Winter can spell disaster for your skin. The cold, dry air, combined with indoor heating systems can suck the moisture out of your skin leaving it dehydrated, rough and chapped.
We conducted an informal survey to find out what skin problems our readers face during the winter months and what changes they make to their skin care routine. The majority of men we spoke to did not change their regimens other than to moisturize more often and add lip balm. A number of women surveyed used more intensive products during the winter months and, in some cases, even switched brands with the season.
Here are some tips to prevent or heal dry skin from our readers that may help you!
YourSkin101.com: Do you change your skincare routine during the winter and what changes do you make?
Michelle Daze*: I find I need to use skincare products in the winter, whereas in the summer I don’t have the same need. In the winter I definitely need a moisturizer. I usually use Avon Anew Retroactive+ 2-in-1 facial cleanser, then Avon Anew Perfect Eye Care Cream and Avon Anew Retroactive+ Repair Cream for an all-over facial moisturizer. I also need to moisturize my hands religiously in the winter, especially with my work. I work closely with children, so we have to wash our hands quite often throughout the day.
Christina Lee*: I definitely change my moisturizing regimen when winter hits. I switch to a thicker moisturizer, such as the Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask from The Body Shop, which I currently use twice a day. Also, my foundation from Lancome is a three-in-one with SPF 20, moisturizer and foundation color, so it moisturizes all day. Also, in the winter I switch to a softer cleaning product, such as the one I am using now - Aveeno liquid cleanser with soy extract moisturizers so washing doesn’t dry out my skin.
Jessica MacLachlan*: I switch to a heavier moisturizer and a gentler cleanser for my face and use an exfoliating body wash. Regular hand moisturizer is key, as well as good lip balm. I am addicted to Labello (now Nivea) lip balm. Also, a once-a-week hair mask is fab for the tresses, too!
YourSkin101.com: What skincare problems do you experience during the winter and how do you combat them?
Marcia Smith*: I get very dry skin on my face and my hands crack. For my face I treat some areas with baby creams (for diaper rash). I put that on at night only and rinse it off in the morning. For my hands, I will apply pure Vaseline at night and wear socks on my hands. They are super-soft in the morning!
Jenny Miller*: I definitely have dry skin. We heat by wood so our house is extra dry. I double up on my moisturizer. My hands are also very chapped, dry and cracked so I use a heavy-duty moisturizer on my hands and apply it frequently throughout the day. I probably end up using more lip balm as I do find the wind, cold temperatures and a dry house make for very dry lips.
Mira Carter*: I have very dry, flaky skin after I shower or wash my face. I’m prone to redness. so I use a moisturizer for sensitive skin. Usually that does the trick, but sometimes I have to put more on throughout the day. When skiing, I have to deal with sunburn, windburn and extreme cold. I have been meaning to try some heavy-duty face protector, but haven’t yet. Meanwhile, I use Clinique City Block Sheer, which at least adds an SPF 15. My skin is also sensitive to wool, so I have to avoid most types of wool or I get itchy, red skin.
Geoffrey Johnston*: I have very dry hands and face, and my arms and legs sometimes get dry. I fight this by applying moisturizer twice a week, only because I’m lazy, but if I had the time I’ll apply it once a day.
YourSkin101.com: What skincare products would you recommend using during the winter?
Michael Coates*: I use a men’s skin moisturizer; anti-fatigue (might as well erase those dark circles while I’m at it) from L’Oreal since it came on the market a few months back, but I’ve also used other products in the past. My wife has used many products as well, but found that installing a humidifier in the bedroom helped the best for dry skin.
Lisa Taylor*: I’ve had good luck with a store brand moisturizing cream with aloe vera, which surprises me because it’s very cheap. My doctor also recommended Aveeno oatmeal cream to stop itchiness and it seems to be helping. Labello lip balm is okay. Lush makes a foot cream that is pretty effective.
Mira Carter*: I use Oil of Olay for sensitive skin and have just started using Avon Anew Thermafirm, which also doesn’t irritate. Most other products do. I also like the Clinique City Block Sheer for outdoor wear. For body care, I recommend Vaseline Intensive Care for very dry skin. It’s not oily and the pump bottle is easy to use. Body Shop Body Butter smells great and feels like silk on your skin. You can’t beat it for texture and it doesn’t leave an oily residue.
Angelina Fleet*: I would recommend Burt's Bee lip balm, Oil of Olay Complete with SPF 15 (you always need protection from sun exposure) and a rich, hydrating hand cream. I always keep aloe vera in my desk for dry skin - you can use it on your entire body without reaction.
YourSkin101.com: What skincare products would you suggest avoiding?
Marcia Smith*: Avoid hydrocortisone cream. The pharmacist may recommend it, but it actually dries your skin out more. It should be used in moderation.
Christina Lee*: I recommend avoiding any skin product with alcohol in it, as is common in toners. Right now I am using a sensitive skin toner with aloe from The Body Shop that is alcohol-free. Also, I don’t tone as often or as aggressively in the winter as I would the rest of the year.
Theo Whiteley*: I avoid lip balm. I am convinced your body would become dependent on it, so I go without it.
Charlotte Hawksworth*: I try not to use anything that has a lot of harsh chemicals in it. Even the sensitive skin Oxy products really bother my skin and burn it in the winter.
Lisa Taylor*: I avoid waxy lip balms in those little tubes; they dry out my lips and the skin around my lips even more. Thin lotions don’t really do much either and things with alpha hydroxy and similar ingredients can irritate my skin if it’s too dry.
If you have any skin care concerns or ideas for treating winter skin please write in to YourSkin101.com, we’d love to hear them! This page will be updated periodically so send in your winter skin care tips!
*Names have been changed.