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How to care for dry skin in winter

Experiencing dry skin in winter? Temperature can have a large impact on skin's texture and feel. Learn more about how to manage winter skin here. Read more.

How to care for dry skin in winter

Winter often sees an up-take in skin concerns for dry skin types. The occurrence of flaky, scaly and rough textured complexions increases in dry weather due to external and behavioural changes, so your skincare routine during these months will need to adapt.

If winter skin feels hard to get on top of, you’re not alone. The good news is that only a few shifts are needed to create a nourishing winter skin care routine. The best moisturiser for winter, adjustments around application times and the inclusion of nourishing formulas all help to boost radiance in skin.

Alongside winter skin care products, it’s also important to observe the ways in which your skin reacts to weather throughout the day. Knowing how to prevent dry skin can often be unique to you, and a personalised routine will do the most to boost hydration. To help you alleviate dull or itchy skin in winter, we’ve compiled a simplified guide to dry skin in winter, and the best skincare approach during these months.

What happens to dry skin in winter?

Trips to humid locations can be a comfort for those with sensitive or dry skin (including eczema-prone symptoms). This is because moisture-rich air assists the natural oils in skin, which then help to maintain a strong moisture barrier. Unfortunately, dry weather conditions have the opposite effect, actually drawing out moisture from skin. Termed ‘transepidermal water loss’, the phenomenon refers to the passive evaporation of water from skin. This, alongside the use of indoor heaters and hotter showers culminates in winter skin, with symptoms including:

  • Mild redness in skin
  • Flakiness from visible build-ups of dead skin
  • Dulled and muted skin tone
  • Rough textured skin
  • In some cases, slight stinging or discomfort

Ingredients that support winter skin

To address the causes of winter skin, plant-powered winter skin care formulas at Kiehl’s are richly infused with humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Humectants are superhero ingredients at supporting dry or itchy skin in winter, as the agent is able to draw moisture externally back into skin, counteracting transepidermal water loss. To impart nourishment to skin and moisturise deeper layers, our winter skin care products include the following ingredients:

  • Squalane: extracted from olives, this botanical oil absorbs into skin easily and helps to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier, which means that skin can stay hydrated for longer.
  • Ceramides: found naturally in skin, ceramides hold skin cells together – helping skin maintain a bouncy appearance. The replenishment of this substance protect skin from external stress like dry air.
  • Hyaluronic acid: a humectant used frequently in skincare, hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. This helps to alleviate dry winter skin on face and encourages plumpness in skin.
  • Glycerin: another naturally occurring humectant, glycerin also supports the retention of water in skin and helps to address the look and feel of rough complexions in winter.
  • Avocado oil: derived from avocado fruit, avocado oil contains omega essential fatty acids, which moisturise skin deeply and help to create a seal against dry skin in winter.

Kiehl’s winter skin care routine

Rich formulas are central to an optimal winter skin care routine, but they alone won’t prevent dry skin in winter. Other important adjustments to make during the cooler months include the application styles of winter skin care products. See the best moisturiser for winter and the right application methods below.

1. Stick to gentle cleaners

Removing impurities from skin helps keep the moisture barrier intact, but it’s important to use formulas that won’t strip oils from skin. By switching to a conditioning cleanser, skin can be cleansed without being dried out. Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser is formulated to assist sensitive or dry skin in winter, and includes cucumber extract and glycerin to moisturise and comfort skin.

2. Incorporate exfoliation

Dry skin types will already be familiar with exfoliators – but their inclusion is extra important during dry weather. At least once a week, a brightening cleanser can be used to remove any build-up of dead skin and allow new skin to come to surface. Clearly Corrective™ Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser is formulated with natural exfoliant pearlstone to boost radiance.

3. Switch to a winter moisturiser

The best moisturiser for winter includes hydrating substances like oils and humectants without over-saturating skin. Developed for all skin types, Ultra Facial Cream With Squalane provides 24 hours of hydration with the inclusion of glycerin, squalane oil and glacial glycoprotein. The thick texture helps to protect dry skin in winter.

4. Include evening winter skin care

Our skin is more permeable when we sleep, which provides an opportunity to hydrate deep layers of skin. Using an evening winter skin care routine for dry skin can mean the difference between dulled or radiant complexions. Before bed, stock your skin up on oils and hydrating plant extracts. An evening moisturiser like Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask contains a thicker texture to seal extract ingredients in skin. Follow by patting squalane-rich evening facial oil Midnight Recovery Concentrate into skin to act as an extra barrier.

5. Opt for a dry winter skin face mask

Sometimes, itchy skin in winter is unavoidable. When the forecast includes rain or brittle, dry wind, supplement your winter skin care routine with a nourishing face mask. Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask conditions skin with extract oils to reinstate the look and feel of hydrated skin.

Loved this guide? Keep reading to explore further benefits of squalane.

cucumber herbal conditioning cleanser gentle for dry skin in winter


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