How to Care for Your Skin’s Changing Needs in the Winter

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Portrait of a beautiful woman in snow with application of the protective cream in winter. Portrait of a beauty happy lady applying facial moisturiser cream in winter
Dropping temperatures, cold wind, ice and snow. We dig out our winter coats and hats to prepare ourselves for winter, but sometimes we forget that we need to make a transition with our skin care routine as the season changes.
Dry skin can be a noticeable side effect of winter for many people. It can cause lines that look deeper than normal around your eyes and mouth. It can mean flaky skin on your cheeks, chapped lips, and even cracked skin on your hands or around your cuticles that might bleed. But it doesn’t have to reach this point. With a little effort aimed at prevention, you can care for your skin’s changing needs in the winter before problems arise. 

Use a humidifier

The air is a lot drier in winter. This lack of humidity can often lead to dry skin. Using a humidifier in your home can add moisture back into the air. If you use a small humidifier in just one room, set it up in your bedroom so your skin can get the benefit of higher humidity several hours each night while you sleep.

Wear gloves

The delicate skin on the backs of your hands will be one of the first places to show signs of winter dryness and aging, even before the skin on your face. Getting into the habit of wearing gloves when you go outside – even if it’s just a walk to the mailbox – will help protect your hands. In addition to gloves, make a habit of using a good-quality moisturizer for your hands before bed.

Turn down the heat

Relaxing in front of a fireplace can feel great in the winter, but it can also dry out your skin. Being in a house with the heat dialed up too high can also lead to dry skin. Try keeping your thermostat set between 68 and 72 degrees to give your skin a break.

Lip balm

Don’t overlook your lips. If the air in your home or office is dry, and then you go outside in the winter wind, you run the risk of dry, chapped lips. Smooth on some protective lip balm after meals, before bed, and before you head outside.


Just because it’s not beach weather doesn’t mean you should put away your sunscreen. UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin year-round, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed skin each day is recommended. To soothe dry skin, try picking one with moisturizing ingredients like glycerin or lanolin.

Shower and moisturizing tips

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) has several suggestions for keeping your skin hydrated in the winter:
  • Limit your shower or bath time to five or 10 minutes.
  • Use warm water, not hot.
  • Close the bathroom door to create a humid environment.
  • Pat your skin dry with a towel, don’t rub it.
  • Apply moisturizer right after you dry your skin.

Use gentle, fragrance-free skin care products

Experts recommend you opt for thicker creams instead of thin lotions. The AAD recommends choosing a cream that has one or more of these ingredients:
  • Jojoba oil
  • Dimethicone
  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Lanolin
  • Mineral oil
  • Shea butter
Photo credit: Getty

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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