Winter Skin Care: Navigating the Chilly Season with Healthy Skin

As winter sets in, our skin faces a unique set of challenges, calling for an adjustment in our skincare routine. The drop in temperature brings with it lower humidity levels and harsh, cold winds, creating an environment that can significantly dehydrate the skin. This dryness is exacerbated by indoor heating systems which further reduce moisture in the air. Moreover, the skin’s natural oil production tends to decrease in colder weather, weakening its ability to retain moisture and protect against environmental irritants. Additionally, the often-overlooked winter sun can still pose a risk of UV damage. These factors combined make winter a demanding season for skin health, necessitating a more protective and nurturing skincare approach. Let’s dive into understanding winter skin and how to best care for it.

Winter Skin Care. Let's dive into understanding winter skin and how to best care for it.<br />

Winter Skin Care Essentials

Moisturization: Your First Line of Defense

One of the most effective ways to combat winter skin issues is through regular moisturization. Moisturizers act as a barrier, locking in moisture and protecting the skin from the harsh external environment. Look for products containing humectants like glycerin, which attract moisture, and occlusives like petrolatum, which help prevent water loss. Expert tip: be generous with your moistruizer.  Studies show that people tend to apply less moistruizer than needed for the product to work properly. 

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Selecting the right ingredients in your skincare products is crucial. Put the emphasis on hydrating and protecting with ingredients like glycerin, urea, petrolatum, panthenol, ceramides, oatmeal extracts, niacinamide (2-4%). Be more careful with actives that have a high irritation risk like retinoids and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). It might make sense to go for a lower concentration or taking a break if you are feeling that your skin is getting dry. 

Gentle Cleansing

In winter, it’s advisable to use gentle, hydrating cleansers that do not strip the skin of its natural oils. Avoid harsh, soap-based cleansers, and opt for cream or oil-based ones instead.

Sunscreen is Still a Must

It’s a common misconception that sunscreen is only needed during the summer. Winter sun, especially when combined with snow glare, can still damage your skin. Therefore, applying a broad-spectrum SPF is essential. Some prefer choosing a lower SPF for winter, but it’s best to stick with SPF 30 or above. 

Hydration from the Inside Out

External care needs to be complemented with internal hydration. Drinking plenty of water and consuming omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain your skin’s health from the inside.

Humidify Your Environment

Using a humidifier in your home or office can add moisture to the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out.

Caring for Lips in Winter

Without natural oils and with thinner skin compared to the rest of our face, our lips are more vulnerable to the dry, cold air. Here’s a quick guide to keep your smile soft and hydrated through the frosty season.

  • Choose the Right Lip Balm: Opt for a lip balm rich in emollients (like shea butter or coconut oil) and occlusives (such as beeswax or petrolatum aka vaseline) to lock in moisture. 
  • Avoid Licking Your Lips: Licking might provide temporary relief, but it actually dries out your lips more. Try to keep this habit in check.
  • Protect and Cover: Use a scarf to shield your lips from harsh winds and cold air. At home, consider using a humidifier to maintain a moisture-rich environment.
  • Nighttime Care: Before bed, apply a thicker layer of lip balm or vaseline for overnight healing.
  • Be Mindful of Hot Beverages and Spicy Food: Extreme temperatures and spicy food can irritate your lips. 


Winter doesn’t have to be a distressing time for your skin. With the right care and precautions, you can maintain healthy, comfortable and glowing skin throughout the season.

Choose your products based on actives

WIMJ Search allows you to select skincare products based on what’s inside. Filter products by actives included, and exclude ingredients you don’t want. Check the concentration of ingredients and potential irritants.


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About The Author

Maria Semykoz

Science communicator. Co-founder at WIMJ