Defeat Dry Skin: Preventing Flaky Skin on Your Face this Winter

A woman is preventing dry skin by holding a jar of cream during winter.

As the seasons gracefully transition from the warmth of summer to the crisp embrace of fall and the chilly winds of winter, our skin often undergoes a transformation of its own. The arrival of cooler weather can bring about a common skincare woe: dry skin. Understanding why this occurs and adopting a proactive approach to hydration is essential to maintaining a healthy and radiant complexion. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the reasons behind the seasonal shift in skin texture and unveil ten indispensable tips to keep your skin nourished, moisturized, and glowing despite the changing weather.

What Causes Dry Skin on the Face?

1. Low Temperatures & Humidity Levels:

As temperatures drop, so does the humidity in the air. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, and indoor heating systems further exacerbate this by creating a dry environment. The result is parched skin that struggles to retain its natural moisture.

2. Harsh Winds:

The brisk winds characteristic of fall and winter strip away the skin’s protective oils. This, coupled with low humidity, accelerates the rate at which moisture evaporates from the skin’s surface, leaving it dry, tight, and sometimes even chapped.

3. Hot Showers:

While a steaming hot shower may feel like a comforting escape from the cold, it can actually contribute to dry skin. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, disrupting the lipid barrier that helps to retain moisture.

A close up of a woman's face with freckles seems to have dry skin.

4. Indoor Heating:

Central heating systems are a savior during colder months, but they can be harsh on the skin. They tend to dry out the air indoors, leading to dehydration and, consequently, dry skin.

5. Reduced Sun Exposure:

With the arrival of colder weather, people tend to spend less time outdoors. While this is a natural response to the chill, it also means reduced exposure to sunlight, which plays a crucial role in skin health. Sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D, essential for maintaining skin elasticity and moisture.

6. Inadequate Hydration:

During colder months, individuals might not feel as thirsty as they do in hot weather, leading to reduced water intake. Dehydration from insufficient water consumption can manifest in dry and lackluster skin.

Fight Back Against Flaky Skin with These 10 Tips

In winter, a woman with a towel on her head is preventing dry skin by applying cream to her face.

1. Opt for Lukewarm Showers:

While hot showers may be tempting, opt for lukewarm water to protect your skin’s natural oils. Hot water can strip away these oils, leaving your skin more prone to dryness and irritation. A shorter shower duration can also contribute to healthier skin.

2. Use Gentle Cleansers:

Choose a mild, hydrating cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of its natural moisture. Avoid harsh, alcohol-based products that can further contribute to dryness. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides, which help lock in moisture.

3. Invest in a Humidifier:

Combat the dry indoor air caused by heating systems by using a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air helps prevent your skin from drying out, promoting a healthier complexion. Place the humidifier in your bedroom or other frequently used spaces for maximum impact.

4. Moisturize Immediately After Showering:

Lock in moisture by applying a hydrating moisturizer immediately after patting your skin dry post-shower. This helps seal in the water from your shower and prevents it from evaporating, keeping your skin supple and moisturized.

5. Choose the Right Moisturizer:

Opt for a thicker, more emollient moisturizer during fall and winter. Creams and ointments provide a heavier barrier against moisture loss compared to lotions. Look for moisturizers with ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, or lanolin for extra hydration. If you are acne prone look for “non comedogenic” on the label. 

A woman is preventing dry skin by holding a jar of cream during winter.

6. Layer Your Skincare:

Embrace the concept of layering your skincare products. Start with a hydrating serum containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, follow with a nourishing moisturizer, and finish with a protective layer of sunscreen during the day.

7. Stay Hydrated from Within:

Maintain a healthy water intake throughout the day, even if you don’t feel as thirsty in colder weather. Proper hydration helps support your skin’s natural moisture levels and overall health. Herbal teas and water-rich fruits can also contribute to your daily fluid intake.

8. Protect Your Skin from the Elements:

Shield your skin from harsh winds by wearing protective clothing, such as scarves and hats. This not only adds a stylish touch to your winter wardrobe but also helps prevent the wind from directly impacting your skin. Mineral SPF’s can even serve as a barrier between your skin and the cold.

9. Exfoliate Gently:

Incorporate a gentle exfoliation routine into your skincare regimen to remove dead skin cells and allow your moisturizers to penetrate more effectively. Avoid harsh exfoliants, especially if your skin is already dry, and limit exfoliation to once or twice a week.

A woman with flaky skin getting a facial treatment at a beauty salon.

10. Modify Your Skincare Routine:

As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine. Pay attention to how your skin reacts to the weather and adjust your products accordingly. Consider consulting with a skincare professional for personalized recommendations based on your skin type and concerns.

11. Get Regular Facials from a Trusted Esthetician

In addition to home remedies, regular facials from a skilled esthetician will help you maintain radiant skin year-round. Through targeted treatments for your skin type and recommendations for products that will support your skin through the seasons, an esthetician can help ensure you’re never left wondering how to get rid of those annoying flakes—and help prevent them in the first place.

Prevent Dry Skin Through the Seasons

As the leaves change and the air turns crisp, your skincare routine deserves a change as well. Understanding the reasons behind dry skin during fall and winter empowers you to take proactive steps in maintaining a hydrated and healthy complexion. By adopting these ten tips, you can embrace the seasonal shift with confidence, knowing that your skin is well-nourished, moisturized, and ready to radiate its natural beauty despite the changing weather. So, wrap yourself in the warmth of self-care, and let your skin glow with the beauty of each passing season.