I love walking in a winter wonderland all bundled up with an enormous cup of hazelnut mocha (especially if I get the chance to add in a drop of Frangelico). My skin, however, wholeheartedly disagrees and thinks me doing this is a sign of the end days. Between my own winter skin woes and the complaints of my friends and clients, I’ve had to deal with a good amount of stressed, dry, dull skin. Time to take your gift money and do a little shopping in the name of self care.

Dehydrated, itchy skin

I don’t know why, but it seems that in the winter we forget that hydration is necessary. We then counteract the cold temperatures with steaming hot showers that strip our skin of any stored in hydration, and are confused when our skin is even drier than before we showered. If you do nothing else on this list, then get yourself a huge water jug and make sure you’re drinking 64 oz of water a day – it helps far more than you’d think. I just got one myself and even if I look silly carrying it around, I definitely maintain hydration levels better than I used to. Also, get a humidifier running in your bedroom at night. I live in the very humid American South, and even we will get our humidifiers in the winter.

Dry lips

Bar none, dry lips are the bane of winter existence. Liquid lipsticks already make lips dry – add in the frustration of indoor air, chilling breezes, and generally dry air? Ouch. I scrub my lips a couple of times a week with this delightful rose-flavored lip polish, which makes a massive difference. If I’m not wearing makeup that day, I’ll slather on a really, seriously hydrating lip balm – something like this from Kosas – that I can get in clear or a tinted formulation. If I’m actually wearing lipstick that day, I’ll use this balm that both primes and seals in moisture. At night, I use a lip mask that helps me wake up with soft, smooth lips.

Dry hands

I’ve always had oily skin. I never understood why people used body lotion until I was older, honestly. But even I knew at a young age that cold weather made my hands feel dry, itchy, and sometimes made them flake. Get some relief by using a moisturizing hand or body scrub, then use a hand mask to help replenish your skin. If you don’t want to buy a hand sheet mask, you can do a great DIY treatment with some pure aloe gel, saran wrap, and a hand warmer like this. Lock it all in with a thick but absorbent hand cream and for good measure, some cuticle oil.

Dry facial skin

One of the easiest fixes for dry facial skin is adding in a facial oil – ideally, this would be done after any serums but before your moisturizer. When in doubt, this one from Herbivore Botanicals is a solid bet. The CBD oil in it helps keep inflammation at bay, and it’s intensely hydrating. Start with just one drop and you’ll see how effective it is.

Dry body skin

My old college roommate actually texted me with this exact issue the other day as she’s visiting her in-laws in Arizona, and her poor sensitive skin needed some relief ASAP. Thankfully they have a massive steam shower/sauna (lucky!), so I told her to use this body scrub full of hydrating rose and coconut oils, then follow with squalane immediately after. Squalane may sound like a foreign language, but it’s actually a version of squalene – something your body produces naturally that helps skin have a lovely, hydrated glow. Sadly, we start losing that ability once we hit our 20s (super great, right?), so using something with squalene is a big help. If that somehow isn’t enough, lock it all in with a body butter like this one.

Dull skin

This sadly isn’t a product (nor is it something you can really do at home safely), but a service – search in your area to find a local spa or salon that does dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is a gentle but very effective exfoliation method where a surgical scalpel is used to carefully scrape off the top layer of dead skin cells and hair. I do it for a lot of my clients and get it done myself, and I can tell you it’s making a big difference in my skin this winter. All of my hydrating products are working MUCH more effectively since any dead skin that would keep them from being absorbed is gone.

Sensitive skin from chronic pain

:One of the fascinating parts about chronic pain that many people don’t talk about is that it often comes with increased skin sensitivity with temperature fluctuation. Not only do our joints and nerves hurt, but now our skin does, too! I like using a cream with arnica in it to help ease inflammation, then following a few minutes later with my normal body lotion. It makes a massive difference in my day to day pain levels, especially at night.

Acne flareups

Often the freezing cold will make acne suffers have some relief, but there are a few out there that their acne is actually worse in winter. For those (like me) who have angry skin in freeing temps, I’ve found the holy grail duo. I double cleanse every day: first, I use the Farmacy Green Clean balm to help whisk away any makeup, impurities, environmental crap, and excess sebum; then follow with the Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser which gets my skin clean without being stripped, soft without being greasy, and seriously soothed. I notice an almost immediate difference in the redness of my skin when I use it.

Irritated, red skin

Speaking of redness, some people just have chronically irritated & red skin through the winter (looking at you, redhead former roommate). REN Clean Skincare has an entire line dedicated to treating this, but if you’re looking for a product to try first I’d start with their EverCalm Anti-Redness Serum filled with gentle, soothing ingredients that will help get rid of the itchy skin and create a calm, happy face.

Eczema flareups

Eczema is a tricky beast – you want to treat it carefully but you also want it gone fast. Skinfix has an excellent kit made for just that that comes with a facial moisturizer, a body wash, body lotion, and hand cream so your eczema can be treated head to toe. Made by dermatologists with natural ingredients at the forefront, this isn’t like most eczema products you’ll find out there, and it’s worth every penny.

KP flareups

Good ol’ keratosis pilaris – aka chicken skin. I used to get this on my legs every winter and HATED IT. I wish this scrub from First Aid Beauty had been around then – an AHA scrub meant to be used once to twice a week, it uses physical and chemical exfoliation to get those bumps gone for good.


Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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