It’s no secret that winter is harsh on skin, but it’s not just the weather that wreaks havoc leaving skin feeling dry and uncomfortable. “Winter conditions like low humidity, wind, and dropping temperatures can compromise the skin barrier and leech moisture from the skin,” says New York dermatologist Elyse Love, MD. “These factors, paired with habits like rising thermostats inside, long, hot showers and excessive hand washing can strip skin of its natural moisture levels, often leading to dry, itchy and irritated skin.”
Luckily, it’s easier than you think to ensure that your skin remains soft and protected throughout these frigid months. Here, Dr. Love breaks down exactly what skin-care ingredients are best for keeping your skin healthy during a particularly chilly season.
Ingredients to Look For
According to Dr. Love, ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid are the most important ingredients to incorporate into your winter skin-care routine. “Ceramides are an important component of the skin’s natural moisture barrier and help the skin seal moisture in and irritants out,” she says. “They are produced naturally by the skin, but may be depleted by irritants like hot showers, stripping soaps and other daily exposures.”
Hyaluronic acid is also a naturally occurring molecule that’s vital for good skin health. “In the skin, hyaluronic acid binds to water molecules, allowing the skin to hold on to more moisture so it helps increase the efficacy of moisturizers and helps with overall hydration,” says Dr. Love.
Ingredients to Avoid
It’s best to focus on protecting and supplementing the skin’s natural moisture composition during the colder months. “I recommend decreasing the frequency of potentially irritating ingredients, such as retinol and acids,” says Dr. Love.
Now, it’s important to note that you don’t need to cut down on using these exfoliators completely. Simply decrease the frequency in which they are used in order to ensure your skin doesn’t become inflamed.
Looking for a good product option that utilizes ceramides and hyaluronic acid? Dr. Love recommends CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($19). “In the winter, I recommend swapping out your daily lotion for a thicker cream, like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream,” she says. “It is good for dry, winter skin because its rich formula contains moisture-replenishing ingredients like three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which help combat the drying effects of winter and restore the skin’s natural protective barrier.”