Surviving This Winter's Dry Skin

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What to do when our skin becomes uncomfortably dry this winter. Learn tips & tricks from a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist on how to comfort your skin all season long. Also includes winter-skin product recommendations!


Let’s face it, the weather outside sucks. The sun goes down earlier, the wind abuses us, and everything looks so… gray. It’s a sad and cold time of year, but our skin doesn’t need to be sad, too! Taking care of our natural shield will help us make it through these few dark months with ease.

First thing’s first - what’s causing your dry skin?

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The only way to properly treat our dry skin, is to figure out what’s causing it to be dry. Surprisingly, there’s much more than just frigid wind that irritates our skin in the winter. Read below to find out what your main irritants may be.

  • The Sun - Guess what? The sun is still damaging even in the dark months. Although we cannot feel the heat, the UV rays are still there, and just as strong as in the summertime (especially when mixed with snow glare!).

  • Your Heater - Central heating systems and space heaters force out hot air in our homes, and withdraw all traces of existing moisture in our skin.

  • Hot Showers - Say it isn’t so! Don’t take away my hot showers! Unfortunately, hot showers are one of the main culprits for winter dry skin. Just like forced heat, the hot water strips our skin from any existing moisture.

  • Harsh Ingredients - Ingredients in our skincare products that were once fine, may become irritating in the winter. Our skin can start reacting differently to familiar products when our underlying moisture is disturbed. Specifically, high alkaline and detergent soaps will dramatically strip the skin.

  • Dehydration - Well, duh. Did you know that our skin contains 64% water alone? But, here’s the bad news: caffeinated coffee or tea, and alcohol dehydrates us from the inside.

  • The Elements - Cold air has less moisture than warm air, and harsh winds attack our skin barrier, stripping our skin of natural, protective lipids.

Now what? How to treat dry skin.

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Hopefully you were able to pinpoint your main skin irritant in the list above. The unique causes of dry skin each have different treatment options. To have the best possible result, incorporate all, or most, of the following recommendations into your existing skincare routine, and avoid exposing your skin to any preventable irritants.

  • Use a Sunscreen Daily - Apply a zinc-oxide based sunscreen everyday on top of your daily moisturizer. Zinc-oxide sunscreens are the best because they reflect the sun’s rays, and have both UVA and UVB protection. Your sunscreen should be the last thing you apply before your makeup - even if your makeup has sunscreen in it already! Make sure your sun protection has a minimum of SPF 30.

  • Use a Humidifier - A humidifier will defend your skin from the hot, dry air being blasted from central heating systems or space heaters. Humidifiers work by creating more moisture in the air, which will help to prevent your skin from drying out.

  • Essential Oil Bath - If you love relaxing baths, try adding a few drops of lavender or almond oil to the bath water. This essential mix will help soothe dry skin.

  • Toss any “Oil-Free” Products - Your favorite spring/summer moisturizer might not be cutting it during the harsh winter months. As the seasons change, your skincare routine should, too. Try finding an oil-based moisturizer for your face to help replace lost lipids. (Oils in skincare will not make your skin become oily or breakout! That is a MYTH). Using the right serum or oil before your moisturizer will also help penetrate the skin deeper, for a longer lasting result. Within 10 minutes of getting out of the shower, immediately apply your body moisturizer for the best result.

  • Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate - Dry skin, and missing essential lipids, directly result in a build-up of dead skin cells, creating a lackluster, flaky or scaly appearance. Using an exfoliating cleanser once a week will clear away any build-ups, and make your skin more youthful and radiant.

  • Face Sprays - If your skin feels like it needs a pick-me-up throughout the day, try a face spray for an instant hydrating boost. Spritz skin before or after moisturizer, and after makeup application.

  • Skip the Intense Facial - Harsh peels, masks, or alcohol-based toners will strip your skin of all moisture. Opt for a gentle oil-based or milky cleanser, rather than any “deep pore” or clay-based products. Remember to wash your face morning and night to prevent unwanted skin cell build-ups, or clogged pores!


I hope this helps all of you seasonal dry skin suffers! If you liked this blog, please subscribe for more awesome #SkinReignsSupreme newsletters and updates.





Jazmin Rae is a Philadelphia professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist with a passion for skin.