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Whether you love it or hate it, winter is well on its way here in Minnesota. Along with snow storms and frosty mornings, winter brings cold air that can cause serious dryness, itchiness and even blistering. Indoor heating can also suck up moisture from your skin. As someone who already has dry skin, I’ve experienced my fair share of severe flaking and skin tightness that only worsens when winter comes around. Below is a list of tips to maintain a smooth glow as well as products that have worked for me. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different and I’m not a dermatologist, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt!

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! 

This is obvious, but there’s a reason why this skincare is such an essential, especially when the cold blasts hit. The lack of humidity in cold air causes skin to lose moisture quicker. I apply moisturizer a lot more frequently in the winter, but it’s been a long process to find one that keeps skin soft for a long period of time and doesn’t irritate my skin. In many ways, the search for the perfect moisturizer is similar to finding the right foundation shade: there’s a lot of trial and error. Throughout my life I have tried multiple different moisturizers, from drugstore to pricier name brands. My current favorite is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Although expensive, this moisturizer feels lightweight on my skin and actually keeps my face smooth and flakeless for the whole day, reducing the number of times I need to reapply.  Clinique Moisture Surge was another popular one that I tried, but from personal experience it caused my skin to break into hives. Eucerin and Cetaphil are cheap drugstore brands that have great reviews as well. 

Don’t just pay more attention to your face; other problem areas during the winter include hands and lips. If you’re especially prone to winter blistering and the typical hand cream isn’t doing the trick, try moving towards hand ointments and salves. For example, I use Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, which helps heal my bleeding knuckles in just a few minutes within applying. The more affordable Vaseline Clinical Care Eczema Calming Hand And Body Lotion also does the trick. Additionally, remember to regularly apply lip balm. If you’re in need of a cheap but deeper lip exfoliation, try applying some Vaseline on your lips, leave on for a couple of minutes, then gently rub your lips with a warm towel. 

Alter your skincare routine if need be

Using gentler cleansers, such as creams or gel based products, prevents further irritation and dryness after cleansing. Look for cleansers that are specifically made for moisturizing dry and sensitive skin, and don’t contain fragrances. I’ve been using Kiehls’ Ultra Facial Cleanser for over a year now, and it’s the first cleanser I’ve used that doesn’t tighten or dry out my skin after rinsing it off. The 5 oz bottle has lasted me quite some time (a little goes a long way)! ( I promise this article is not sponsored by Kiehl’s). A cheaper drugstore option is the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Moreover, stay away from or sparingly use fragranced skincare products that contain alcohol and water. Toners, facial sprays and astringents are products that contain majority water and/or alcohol, which dry out your skin. If you can’t let go of these during the winter, remember to moisturize after applying these kind of products. 

Using exfoliators during the winter months depends on the person. Exfoliators are beneficial due to how they clean off dead skin cells, but also can be rougher on irritated skin. Be gentle when exfoliating and moisturize after. 

Additionally, try applying moisturizing night cream right before bed. I used to think that night creams were gimmicky and pointless, but after investing in one myself, I understand why it’s necessary for some people. Night creams do a good job of maintaining moisture in your skin while it regenerates during sleep. If you tend to wake up late and not devote much of your morning to prepping your skin, night creams cause you to wake up the next morning with already smooth skin. I’m currently using the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Overnight Recharging & Refining Moisturizer, which leaves my skin soft enough to last the whole day. This stuff is not cheap, even when I got it half off, but it does do the trick.  

Sunscreen

Lastly, sunscreen is still necessary in the winter. Snow reflects the sunlight, so it’s still important to incorporate SPF in your routine. If you’re looking to kill two birds with one stone, look for moisturizers that already have SPF.        

In conclusion, skincare for cold weather may be annoying for some people to deal with, but it ultimately comes down to finding the best products that keep your skin healthy and soft. Hopefully these tips and recommendations help you keep the flakes away this winter.

Gloria Lee

Hamline '23

Hello! Just trying to get through life like the rest of y'all.
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