Skin Care for Cold Weather: 7 Tips and Tricks

Cold weather may make your skin dry, tight, and rough. Taking steps to relieve and prevent dryness can keep your skin hydrated and prevent damage.



Practices that may be beneficial include moisturizing regularly, using gentle cleansers, and taking shorter showers. It may also help to use a humidifier in your home and stay hydrated.





Read on to learn more about 7 skin care tips for cold weather.

A person standing in the sun with a thick scarf around their neck

Photography by Westend61/Getty Images





Cold weather can make

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your skin dry, and dry skin is less likely to hold onto any of its remaining water content. Applying moisturizer regularly may help prevent water loss and keep your skin hydrated.





In particular, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends applying moisturizer right after bathing or washing your hands. Thicker creams or ointments containing ingredients like ceramides

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may be more effective as moisturizers than thinner lotions.





You could also look for moisturizers containing:





Not everyone reacts to these ingredients in the same way, so it may take some trial and error to find the moisturizer that’s best for you.





Learn 6 good habits for people with sensitive skin.





Harsh cleansers may strip your skin of its natural moisturizing agents and worsen dryness. You may want to avoid cleansers containing ingredients like:

  • retinoids
  • alcohol
  • alpha-hydroxy acid





Additionally, it may be beneficial to use fragrance-free cleansers, as fragrances may irritate your skin and cause dryness.





Learn more about skin care routines recommended by dermatologists.





When you’re bathing or washing your face, being gentle can help avoid irritating your skin and prevent dryness. Instead of a face brush or body scrubber, use your hands or a very soft washcloth, and avoid soaps or cleansers containing scrubbing beads.





Though many people take long, hot showers during cold weather, doing so may actually contribute to skin dryness.
Research from 2022

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concluded that long, continuous water exposure damages the skin’s protective barrier, with the effects being even more pronounced when the water is hot.





The AAD recommends limiting bathing time to around 10–15 minutes and using lukewarm water instead of hot.





Learn 7 dry skin shower survival tips.





The sun may feel weaker or stay hidden behind clouds during cold weather. However, protecting your skin from the sun is still essential. Cold weather may mean more coverage from clothes, but the skin that’s exposed still needs sunscreen.





The
Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher for a day indoors, and 30 or higher for an outdoor day. If you can find a moisturizing sunscreen, you may be able to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects while keeping it hydrated at the same time.





Learn some tips for choosing the right sunscreen.





The amount of fluids you drink can impact your skin, and drinking more water may help

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you and your skin stay hydrated and healthy.





The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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provides some tips for staying hydrated:

  • Have a water bottle with you throughout the day and keep it filled.
  • If you have the option, choose water over drinks with lots of sugar, including when eating out.
  • Add a lemon or lime wedge to your water to improve the taste.





Plain coffee or tea and sparkling water can also be healthy hydration options.





Learn more about the dangers of dehydration.





Cold temperatures are often associated with low humidity, and low humidity can make

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your skin dry out faster. Additionally, indoor heating can dry out

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the air in your home and further worsen skin dryness.





Home humidifiers can help add moisture to the air and may alleviate dry skin. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides some tips for safely using humidifiers in your home:

  • Empty, wipe dry, and refill portable humidifiers daily to prevent microorganisms like bacteria from growing.
  • Fill the humidifier tank with water that has low mineral content, such as distilled water, to prevent buildup.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home at or below 50% to prevent microorganism growth.
  • Make sure the area around the humidifier is not damp or wet.
  • Unplug and thoroughly clean your humidifier every 3 days.





Learn more about when to use a humidifier.





Cold weather may bring lower humidity and drier skin, but there are ways to relieve and prevent dryness. Moisturizing regularly, using gentle skin care products, and taking shorter showers may be beneficial.





If you’re still experiencing skin dryness, contact a dermatologist.