It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to feel hot this wintertime. With these expert beauty tips that remedy everything from dry skin to cracked lips, you’ll be experiencing your best skin ever in no time.
How to Get Your Best Winter Skin Ever
1. Use More Balms
Your lips aren’t the only place you should be applying balms this winter. “I love adding balms into my winter assortment,” says Evie Reyna, a licensed esthetician. “Balms act as skin care multitaskers, as they are generally safe to use all over the face, lips, eyes, neck and chest.”
There are even makeup remover balms on the market now, such as Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm by Clinique. “Balms can break down and remove long wear makeup formulations and leave a cushion of nourishment on your skin after they have been removed.”
To make balms do more for your skin, Reyna says to pat a balm over top of any moisturizer. “This will give you a barrier between your skin and the harsh elements, as balms create an occlusive or protective layer on your skin.”
2. Use the Right Appliances
It’s in your skin’s best interest to put some space between you and your space heater this winter.
“Sometimes, I see patients who have developed what is called ‘erythema ab igne,’ which is an odd skin discoloration that is rooted in being exposed to too much infrared radiation,” explains Dr. Todd Minars, MD and board-certified dermatologist at Minars Dermatology.
The culprit? Indoor heating systems. “It happens when patients are chronic users of space heaters or heating pads, which see spikes in usage during the cooler winter months.”
If you’re a frequent user of space heaters or even the heating pad on your office chair, Dr. Minars advises that you could develop erythema ab igne.
The best course of action to limit any risk is to simply limit your use of indoor heating appliances and bundle up instead.
3. Skip the Hot Showers
When the temperature dips, you might be tempted to take a dip yourself – into a steaming hot bath or shower. But if taking good care of your skin this winter is the goal, hot water won’t get you there.
“Hot water can over-dry your skin and put extra stress on capillaries (fine blood vessels) in the face, leading to a ruddy complexion or broken capillaries,” explains Gen Obolensky, esthetician and owner of Botanica Day Spa.
Adina Mahalli, hair and skincare expert for Maple Holistics, echoes Obolensky’s statements. “The hot water strips your skin of its natural oils and the evaporation off the skin once you step out of the shower can cause your skin to become even drier than it already is.”
The solution? Stick to lukewarm showers or baths instead.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Moisturizing your skin is par for the course when it comes to wintertime. After all, no one wants cracked lips, cracked skin or dry, flaky skin.
By moisturizing, you’re giving your skin the TLC it needs when the humidity drops during the winter months,Mahalli explains to Lively. "Focus on using natural oil-based products such as almond oil and coconut oil to lock moisture into your skin and keep it hydrated."
Since Marta Rodriquez, owner of Skin Laser Studios, says that moisturizers work best while you sleep, make sure you’re lathering up before bedtime. Additionally, she says to look for a moisturizer that contains these ingredients: vitamins E and B, hyaluronic acid, collagen and aloe, since each are known to retain moisture.
Moisturizing doesn't just begin and end with a bottle of lotion, either. There are many ways you can sneak in extra moisture with your beauty products. For example, Rodriquez says to use a cleanser that is more moisturizing.
While you're at it, sneak in extra sun protection by choosing moisturizers that contain SPF 15 or higher. "This is one of the biggest rookie mistakes people make regarding the skin during winter. Just because you can't see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not there!" says Rodriquez.
5. Don’t forget to hydrate!
With moisturizing getting lots of attention come winter, hydration — a vital component to your best winter skin ever — is often forgotten about.
“This is one of the most important things you can do to combat the harsh dry winter air, explains Alissia Zenhausern, NMD, naturopathic physician at NMD Wellness of Scottsdale, to Lively. “Drink at least half your body weight in ounces. So, for example if you weigh 150 lbs., you will want to drink at least 75 oz. of water.”
You can also get hydration from the products you’re using. “Apply water-based serums before moisturizing and look for hyaluronic acid in skincare products as it helps to plump and hydrate the skin,” explains Obolensky.
Zenhausern agrees. “Hyaluronic acid will help your skin retain water keeping it well hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of your skin and often becomes depleted as we age as well as with harsh weather conditions.”
Reyna says to look for these words on your skincare packaging: ceramides, lipids and emollients. "These ingredients help retain high levels of moisture into your skin and allow us to hold onto our hydration a little longer than if we went without them." [Editor's note: One of our favorites? Sunday Riley's ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream.]
Between the frigid temps outside and the indoor heating inside that can feel drier than the Sahara desert, regular exfoliation is a must.
“Remove dead skin cells and encourage skin regeneration with a naturally based exfoliator or even a homemade DIY concoction using honey and brown sugar,” says Mahalli. (Bonus: You can use the homemade version on your lips to buff away dead skin!)
For best results, exfoliate once per week. Any more than that and you could risk stripping your skin of its natural oils and even causing irritation, explains Mahalli.
Want an even deeper form of exfoliation? Use a peel instead, says Mahalli. “A peel series with lactic acid is great for breaking up hyperpigmentation and works well on sensitive skin. Retinol, a powerful form of vitamin A, is effective at keeping the complexion bright and beautiful.”
7. Try This 2-Minute Rule
If you’re tired of dry skin — especially on your hands and knuckles — Dr. Minars recommends what is called the “two-minute rule.”
“The two-minute rule states that after bathing, you apply moisturizer to the dry area/s to ‘lock in’ the moisture before it has a chance to evaporate off your skin.”
He recommends that his patients apply their lotion after they've dried off from their morning shower.
“As with anything, developing regular habits can have impressive results and this is no different. Locking in that moisture shortly after bathing can have noticeable improvements on your drying skin.”
8. Take your collagen
"Collagen mixed into your hot cup of morning coffee is an easy step that will super-charge your skin’s structural support and connective tissue for a youthful and glowing appearance,**" says Obolensky.
So go ahead and scoop up Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer® for a more flavorful start to your day. Looking for something more versatile? Enjoy Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which contains bovine-sourced collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.
9. Keep your skin active
While your body might be in hibernation mode, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your skin active.
“Facial rollers and gua sha stones as fantastic tool to stimulate blood circulation in your face,” says Reyna.
“Add 3-5 drops of facial oil into your palm and press it into your cleansed skin,” she says. “Using medium to firm pressure, use the smooth side of your chosen stone to work the oil in an upward and outward motion to invigorate sluggish skin, and smooth out facial lines.”
When doing this, you might notice a pink flush to the skin. But don’t worry; Reyna says this is totally normal. “This is actually a good sign that new blood and oxygen are making its way to your face.”
10. Use a Toner
"Most people do not know why they use a toner," admits Rodriquez. "They think it is to finish cleansing the skin after cleansing, but toners really return the skin back to its natural pH. All soaps or cleansers are acidic and leave the skin dry and itchy especially in the winter. Toners return the skin to its natural 5.5 pH."
Even if you don't know too much about pH levels, the biggest takeaway is this: Keep it balanced. "This pH is needed in order to have healthy skin summon the natural oils that form the perfect protective from the elements," says Rodriguez, who recommends using something mild like rose water or the ever-popular witch hazel.
And there you have it! The 10 rules you should live by this season to get your skin glowing, healthy and thriving.