I’ve lived in the Midwest my entire life, and the cold has never affected my skin. I’ve been a self-proclaimed pizza face since I was about 11 years old, dealing with mostly oily skin and a hint of dryness here and there. But I never experienced the dryness of my friends and colleagues until I moved to Chicago. What was once a normal skin type became irritated, itchy, red, blotchy, and tight the second the weather switched. It was typically a result of my allergies as the season’s changed, but the Windy City ain’t a lie, ma’am—that wind blowing on your face every day is not particularly music to a dermatologist’s ears.
As Chicago natives, transplants, and general dry-skin people, our editors have a lot of insight to share on how to keep your skin in tip-top shape the second the season changes. Between our wellness tips to keep your hydration in check to reducing skin irritation to helping your scalp health, we’ve got it all covered. Hydrated, smooth skin from your head to your toes, in six steps:
1. Add hydration into every step of your routine
For those with severely dry skin, every product in your routine should have some element that adds to the moisture levels of your skin. Your cleanser shouldn’t be filled with acids; it should contain hyaluronic acid and oils that clean without stripping your skin. Your serums should contain peptides and vitamins (E and C are particularly moisturizing, and C is also brightening!) that keep your skin supple and soft. Focus on hydration with every step.
This doesn’t mean you should give up on all of your exfoliating acids and retinol. Instead, invest in those products that don’t strip the oil and contain moisturizing ingredients. Adding multi-tasking moisturizers, oils, and hyaluronic acids into the mix can help to balance out the drying properties of our exfoliating acids and retinols while restoring hydration to add plumpness and smoothness to skin. Here are some of our favorite moisturizing products to stock up on during dry skin season:
This moisturizer from Moon Juice is one of a kind. It's full of Emollient Fatty Acids to seal in moisture and help improve skin’s natural barrier function, plus it has three potent adaptogens—Ashwagandha, Schisandra, and Reishi—for an additional layer of protection. Ashwagandha helps protect from blue light that shuts down mitochondria, Schisandra helps promote skin’s natural collagen, and Reishi helps nourish the barrier to tame irritation. It's the do-it-all cream of our dreams.
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This serum is like a glass of water for the face. While low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid and PGA Peptides work synergistically to hydrate around the cells, the formula's Beet Amino Acid and Silver Ear Mushroom work to deliver water into the cells and lock it in for long-term moisture. This serum also has adaptogenic Reishi to help improve skin’s natural barrier function as well as Vitamin E to help protect skin from oxidative stress to preserve elasticity. Multitasking for the win.
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This hydrating cleanser from CeraVe is probably the most-loved cleanser on the Internet—it is hydrating, pH-balanced, and great for a morning and evening cleanse. Its lotion-like formula is packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin to provide 24-hour hydration to help hydrate skin without stripping moisture. It's a dry skin savior in our book.
Get perfectly hydrated skin without the heavy lotion feel with this Wet Skin Body Lotion from Jergens. This formula is made for use while your skin is still wet, right out of the shower. It helps to lock in hydration at skin’s peak moisture moment to help you achieve luxuriously renewed soft skin.
2. Increase liquids in your diet and supplement when necessary
Drinking water isn’t the only way to hydrate your body. Filling up on fruits and vegetables that have a high water content—like lettuce, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, peaches, and cauliflower—does the job too. But that’s not the only way either; oatmeal, soups and broths, dairy, and plain yogurt contain high amounts of water too.
While we all know to drink our water at this point, what you might not have in your arsenal is a hydration multiplier. Sometimes getting all of your water in just isn’t in the cards, and that’s where a product like this comes in. These products work to replenish electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, so if you find yourself feeling dehydrated (maybe after a cold, with allergies, or stress), these help bring your hydration levels back up.
If you're looking to get more out of the water you drink, look no further than these hydration multipliers from Liquid I.V. With eight flavors that actually taste good, this electrolyte drink mix powered by Cellular Transport Technology helps you to hydrate faster and more efficiently than water alone. 1 stick contains three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks with five essential vitamins.
If you're in the market to up your hydration game, you obviously need a hefty water bottle that'll help to reduce trips to the water cooler. This 40 ounce bottle from Stanley is an editor favorite for a reason. Besides being absolutely massive, it fits in a cupholder, has a convenient handle, and keeps water cold for hours on end.
3. Limit hot showers
Dermatologists suggest using warm or cool water to shower if you’re prone to irritation and dryness. If you must shower in hot water, try to limit the time you’re under the water. Then, follow with a moisturizing cream or oil. You should also avoid showering every day unless you work out or get dirty in some way.
4. Blot your skin dry
Instead of getting out of the shower and immediately using your towel to rub your skin and hair dry, blot the water off as best as possible, including your scalp. You can even invest in a hair wrap or towel specifically made to keep your hair and scalp healthy while it’s wet. Ever get out of the shower and see your dead skin come off on a towel? Blotting keeps all the moisture locked into your skin and prevents further exfoliation.
5. Don’t forget your feet and hands
Just because pedicure season is on its way out doesn’t mean we can stop hydrating and exfoliating our feet. Give yourself a fall and winter-themed pedicure with a warm soak, an exfoliating mask, and sleeping with a thick moisturizer and some socks.
Notice your hands are feeling a little rough from all the hand-washing too? Do the same: soak in warm water, use an exfoliating mask or scrub, and sleep with a thick moisturizer on and some gloves.
These exfoliating socks are the one skincare solution you didn't know you needed. This pack features a pair of overnight socks pre-filled with an advanced blend of plant extracts and exfoliants to smooth and soften rough, callused feet. Formulated with glycolic, malic, and lactic acids, these exfoliating socks help to slough off hardened, dead skin. They promote a soft texture and new cell growth which leaves your feet looking and feeling smooth and moisturized.
This Ultimate Strength Hand Salve from Kiehl's is the real deal. It helps protect against and repair the appearance of severe dryness caused by manual labor, neglect, or exposure to harsh elements. It's the must-have accessory of the dry, winter season. It allows skin to draw and absorb water from the air, forming a "glove-like" protective barrier against moisture loss—plus, it’s enriched with a blend of botanical oils and natural wax derived from olive oil to soothe, moisturize, and condition skin.
6. Treat your scalp like your face
If you’re experiencing dryness on your face, it’s likely on your scalp too. Whether you suffer with dry or oily hair, there is likely build-up (hey dry shampoo!), oils, and irritation going on up there. To combat it, treat your scalp the same way you do your face, and create a routine. First, focus on moisturizing shampoos that hydrate your scalp from the start. Then, implement a deep conditioner that you can use from scalp to ends. We also love adding a scalp scrub to get rid of build-up too.
Aside from a routine, try to limit how often you’re scratching and touching your scalp. This only moves around the oils and causes further irritation.
This weekly, clinically-tested mask from Briogeo strengthens damaged hair, prevents future damage, and is great for dryness, frizz, damage, split ends, and breakage. The rosehip oil helps maintain hair hydration and control frizz with crucial, essential fatty acids. This stuff is dry hair's saving grace.
This Instant-Exfoliating Scalp Scrub from Kristen Ess is the answer to a dry scalp. This non-drying scrub removes flakes, product build-up, excess sebum, and hard water deposits from the scalp, giving you a cleaner canvas through gentle exfoliation. Formulated with a sugar complex to keep natural moisture intact, it's a great solution for dry-skin season.
The last thing you want in a shampoo (especially during the winter months) is a formula that'll dry out your hair. This hydrating shampoo from PATTERN BEAUTY offers up a moisturizing formula that softly lathers to cleanse the hair and scalp while removing build-up & dirt (sans stripping away moisture).
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Moon Juice, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.