated.
Banish Dry Winter Skin With Senté
It’s very common to experience dull, dry, and itchy skin during the winter. But it’s also quite easy to keep this seasonal skin problem away. With the right skincare in winter for dry skin, you can achieve a soft, smooth, and radiant complexion all season long. If you’re looking for gentle and nourishing skincare solutions, Senté medical-grade formulations are just what you need. Shop our soothing and hydrating products to help your skin look its best this winter.