In many places, winter weather can cause a range of skin problems, from mild irritation to extremely dry skin. The best winter skin care routine will typically depend on the specific type of skin an individual has, keeping in mind that some skin types can change with the seasons. For example, even someone who normally has oily or combination skin during the warmer months may find himself or herself battling dry skin during the winter. As a result, increasing moisture, avoiding harsh products and protecting one's skin from the elements are important winter skin care suggestions for all skin types.
In the winter, someone with normal skin should typically try to use gentle products that retain moisture, while avoiding certain ingredients, such as alcohol, fragrances and artificial colors. To help prevent redness and irritation, one should try not to use harsh cleansing or exfoliating skin products. Most dermatologists suggest that individuals should apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing — before the skin is completely dry — in order to aid moisture retention.
For those with skin types other than normal, there are some additional winter skin care recommendations worth considering. Dry skin, for instance, usually needs extra protection in the winter. One should start by using mild face and body cleansers, such as those containing oatmeal, for example. Many people also opt to use heavier moisturizers than they would during warmer times of the year, and tend to choose products that contain vitamins and essential oils. These ingredients can generally be found in most moisturizers containing shea butter, coconut butter or coconut oil.
A good winter skin care routine might also require changing some habits, such as taking shorter showers or baths and using warm water rather than hot. The skin can become dry from long, hot showers, which remove necessary moisture from the skin. Furthermore, certain types of laundry detergent can also cause skin irritation and dryness, and should be avoided. Using a humidifier indoors and avoiding excessive heat are two additional actions that can help keep the skin from becoming uncomfortably dry.
In addition to using gentle and moisturizing products when indoors, good winter skin care should also entail protecting one's extremities, including the hands and lips, which are likely to become chapped when outside. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen and lip balm all year, not only helping to prevent dryness, but also potentially decreasing one's skin cancer risk. Wearing gloves, a hat, and a scarf for extra skin protection is also recommended.