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How to Soothe Dry Skin During the Winter

Beauty expert Cora Gold wrote today’s post detailing how to soothe your dry skin during the winter. Enjoy, darlings!

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The change in season means your body faces new threats, like dry skin from harsh outdoor winds and arid indoor heating systems, making your skin itchy and uncomfortable — even in warmer climates. How can you find relief? 

Fortunately, the modern world provides solutions. The trick is knowing how to use them if you want effective relief. Here’s how to soothe dry skin during the winter. 

For more expert tips on how to care for your skin, read How to Care for Your Aging Skin Without Covering it UpHow to Care for Menopausal Skin, and 7 Surprising Factors That May Be Irritating Your Skin.

Keep Moisturizer Readily Available 

Your first order of business is to arm yourself. Prep for winter by stashing lotion in every conceivable place you might need it, such as:

  • Purses, backpacks or briefcases
  • Work desks
  • Workplace washrooms
  • Car’s glove compartments or center consoles
  • Kitchen and bathroom sinks 
  • Luggage (See Honey’s winter vacation ideas)

Honey’s Pick: I adore this lotion, the feel is incredible and I keep it absolutely everywhere.

Soothing dry, winter skin is often a matter of moisturizing, and the main reason people don’t do so more frequently is that lotion bottles are just never around when you need them. Prevent this catastrophe. 

What Are the Most Moisturizing Ingredients for Soothing Dry Winter Skin? 

It also matters what’s in the bottle. The following ingredients have proven their effectiveness in soothing dry winter skin, although you may need to experiment to find the right ones for your unique complexion:

  • Hyaluronic acid: This substance occurs naturally in your skin and fascia and acts as a humectant, helping tissues hold onto water. 
  • Glycerin: Another humectant found in many facial and hand moisturizing products.
  • Shea butter: This substance is occlusive, which means it forms a protective barrier. 
  • Ceramides: Also create your skin’s barrier. 
  • Squalane: A synthetic version of the natural sebaceous fluids found in human skin. 
  • Petroleum jelly: Forms a strong protective barrier that’s helpful for skin so dry that it cracks. 

Oil Up After Getting Wet 

You’re more likely to get sick in winter because cold weather thins your mucus, your body’s first line of defense against germs. Proper hand washing prevents infectious disease transmission by slowing the spread of bacteria and viruses, but it leaves your skin dry. 

That’s why one of your secret stashes of lotions belongs beneath the sinks in your home bathroom and workplace restroom. Keep a bottle next to the soap to remind you to moisturize after scrubbing your paws for 20 seconds and drying them. Carrying a bottle in your backpack provides soft hands on the go. 

Pro-tip: Repurpose an empty clip-on hand sanitizer bottle into a lotion container. Clip one of each onto your backpack or purse to more easily sanitize and moisturize while traveling.

Protect Your Skin From the Elements 

Protecting your skin from the elements means using physical barriers, such as gloves and scarves. You want to safeguard your face, too. Wearing glasses instead of contacts cuts some of the cold winds that can make your eyes water, contributing to moisture loss in the delicate under-eye area.

Even though it might be cold outside, you still need your sunscreen. Daily exposure to UV rays increases your risk of premature wrinkles and cancer. Plus, most sunscreens contain added moisturizing ingredients that benefit dry, winter skin. 

Vitamin C serums also protect your complexion from free radicals that occur from daily environmental exposure. Although using them isn’t a substitute for sunscreen, you might find adding one into your morning routine prevents excess dryness in winter. 

You can also prevent further irritation by investing in gentle bedding and pillowcases. Satin or hypoallergenic pillowcases and sheets can prevent germs or allergens from coming into contact with your skin while you sleep. Cotton or other materials can rub harshly against your skin, causing dry patches to inflame more. Be sure to wash your bedding frequently, as well.  

Up Your Nutrition Game

Healthy skin begins from the inside out. Your body needs the right building blocks to keep all your cells healthy, including those comprising your complexion. In particular, add more foods rich in Vitamin E and healthy fats, including:


  • Fatty fish 
  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Seeds, especially flax and chia
  • Eggs
  • Deep, leafy greens
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Pumpkin
  • Red bell peppers

It’s also important to know what to avoid. Yes, ‘tis the season to overindulge, but too much alcohol dehydrates your skin. Furthermore, ultra-processed foods high in artificial additives, sugar and bleached flour stress your body, which makes your skin look less healthy.

To Avoid Dry Skin, Know What to Avoid

You already know you should avoid alcohol and unhealthy foods to prevent dry winter skin. However, you should also think twice about the following habits that can dehydrate you:

  • Sleeping in makeup: Doing so allows oils to build up on your skin, prompting breakouts. That leads you to use products that combat acne but can leave you drier. It’s easier to simply wash up before bed — make it part of your daily self-care routine. 
  • Washing too hot: That said, taking overly hot showers or using too-warm water to wash your face strips it of oils. It may ramp up production to compensate, promoting breakouts. Keep temperatures moderate.
  • Getting dehydrated: You might not feel as thirsty in winter, but keep that water bottle with you. When you get dehydrated, so does your skin. 
  • Smoking: Smoking hurts your internal health while bathing your face in a bath of nasty free radicals. Ick. Consider free resources to help you quit. 
  • Burning the midnight oil: Stress and a lack of sleep can dry your skin. Your body naturally craves more rest in winter — give it what it wants as much as possible. Dial back on your work obligations and embrace hygge instead. 

Soothe Winter-Dry Skin

The change in season can mean your skincare routine also shifts. It’s more common to get dry skin in winter, but knowing the causes and taking quick action to correct it can keep you comfortable and moisturized. Follow the tips above to soothe dry winter skin and keep your face and hands touchably soft no matter how low temperatures dip.

Have you found any products or tips that help you in the winter with your dry skin? Please share in the comments. 

If you enjoyed this story, please subscribe to my email list. When I post a new story, you will receive it in your inbox.

Cora Gold beauty writer and menopausal skin specialist

Author bio: Cora Gold is a skincare and beauty writer, as well as the editor at women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. Connect with Cora on LinkedInTwitter, and Pinterest.



December 26, 2023

Self Care, skin care, Wellness

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