How to save your skin from the dryness of winter

Layer your moisturizers like you do your winter clothes

When I lived in Chicago, January was the scariest month! Why? Because you never knew what to expect with the weather. Sometimes it would be mild (by Chicago standards) with no treacherous snowstorms. Other times it would be torrential with an episodic Snowmageddon or two! It was rough, and I do not miss that uncertainty at all. If you live in a city like Chicago, you know how damaging extreme winters can be for your skin. Your skin becomes very dry and ashy because it cannot hold moisture. That or the extreme cold sucks the moisture out of it! Apart from dryness, your lips may chap or blister, and your skin may become patchy and inflamed. As I said, it is scary! 

With Groundhog Day around the corner, everyone hopes that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow and Spring will come early. Whether he sees his shadow, the fact is that winter is not over, and your skin may be suffering through extreme cold. So until then, keep reading to learn: 

5 winter skin care tips to keep your skin hydrated 

1. Seal in your moisturize 

 The Internet is not short on hair care tips for semi-friendly black hotties like me who have 4c type hair. It is all about moisture and management, okay? One of the things that they recommend for my hair type is sealing in moisturizer with oil. Because oil does not always penetrate your hair follicles, it sits on your hair strands instead. That is why they recommend an oil to seal in the other products that you used.

During my last VI chemical peel, I applied the sealing technique to my skin. Although their post-peel home kit includes a cortisone-based moisturizer and broad-spectrum sunscreen, my skin was still so dry! It sucked up the moisturizer like a blistering Chicago winter day. To prevent my skin from cracking, tearing, and burning, I applied these extra oil-based moisturizers to my skin: 

  • Bio-Oil
  • Gold Bond’s Eczema Relief Skin Protectant Lotion  
  • Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E 
  • Vaseline 

I know that seems excessive, but I applied them all in that order! The Palmer’s and Gold Bond moisturizers are emollient-rich, which means they soothe and soften the skin. Emollient-rich products fill the dry cracks of your skin with fatty substances called lipids. They are also occlusive agents that coat your skin with a thin oily film that seals the water in your skin.  

Each morning, I woke up with skin that was soft, smooth, and as supple as your skin could be during a chemical peel. While you may not have to use as many products as I did as part of your winter skincare routine, opt for an oil-based, emollient-rich moisturizer that seals-in your regular daily moisturizer. 

2. Reapply moisturizer throughout the day 

 We always say that you should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen as often as needed throughout the day. During the winter, you may not do this because you do not see the sun and assume that a lack of direct sun exposure means that you cannot damage your skin. Well, you can. So continue to apply sunscreen throughout the day. When you apply the sunscreen, be sure to add your moisturizer of choice for a re-up on moisture. Your skin will thank you for it. 

3. Avoid using skin tightening products during the day 

 Many skincare products leave your skin feeling tight and dry. Sometimes, that tightness and dryness is a part of the process. Winter weather has a way of making your skin feel tight and dry, too. If you do not want to walk around feeling uncomfortable all day, it is best to hold off on using those skincare products during the day. Or find alternative products that are moisturizing and have the same active ingredients. 

4. Use oil-based skincare products and makeup 

 If you have oily skin, this bit of advice may not be the best for you, so exercise discretion as you apply it. Normally, we would tell you to stay away from oily skincare products because they can lead to skin issues. Some common side effects of oil-based skin care products and makeup are: 

  • Clogged pores
  • Excessive oil (duh)
  • Acne breakouts 

I am not knocking MAC Cosmetics at all - I love the brand. They are an example of a company that uses a lot of oil in their products. Hence the term MAC skin. Wintertime may be the best time to use oil-based products for the reasons cited above. You need products that not only moisturize your skin but seal-in the products.

5. Skip heavy makeup products 

I know that this seems counterintuitive to the point above but hear me out. Wearing makeup for long periods has a way of both blocking your skin’s ability to breathe and drying it out. The heavier your makeup, the greater the likelihood that this will be the case. If you love a good winter beat, I am not judging you at all because I do too! But, you may want to skip the full coverage foundation for light coverage or a BB cream of your choice. If you are not comfortable doing either of these things, add a drop of oil to your foundation or BB cream to hydrate and moisturize your skin. Not to mention, that drop of oil will give your skin a dewy finish that is so hard to come by in the winter. 

At the end of any long winter day, you need to restore all the moisture that your skin lost. One of my favorite products to use when doing that is Masktini’s Twilight Zone Tahitian Detox Mask. This foaming face mask draws out impurities, exfoliates dead skin cells, and restores moisture balance to your skin. It is the perfect skincare product for a winter skincare routine, and I am wondering why you haven’t added it to your cart yet! Winter can be brutal, but it doesn’t have to be that way for your skin. Follow these five tips, and not only will your skin stay hydrated, but you will emerge from this cold season with clear, smooth, glowing skin! Until next time.

Meet The Author

Otishka Ferguson

I am a women's fashion and beauty writer who survived 14 straight months of cystic breakouts and now has smooth, clear skin again. So obviously this makes me a skincare expert.

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