how to hydrate skin in the winter

Whether you’re a homebody who hunkers down by the fire or an outdoorsy type hitting the ski trails, winter is a brutal time of year for your skin. Outside, the cold and wind whip away moisture. Indoors, the heated air is dry enough to parch even the healthiest skin. How can you keep your skin healthy through the cold, dark months? There’s a lot more to it than just slathering on moisturizer — though that certainly helps. Check out these tips on how to hydrate your skin through the winter months.

Exfoliate Regularly

how to hydrate skin - brooklyn botany brown sugar scrub

Get it on Amazon for around $14

Exfoliating may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hydrating, but it’s an important part of keeping skin healthy. Your body sheds between 30,000 and 40,000 dead skin cells daily. Exfoliating regularly removes the buildup of dead cells and helps healthy new skin cells make their way to the top.

  • For your face: Choose an exfoliating scrub to give your face a healthy glow. Pay attention to the ingredients. The last thing you want to do is aggravate sensitive skin. A nice sugar scrub, like Brooklyn Botany’s Brown Sugar Scrub, is a good choice for even the most sensitive skin.
  • For your body: Try a pair of exfoliating gloves to gently rub away dead skin cells and let the new skin come to the surface.
  • For all over: Dry brushing and massaging away dead skin cells and help stimulate blood flow to make your skin glow. This luxury five-piece brush set includes four specialty brushes and a handle that helps you reach all those hard-to-reach spots.

Cleanse Carefully

how to hydrate skin - toms of maine beauty bar

Get it on Tophatter for around $8

Soap-based cleansers can dry out your skin, making winter skin even harder to manage. Check the ingredients in your soap and body wash, and opt for creamy body washes that leave your skin feeling moist and smooth. Possible choices include:

  •  Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash is a light cleanser that’s free of fragrances, alcohol, and other drying ingredients. It’s an affordable choice for daily skin care for everyone in the family.
  • If you prefer a bar soap for your daily cleansing needs, check out Tom’s of Maine Natural Beauty Bar. It contains no artificial fragrances, preservatives, or colors, but it does contain Rainforest Alliance-certified palm oil. Tom’s donates 10 percent of its profits to charities focused on children’s health and environmental issues.
  • Give the man in your life a moisturizing face and body wash designed especially for him. Era Organics makes a Super Hydrating Cleanser that doesn’t smell like flowers.

Moisturize Religiously

Sure, you use moisturizer, but are you getting the most from it that you can? It’s important to remember that moisturizer doesn’t actually add moisture to your skin. Rather, it locks in moisture to keep your skin hydrated. To maximize your moisturizer’s benefits, follow these tips.

  1. Use warm water rather than hot for your shower. Hot water is drying.
  2. Pat your skin dry rather than rubbing it. Not only will you leave more moisture on your skin, you’re less likely to damage it.
  3. Apply moisturizer immediately after your shower while your skin is still damp.
  4. Let it sink in for at least 60 seconds before applying anything else.
  5. Choose the right moisturizer for your skin type.
  6. Look for moisturizers that contain natural ingredients and avoid those with artificial colors, fragrances, and preservatives.


how to hydrate skin - vaseline

Get it on Tophatter for around $3

  • Best overall moisturizer: According to Harvard Health, good old petroleum jelly is one of the best moisturizers you can buy. If you’re dealing with rough hands, elbows, knees, or heels, it’s hard to beat Vaseline. It’s also still one of the best lip moisturizers around.
  • Best facial moisturizer: Choose a moisturizer that’s designed for your type of skin. Garnier SkinActive Moisture Rescue comes in formulations for dry skin and normal/combination skin.
  • For men: Choose an aftershave moisturizer that will pamper his skin. Lather and Wood makes an absolutely delicious daily moisturizer that’s specially designed for men with problem skin, but works for any type of skin.

Shop the best skincare products now:

Shave Occasionally

Many women take advantage of being covered up to give up shaving for the winter — but an occasional touch of the razor can be good for your skin, according to Dr. Anita Sturnham. Hair isn’t the only thing shaving removes. It also gently exfoliates skin, allowing moisturizers to penetrate more deeply. It’s important to choose the right shaving products, though. With the right razor, shaving cream and skin conditioner, you’ll be doing your skin a favor.

how to hydrate skin - gillette venus razors

Get it on Amazon for around $20

  • Choose a razor that’s designed to be good to your skin. Venus ComfortGlide razors moisturize as you shave, thanks to the flexible moisture bars infused with body butters.
  • Use a moisturizing shaving gel, like Skintimate Skin Therapy Moisturizing Gel.
  • For those intimate areas, check out IntiMD COOCHY PLUS Intimate Shave Crème, specially designed to moisturize and soothe underarms and other intimate areas after shaving.
how to hydrate skin - intimd coochy plus

Get it on Amazon for around $13

As with anything else you put on your skin, check the ingredients for artificial fragrance, preservatives, and other additives.

Eat, Drink, and Sleep Well

Finally, healthy skin starts on the inside. What you put into your body — and how well you take care of it — will show in that lovely glow from within. That means eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies — especially those high in vitamins A, C, and E — making sure you’re well-rested, and drinking plenty of water.

how to hydrate skin - mistaire humidifier

Get it on Amazon for around $40

  • Combat dry winter air with a cool mist humidifier in your bedroom. The Pure Enrichment MistAire ultrasonic humidifier is specially designed to be whisper-quiet so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
  • Is winter especially hard on your hands and feet? Moisturize them while you sleep with NatraCure Moisturizing Gel Booties and Gloves.
  • Drinking enough water can be a little harder in the winter — when you don’t have the heat to remind you that you’re thirsty. You can set a drink reminder on your phone, but this three-in-one smart water bottle by ICEWATER is a lot more fun — and harder to ignore. It glows when it’s time to take a drink.
how to hydrate skin - smart water bottle

Get it on Amazon for around $25

Don’t spend another winter fighting dry, cracked, and itchy skin. Put together a good skin care routine featuring the right moisturizers, body washes, and gadgets to keep your skin soft, supple, and healthy throughout the coldest, driest winter days.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.


Deb Powers is a freelance writer who specializes in home, education, and lifestyle topics. She draws on her experiences as a teacher, mother, grandmother, and all-around creative spirit to help others achieve their own goals.

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