10 Steps to End Dry Skin This Winter and Beyond
Is your skin super dry, especially in the winter? Mine is!
Perhaps it’s age, indoor heating, or the altitude if you live in the mountains or ski a lot... or maybe it’s just option D) All of the Above. Whatever it is, I think I found a solution. This winter I have finally found a way to keep my skin well moisturized, my heels and lips from cracking, and my face from peeling off from the cold. Read on!
10 STEPS TO ELIMINATE DRY SKIN THIS WINTER AND BEYOND
All of us experience dry skin in the winter. Whether you don’t like the feel of your dehydrated skin, or experience more intense symptoms, like flaking or even painful cracking, here are some effective strategies you can implement immediately to reduce and possibly eliminate this problem altogether.
1. HYDRATE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
💧 Drink more water. If your skin is not getting enough water, it will be affected by dehydration, turning it dry, tight and flaky. And dry skin is the last thing you want, because it’s less resilient and more prone to wrinkling. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water to to keep hydrated and help rid the body and skin of toxins.
If you need to make your water more palatable, infuse it with fruit, or add citrus, cucumber, or mint. And don’t forget to add a scoop of hydrolyzed collagen (to improve skin elasticity and moisture content, support hair and nail growth, and even reduce the appearance of cellulite) to at least one glass per day.
🥑 Eat lots of healthy fats. These contribute to the body's overall health, increasing blood flow and the delivery of nutrients to all the body's cells, including skin. So stock up on foods containing monounsaturated fat (e.g., avocados, olives and peanut butter), and polyunsaturated fat (e.g., salmon and walnuts).
🐟 Take your cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is great for dry skin and eyes, because it's rich in Vitamin A. It also contains two main types of Omega-3 fatty acids: DHA, which keeps the brain functioning properly and EPA, which is great for the skin, regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and delaying the skins aging process to stave off wrinkles.
I recommend a teaspoon of Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil, which unlike other oils, is never exposed to heat during processing, thereby enhancing nutrient bioavailability and preserving nutrient integrity.
🍟 Cut back on salty and fried foods. These dehydrate the body, exacerbating dry skin problems. Eschewing these foods (and all processed foods in general) will not only help avoid dehydration, but benefit your overall health.
🍸 Go easy on the booze. Alcohol dehydrates skin and decreases the body's ability to absorb fluids, leading to a loss of water, electrolytes and minerals. This can cause dry, red, easily irritated skin. Drink alcohol in moderation and alternate with a glass of water between drinks.
🚬 Do I have to even say it? Just NO!
2. LAY OFF THE PERFUME
Preserve your skin’s fragile hydration balance by avoiding spraying perfume directly on your skin and any personal care products that contain fragrance (or parfum). “Fragrance” is an innocuous term, but because it is considered a trademark secret, it can (and is meant to) hide potentially hundreds of harmful synthetic chemicals which hide behind it.
In addition, steer clear of kaolin, charcoal, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil — all of which work to absorb the skin’s natural oils and could over-dry already dry skin, stripping the top layer of the epidermis, which may result in flaky or scaly skin.
3. SWITCH OUT YOUR CLEANSER
Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers, as many cleansers contain harsh chemicals that can strip the skin’s oils or lipids, which are part of the skin’s normal protective barrier.
Here are my three recommendations:
💦 Beautycounter’s best-selling, multi-tasking Cleansing Balm is hands-down the best cleanser for dry skin. It doesn’t strip your skin and leaves it feeling soft and moisturizer, and looking brighter thanks to its radiance boosting Vitamin C. But most importantly, not only is it a nourishing daily cleanser and a melting makeup-removing balm, but it’s also the best overnight moisturizing mask I’ve ever tried. I use it nightly between October and April.
💦 The Countermatch Pure Calm Cleansing Milk is an ultra-gentle cleanser that removes makeup and impurities without surfactants that can strip away natural oils. Its conditioning formula supports skin’s delicate balance, replenishing essential hydration so your face feels soft and nourished, never dry or tight. It‘s milky and does not lather, which some people love or hate.
