Winter Skincare: How to Keep Skin Moisturized and Healthy

Written by: Nazanin Saedi, MD FAAD

Published on: 1 February 2021

Cold weather can take a serious toll on the skin, causing irritation and dryness. The cold temperatures, wind, low humidity, and dry indoor heat all contribute to water evaporating from the skin and leaving it dry. A few changes to your routine can keep your skin glowing and moisturized all winter long.

Let’s talk about a few myths and some tips for how you can prevent dry, irritated winter skin.

Myth: Washing your skin multiple times a day and exfoliating will help keep your skin glowing.

Truth: Over-washing your face in the winter months is bad for your skin! It will dry you out! Wash your face twice a day, preferably at night, to remove dirt, impurities, and makeup. In the morning, do a simple wash of your face with water. Try to avoid facial products that contain alcohol, such as toners and astringents. These products dry out your skin and can weaken the skin barrier.

Products containing retinoids or retinol can also be drying and slightly irritating in the wintertime, so reduce their use to every other night. You can add a thick nighttime facial cream to keep your skin moisturized.

It’s also beneficial to decrease the amount of exfoliation in the winter because it can be too irritating. Avoid harsh scrubs which can cause micro-tears in your skin and compromise the skin barrier. Gentle chemical exfoliation with alpha-hydroxy acids once to twice a week will help exfoliate the dead skin cells and leave glowing skin without the irritation.

Lastly, don’t forget to moisturize your eyes and lips. I recommend using a thick product at night such as Vaseline Original Healing Jelly under the eyes and Vaseline Lip Therapy Mini on the lips.

Myth: Taking long, hot showers or baths in the winter is good for soothing your skin.

Truth: Avoid long hot showers or baths because they will dry out your skin even more. As hard as it might be, try to take relatively short, warm baths or keep your showers to five minutes or less. Avoid harsh bar soaps because they can be both irritating and drying. Instead, try moisturizing bath and shower liquid cleansers – these help moisturize the skin while cleaning it. 

Myth: You should wait until you are completely dry before applying moisturizer.

Truth: Don’t wait! The best time for moisturizing is immediately after a shower or bath. Applying a moisturizer immediately afterwards will help seal in the moisture. Thick, rich creams and lotions are best for moisturizing and maintaining the skin’s protective barrier. Good ingredients to look for include ceramides, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.

For persistent dry areas, try applying Vaseline Original Healing Jelly overnight to lock in the moisturization and to protect your skin’s barrier. Most commonly referenced as ‘slugging,’ this will help lock in moisture to hydrate the skin overnight and leave the areas plump in the morning.

Ceramides will help repair and strengthen the skin barrier. It is best to moisturize twice a day if possible. Creams and ointments tend to be better because they are thicker and more moisturizing, but it can be hard to put on a thick cream before getting dressed. Lotions are often easier to use and not as messy. Try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion, which has glycerin and droplets of petrolatum, which help seal in moisture in the skin.

You can also keep your skin moist by adding a humidifier to moisturize the air in your bedroom. Heaters pull moisture from the air and will dry out the air in the room, while humidifiers help by adding moisture back into the air.

Bonus Tip:

Try to moisturize after you wash your hands: With potential health concerns and flu season top of mind, it is so crucial for us to carefully wash our hands multiple times a day. Using hand soap and water is ideal, and afterwards apply Vaseline Clinical Care 2 in 1 Hand Sanitizer Lotion which provides a sanitizing benefit while moisturizing. It is important to prevent our hands from getting overly dry or cracking because that can be an entry for an infection.

The winter weather might be harsh, but we still have ways to keep our skin healthy and moisturized!