Winter skin care can be a challenge. Cold, dry air is harsh on exposed skin because it causes moisture to be drawn away from it. The result is dry, cracked, or bleeding skin. Dryness and irritation can be relentless, and dry indoor heating doesn’t help.

While you may be tempted to take a hot shower or sit by the fire, this doesn’t help your skin either. But you can treat dry, chapped skin, and get through the winter looking healthier and more youthful, with these skin care tips:

1. Adjust Your Shower Habits

Hot water can draw oils away, causing your skin to dry out. That’s why hot showers and baths feel good at first but lead to dryness later. To avoid this:

  • Keep water lukewarm, including when washing your hands.
  • Limit shower time to five to ten minutes.
  • Use moisturizer immediately after washing.

Many people are conscious about water temperature but, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cold water and soap are just as effective at killing germs.

2. Use the Right Moisturizer

Some over-the-counter products can cause more dryness, especially those with petroleum-based ingredients. An oil-based moisturizer helps skin retain moisture, while ingredients such as lavender and chamomile can be soothing and nourishing.

It’s important to wash your hands frequently during cold and flu season, but this can have drawbacks. In the winter, a cream or ointment is better than a lotion. And don’t forget to moisturize at night as your skin loses moisture during sleep.

3. Protect Your Skin

Gloves and scarves are important in cold weather, whether it’s calm, windy, raining, or snowing. Avoid wearing wool or other rough materials that directly contact your skin; lighter, breathable materials should be worn underneath heavier clothing.

4. Take Off Wet Clothes

If your pants, gloves, or socks get wet, take them off when you get inside. They can irritate your skin, make you itchy, and cause irritation and dryness. A hydrocortisone cream can help within a few days but, if the dryness persists, you may need a prescription-strength moisturizer.

5. Use Sunscreen

The winter sun may be lower in the sky, but on bright days with snow, UV exposure can be high. Put on sunscreen whether you’re going for a walk or stopping to enjoy the snow, even if it’s overcast. The sun’s UV rays can still get through.

6. Install a Humidifier

A humidifier helps put moisture back into air dried out by heating systems. By putting one in your bedroom, you can prevent your skin from becoming dry overnight. Lowering the thermostat a little can also help.

7. Stay Nourished and Hydrated

Foods and supplements with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help keep your skin healthy. Your body also hydrates from the inside out. Therefore, drink plenty of water even if you have the occasional hot tea or cocoa. This is good for your overall health as well.

8. Avoid Allergens and Irritants

These can have an enhanced effect on fragile winter skin. Chemical detergents are among many irritating compounds. Stay away from known allergy triggers especially if you have a condition such as psoriasis or eczema.

See Your Dermatologist in Los Angeles

If winter dryness is taking a toll, schedule an appointment with LDI, which offers the best skin rejuvenation services in Southern California. Use our online scheduling system to set up a complimentary consultation or call one of our 3 office locations—LDI of Los Angeles, LDI of Covina, LDI Of Newport Beach—for information or to book a convenient time slot.