In full disclosure, This wasn’t my favorite cleanser, because I prefer a little lather. However, I do use it in the winter with my little Foreo Luna Facial Cleansing Brush and not only does my face feel really clean, but it doesn’t feel dry after washing.
💦 If you prefer a foaming cleanser, however, the best option is Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cleanser. It’s super gentle, won’t break the bank, and works well even for very sensitive skin.
4. TAKE SHORTER, COOLER SHOWERS
Limit bathing time to about 10 minutes once a day and use warm water instead of extremely hot water, which robs skin of moisture.
And again, choose mild, fragrance-free soaps to avoid stripping your skin of its essential oils. Deodorant bars, perfumed and antibacterial soaps and skin care products tend to be more drying (and bad for your health!). Instead, try:
💦 Citrus Mimosa Body Bar - this is my absolute favorite bar soap and I use it daily. It contains organic shea butter and antioxidant-rich organic marula and mongongo oils which gently cleanse, hydrate, and soften skin. The lather feels luxurious and it’s delicate citrus mimosa fragrance (derived from fruit extracts and essential oils vs synthetic chemicals) smells absolutely divine.
💦 Beautycounter Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa - if you prefer a liquid to the bar, opt for this extremely gentle and non-drying body wash. It has a creamy texture, and a refreshing, essential oil- and fruit extract-derived citrus-mimosa scent. Rich in nourishing marula and mongongo oil, it helps soften and protect skin.
5. GENTLY EXFOLIATE
Dry skin often leads to flakiness, so gentle exfoliation can be great for sloughing off dead skin cells and for smoothing the skin. However, many facial scrubs use harsh ingredients which can strip the skin of moisture and irritate dry skin. It is important to exfoliate gently, using the right products.
🧖♀️ I use Beautycounter's Overnight Resurfacing Peel every other day. it visibly improves skin texture and minimizes the appearance of pores, fine lines, and dark spots without irritation or over-drying. Its a unique combination of resurfacing acids and soothing acids that hydrate, replenish, and protect skin.
🧖♀️ In addition to the peel, once or twice a week I use the Nourishing Exfoliator, which gently exfoliates using non-abrasive jojoba beads to help slough off dry, dull skin. It contains organic coconut oil and aloe to soothe, hydrate, and condition and sweeps away impurities to reveal smoother, more luminous-looking skin.
🧽 And don't forget the rest of your bod. The Sugar Scrub in Lemongrass not only smells divine (and I mean, AH-MAZING!), but the brown sugar buffs away dull skin, while the oils lock in moisture to leave it looking and feeling polished and smooth. I honestly can’t say enough about this scrub. I live for it every time I get in the shower. It leaves my skin looking so polished and feeling so moisturized that i sometimes don’t even have to moisturize afterwards. If you’ve never tried it, it’s truly a luxurious treat for all the senses. You will love it! I guarantee it!
6. SEAL IN THE MOISTURE
Did you know that when you hop out of the shower and dry yourself off, once the water’s off your skin, so is the moisture? In fact, you have about a 30 second window of time after drying off to slather on some moisturizing goo before all the moisture that’s already on your skin evaporates.
By applying coconut oil in the shower before you towel off, you can seal in all that moisture while simultaneously taking your after-shower beauty regimen into the express lane.
Yep, good old coconut oil is an amazing thing to have around your house, whether you’re cooking, giving your hair a deep conditioning mask (best thing ever!), or sealing in the moisture in your skin after a shower. It’s heaven on your skin, and especially easy to apply this time of year when it’s mostly in its solidified state — just scoop a bit out, warm it up in your hands and apply it like a super-moisturizing balm all over your body. It’ll seal in moisture pretty much until you wash it off again, it’s THAT good.
Coconut oil is coconut oil, and you can use any coconut oil brand you wish (as long as it’s organic and cold-pressed), but I prefer Viva Organic Extra-Virgin brand because it:
🥥 Comes in a wide-mouth container, which makes it easier to scoop up
🥥 Has the most subtle coconut oil scent of any product I’ve found so far, and
🥥 Contains no granules, so it spreads smoothly and evenly with no chunks to rub out on your skin
7. MOISTURIZE… SAFELY
Did you know that body lotion is likely the most dangerous product in your cabinet? If it contains harmful chemicals (and it mostly likely does, unless you’ve already made the switch to safer), it increases your exposure more than other product. Why? Because you slather it ALL over your body and sometimes several times a day! This means that if you are on a quest for safer products, the FIRST thing you should “Ditch & Switch” is your body lotion!
And frankly, I love to slather myself with coconut oil right out of the shower, but I don’t love coconut oil as a regular moisturizer. It’s not something I want to put on before bed (because it gets all over my sheets) or when I have nice clothes on (same issue). However, I do like to apply and reapply moisturizer through the day, especially during the cold, winter months when my skin is most thirsty, and my absolute favorite is Beautycounter’s Countermatch Body Lotion. It is thick and rich enough even when my skin is driest and safe enough for me to not worry about it.
8. HEAL CRACKED SKIN
I don't know about you, but I've always struggled with dry, cracked heels in the winter. Not only are they unsightly, but they can become uncomfortable and even painful if they go untreated. I’ve tried various creams and ointments, but nothing was nearly as effective as Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm. After a single overnight application, look at the difference!!!
I put it on my heels and cover with socks over night 1-2 times/week and it works wonders. To illustrate the difference, I abstained for almost 2 weeks so that I could get an accurate before photo to show you the difference.
Amazingly, healing cracked heels is only one of this multi-tasker’s talents. The Cleansing Balm easily takes off your make-up without water (it comes with an organic cotton cloth that's perfect for this job) and it is my favorite ultra-hydrating overnight MOISTURIZING MASK. It is also a surprisingly effective treatment for ECZEMA, PSORIASIS, ROSACEA, and just about any itchy RASH. It helps to prevent and treat WINDBURN, STRETCH MARKS, and COLD SORES, and soothes BURNS (and sunburns) and painfully DRY SKIN, especially on your elbows, knees, and knuckles. You can even apply it like a HIGHLIGHTER on the tops of your cheekbones to catch the light and illuminate your complexion.
To me, it’s nothing short of “Magic Balm.”
Oh, and don't let the price dissuade you. It lasts forever!!! I use mine almost daily and it lasts for 6-8 months.
9. GET A GOOD HUMIDIFIER
Adding moisture to your room can make a big difference in how you look and feel. Low humidity can lead to dry skin, itchy eyes, and irritated sinuses. It can also make you more susceptible to respiratory infections during the cold and flu season.
Make sure you get a hunidifier that’s easy to clean (Keeping your humidifier clean and mold-free is crucial!) and one that has a UV light to kill microbes in the water. After a lot of research, I found the Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Moisture Humidifier, which checked all my boxes and has done wonders for my skin overnight.
10. AND FINALLY… REMEMBER THE LITTLE THINGS
🧤Wear gloves. Whether you're washing dishes or going out in the cold, protect your hands! In winter months, apply a thick moisturizer (I love Beautycounter’s Body Butter!) to your feet and hands, and always put on gloves before you go outside and expose your skin to cold temperatures and harsh wind.
🧖♀️ Use facial moisturizers that are specifically formulated only for the face. Body moisturizers with oils can induce acne and folliculitis lesions, or infections of the hair follicles.
👹 Avoid irritants as much as possible. If you work with irritating products, protect your skin by applying moisturizer and wearing protective clothing. This means wearing gloves when you are cleaning your house or washing dishes too!
🏊♀️ If you’re a swimmer, shower off to remove residual chemicals after you get out of the pool and then apply moisturizer.