What to Do When Your Dry Skin Becomes Drier in Winter


In This Article:

Those with dry skin know that winter’s unwelcome mix of cold, dehydrating air and the freezing dip in temperatures magnify everything that makes dryness so uncomfortable and tight-feeling.

You’ve already tried switching to a creamier cleanser and a richer moisturizer to combat the cold—but what if those changes aren’t enough? What can you do that will really (and finally) work?

We’ve got your dry skin safeguarded from the cold with our research-supported solutions! Best of all, these modifications are easy and they’ll produce immediate results for your dry, flaky, weather-beaten skin.

How Winter Weather Makes Dry Skin Worse

When the temperature drops and the cold winds blow, that chilly air is dry, and the low humidity, both indoors and outside, is hard on skin!

In addition to the low humidity outdoors, your skin also is under assault from the dry, heated air indoors. The combination of cold and dry outside and hot and dry inside sends already-dry skin into a tailspin. You want supple, smooth skin, but are dealing with dehydration, redness, tightness, flaking, and a continual uncomfortable sensation.

Now you can keep your skin comforted, smooth, and super-hydrated by adding specialized products that lock in moisture, nourish skin, and keep the cold environment from sapping your natural radiance.

How to Adapt Your Skincare Routine

At Paula’s Choice Skincare, selecting one or two of our nourishing, skin-renewing serums and boosters will give you the best results—you don’t have to change your entire routine. These innovative formulas work perfectly with your current skincare routine, and are packed with the types of ingredients your skin needs to look and feel silken, softer, calmed, and more radiant, despite the climate conspiring against you.

Of course, you need to be sure your skincare routine is already perfect for your dry skin. That means using a soothing water-soluble cleanser, a non-drying toner loaded with skin-replenishing ingredients, an AHA or BHA exfoliant (AHA is preferred for dry, dull skin to help naturally shed that unwanted buildup of dead surface skin), a richly restorative daytime moisturizer with sunscreen, and a creamy, rejuvenating nighttime moisturizer.

Those are the basics—all you need to do is add a couple key products, as follows, to keep the winter weather from interrupting your skin’s healthy appearance:

  1. Morning and evening, cleanse with a gentle, creamy water-soluble cleanser. If necessary, use a soft washcloth with your cleanser to be sure you’ve removed all your makeup. You can add our Gentle Touch Makeup Remover as well.
  2. Morning and evening, apply a milky, skin-replenishing toner to face and neck (no need to rinse).
  3. Once or twice a day, apply a leave-on, hydrating AHA lotion exfoliant to face and neck.
  4. Morning and evening, apply Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum to face, including around the eyes, and neck.
  5. Morning and evening, apply RESIST Moisture Renewal Oil Booster to face, including around the eyes, and neck.
  6. For daytime, apply your moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen; at night, apply a super-rich moisturizer, including on your neck and around the eyes (follow with eye cream if desired).

If you want to enhance your beauty sleep and give your skin a super hydration boost overnight, apply our Radiance Renewal Mask to your face, neck, and eye area as the last step in your nighttime routine. You will wake up to unbelievably smooth, glowing skin!

What to Avoid

Following the routine outlined above will absolutely get you through the storm with skin that feels restored and revived and looks healthy. Even better, you won’t waste your time or money trying several different moisturizers, hoping one of them will bring the relief you seek.
Equally important as what to do is what to avoid, so as frost appears and the snowfall continues, keep these pointers in mind:

  • If skin is flaky, don’t reach for your facial cleansing brush or scrub. Unless the bristles are cashmere-soft or the “scrub” is equally gentle, you could end up making matters worse. A soft washcloth with your water-soluble cleanser followed by your replenishing toner will give you skin-perfecting results.
  • Don’t forget your AHA exfoliant. It naturally helps skin shed unwanted flaky surface skin. Routine use also means that your replenishing moisturizer, serum, and booster will work MUCH better!
  • Avoid products that contain drying, sensitizing ingredients like denatured alcohol, essential oils, mint, menthol, eucalyptus, clays, and starches. Surprisingly, these ingredients show up in a large number of products for dry to very dry skin.
  • Our CLINICAL Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter and CLINICAL Ultra-Rich Moisturizer can be lifesavers for very dry facial and body skin. These products are proven to prevent moisture loss for 12 hours! They are formulated to be gentle and nourishing to very sensitive skin, and are even suitable for skin prone to eczema.
  • Avoid taking long, hot showers, baths, or spending a lot of time in a sauna or hot tub. Although it certainly can feel relaxing, prolonged exposure to hot water and steam can deplete the key substances skin needs to resist stubborn signs of dryness.

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here:The same type of in-depth scientific research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula’s Choice products for dry skin.

References for this information:
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, August 2016, pages 1285–1294
Harvard Health Letter, January 2015, page 7
Experimental Dermatology, October 2014, pages 27–31
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2013, pages 3–11
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135–142
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, April 1996, pages 75–83

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!

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