Family Health Checklist: Winter Skin

products to care for winter skin

Photo by Peter Ardito

Photo by Peter Ardito

Maximizing moisture 101

Make sure your body wash contains the most nourishing ingredient: water. Also consider gentle cleansers that lock in moisture. We like Cetaphil Ultra Gentle Soothing Body Wash (cvs.com, $10), which is hypoallergenic, for sensitive skin, and Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash (target.com, $6). Slather on lotion within 3 minutes of a warm (but not hot) shower or bath. Moisturizing while skin is still damp traps in water to better hydrate your skin. 

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Take Note

Soft fabrics like cotton and silk won’t aggravate dry skin.

The skin on hands is thin and often exposed to cold, so it gets dry faster than skin on other parts of your body.

Exfoliate with Care 

Every skin type reacts differently to exfoliating (removing dead skin cells). While it’s best to check with a dermatologist about your particular type, in general, if you opt fora chemical exfoliant, choose a product that  contains no more than 10% glycolic acid or 2% salicylic acid. If you use a physical exfoliator, apply it with small, circular strokes for about 30 seconds and rinse with lukewarm water (hot water may irritate skin). Never exfoliate windburned, sunburned, cut or otherwise damaged skin. 

Soothing Words to Look For

When you need to give your skin some TLC, search for products with these words on the label.

Fragrance-free: zero fragrance. This is different from “unscented,” meaning there is fragrance (which can be especially irritating to dry skin) but it’s odorless. Try First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Coconut Water Cream (sephora.com, $34).

Glycerin: aka glycerol; a compound that seals in moisture. Try Curél Hydra Therapy Itch Defense Wet Skin Moisturizer (target.com, $11).

Hyaluronic acid: a natural substance that helps lock in moisture. Try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Gel Cream (neutrogena.com, $9).

Oleic acid: an odorless fatty acid that may help reduce inflammation. Try Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser (sundayriley.com, $35). 

Salicylic acid: an exfoliant recommended for rough, itchy skin. Try CeraVe Psoriasis Cleanser (amazon.com, $18).

Note Snow reflects 80% of UV rays, so don’t skip wearing a moisturizing sunscreen with at least SPF 30 when the temperature heads south.

Something in the Air

A warm- or cool-mist humidifier will disperse soothing vapor, but you have to use and clean the device properly to avoid spreading bacteria. Here’s how:

  • Use distilled water, since minerals in tap water can trigger mold growth.
  • Empty/replace the water each day. 
  • Every three days, wipe the tank with 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

Chapped Lip Remedies 

Drink plenty of water. Dehydration draws moisture away from your lips. 

Avoid plumping products, which actually irritate your skin to puff up lips.

Reapply lip balm throughout the day. Choose one with a petrolatum base and SPF protection.

Exfoliate weekly by gently scrubbing lips with a dry toothbrush or dry washcloth. 

Source: Anthony M. Rossi, MD, member of the American Academy of Dermatology and Mohs surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC