It wasn’t until I hit 25 that I started to understand why people complained about “dry winter skin.” Up until that point, my skin maintained its elasticity and hydration even through the coldest winter months, but something about my late 20s changed things (for the worse). The result: dull, itchy skin, chapped lips, and a frustrating dryness that was hard to shake off.
Sound familiar? To make matters worse, the lack of hydration we all notice can cause fine lines and cause even drier skin when not treated. If your dewy summer glow has since faded into an ashy appearance, these winter skincare routine tips I’ve learned from my aesthetician and dermatologist will help you combat cold weather issues, no matter your skin type!
6 Winter Skin Care Tips I’ve Learned from My Aesthetician
1. Avoid Hot Water
To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than a long, hot bath or hot shower after braving the cold. Needless to say, I was bummed to learn that hot water strips away natural oils from the skin, causing dryness. It’s counterintuitive, but my aesthetician told me it’s because water itself is not moisturizing—it actually repels oil.
I don’t give up my baths and showers completely, but I try to keep them lukewarm and relatively quick. When I get out, I apply a lotion or body oil to my damp skin. Coconut oil (I like Trader Joe’s), jojoba oil, shea butter, or grapeseed oil work great. Lately I’ve been using this affordable tub of cocoa butter. Bonus: it smells amazing!
2. Switch to a Gentle Cleanser
Even though facial cleansers that contain acids (salicylic, glycolic, etc.) are great for acne prevention and exfoliation, they can strip moisture in the winter. I opt for a gentle cleanser that’s designed to prevent sensitive skin and hydrate as it washes away dirt and makeup. My all-time favorite (that I actually use year-round) is the Gentle Cleanser by Zo Skin Health.
3. Incorporate Hyaluronic Acid
This is the first year I’ve incorporated an HA serum, and it was really by accident. We went to Colorado for our 5-year anniversary, which meant going from 70° to 30° overnight. My skin was not ready for that, and I developed irritated, red, chapped patches in CO—it was painful, and I’d never had that happen before!
My skin continued to feel awful at home, so I asked my aesthetician what to do. Her rec? Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum. Oh. my. goodness. It’s now my #1 winter skin care routine must-have. It’s hydrating, nourishing, non-oily, and your skin feels DEWY within 24 hours. I use it over my moisturizer and SPF in the morning and my night cream at night for a double dose of hydration.
4. Try a Humidifier or Mist
I don’t know about you, but we keep our fireplaces roaring and the heat on almost all day when there’s winter weather outdoors. Even those this feels amazing, it can leave my skin feeling drier. A small humidifier with cool mist (not hot!) aimed at your face while you’re sleeping can combat the lack of hydration.
If you don’t want another appliance in your bedroom, a couple spritzes of a facial mist at night can help “set” your other skincare products and improve your skin’s suppleness. Juice Beauty makes a popular option, and so does Dermalogica (the first line of medical-grade skincare products I ever used!).
5. Don’t Avoid Exfoliation
Exfoliating might seem like it would make the skin even more irritated, but my aesthetician taught me that dry skin does a poor job at sloughing off dead skin naturally. So, without a great exfoliator, those skin cells can build up on the surface, clogging pores and creating a dull appearance.
I use this skin polish on my face 2x per week, and I also love and highly recommend this exfoliating body wash. It has vitamin e to prevent dryness and makes my skin feel like a baby’s. When choosing body exfoliators, I’ve learned to look for humectants like honey and soothers like aloe, which will prevent some of the “oil stripping” effect that glycolic acid (a mild exfoliating ingredient) can cause.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
During the summer, I am a pro at drinking water because I’m always thirsty, but come winter, I start slacking. Our skin still needs hydration from the inside out once the hot days are over!
I keep a 32 oz. Hydro Flask with me at all times, and if I’m not feeling a cold drink, I’ll do warm water with lemon and ginger.
Foods high in water can also boost your hydration, like apples, oranges, and water-rich vegetables—plus, they’ll give you an antioxidant boost! Try upping your intake of (healthy) fatty acids, like avocado, almond butter, and olive oil—the lipids may improve your skin barrier’s hydration as well.
Shop Winter Skin Favorites
I hope these winter skin care wellness tips will help you keep your skin less itchy, chapped, and uncomfortable throughout the cold winter season.
If you want to learn more about my healthy skin routine, be sure to read my exact AM/PM product routine, including my face wash, serums, vitamin c, toner, lip balm, sunscreen, retinol, and how I fight free radicals. You can also read about how I healed my acne here and my skincare journey here. xo!