10 Tips for Keeping Your Skin Hydrated This Winter

Winter can wreak some serious havoc on our skin, especially for those with naturally dry skin. A summary of the science of this effect is that cold air carries less moisture than warm air, so cold dries out our skin, which means the skin becomes less able to produce natural oils. I feel like that was my Bill Nye the Science Guy moment. Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill. Anyone else? No? Okay, well basically cold air = less moisture = less natural oil production = dry skin.

Aside from the fact that dry skin can feel very uncomfortable and itchy, it can also become flaky, which can cause some self-consciousness—especially when it's happening on your face. This year, however, we're avoiding dry skin like the plague! The following are my very best tips on how to achieve plump, hydrated skin through even the coldest of months. I feel like it's important to note that I'm listing these tips in the order that I would do them, excluding the very last two tips.

Also, please note that I am not a dermatologist or an esthetician or any kind of skincare professional. Everything I'm sharing with you is based on my own research over the past few years. With that, let's get hydrated.

Shower Exfoliation + Body Butter

One route of buffing off dry skin and moisturizing the body is to use a body scrub / exfoliator in the shower and lock in the silky-smoothness with a body butter immediately after you dry off. I have a few favorite methods of shower exfoliation:

+ Washing with a loofah and Aveeno's Daily Moisturizing Yogurt Body Wash
+ Washing by suds-ing the Aveeno wash in the hands and over the body, then following with the Manna Kadar Champagne Charcoal Body Scrub
+ Washing and exfoliating with a Spongell√© sponge

I rotate between these methods depending on how much time I want to spend in the shower. I enjoy them all equally and find that they produce the same flake-free effect. As far as post-shower moisturization goes, here are my favorite body butters / balms / heavy-duty lotions:

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm
Lavido Aromatic Body Lotion in Mandarin, Orange, and Bergamot
Philosophy Fresh Cream Body Lotion

Definitely note that the Aveeno balm is incredibly sticky. It stays very "not rubbed in" on the skin, and it's a bit uncomfortable, but it completely healed my skin when I had a random, severe eczema breakout all over my body. What I'm trying to say is it healed my dry, itchy skin when nothing else would, so save this balm for seriously dried out skin. The other two lotions sink into the skin much more, and the scents are delicious—although they're very different.

Dry Brush with Body Oil

I'll admit that dry brushing isn't something that I do very often, but it has such a revitalizing effect on the body. The best way I can describe the sensation is like coating your body in caffeine—after you're done brushing, the body feels very tingly, but in a weirdly good way! Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential swears by dry brushing, so you know it's gotta be good.

Here are the benefits of dry brushing: it removes dead skin cells, improves circulation, gets rid of cellulite and clogged pores, boosts overall energy, and stimulates the lymphatic system, which is in charge of detoxifying the body of excess fluid, bacteria, viruses, and cell waste.

Let me know in the comments if you want a more in-depth post on how to dry-brush—until then, the most important two things you need to know are to always start brushing at the ankles and to move upwards in stroking motions toward the heart. Oh, and shower afterwards so you can rinse off all those dead skin cells.

Last thing: I prefer to brush with a body oil. It's just gentler on the skin, in my opinion. I like this oil and this brush, both of which you can purchase from Amazon.

Moisturizing Face Cleanser

I love using a moisturizing / conditioning face cleanser. My skin always feels so plump and soft after I cleanse, rather than having that stripped and dried out sensation that other cleansers can cause. My favorite two are the Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cleanser and the Glam Glow GENTLEBUBBLE Daily Conditioning Cleanser.

Lip Scrub + Lip Mask

This step always makes me feel a little ~ extra ~, but the end result is totally worth it. I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely loath having chapped / dry lips. I'm constantly applying some kind of lip balm to try to combat it, but winter is pretty relentless when it comes to chapped lips. Enter my next tip: do a lip scrub + lip mask as often as you feel you need it. After cleansing, get to scrubbing ( I like this affordable brand from Ulta ), then follow with a lip mask ( Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask is unmatched by any other lip mask product, if you ask me ).

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a staple in my morning and night skincare routines. It's a humectant, which means it draws moisture from its surroundings. Hyaluronic acid in particular has the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in moisture, which results in hydrated, plump, smoother-looking skin. It's a great product to use for both hydration and anti-aging. Use it after you cleanse and tone, but before you apply eye cream and moisturizer. My favorite Hyaluronic acid is from The Ordinary.

Heavy-Duty Moisturizer

After applying your toner and serum(s), follow up with a heavy-duty moisturizer. You want this to be something with a thick and creamy texture, in contrast to a lighter, more gel-like moisturizer that you might use in the warmer months. My favorite is the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, and I actually like this for any occasion—morning, night, summer, winter. It really is as amazing as everyone says it is, and it smells like delicious, chilling peppermint. It's like it was made for winter or something.

Facial Oil

I live, breathe, and die by a good facial oil. Adding this step to my nighttime skincare routine was a total game changer. After you apply your moisturizer, wait a minute or two for it to sink in, then end your skincare routine by applying a facial oil. I personally love The Ordinary's 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, but there are countless other amazing oils out there. In my experience, rose hip oil keeps my skin extremely plump / hydrated / glowing "from within," and it has also helped clear my acne and dark spots.

Foot Mask with Fuzzy Socks

So you've slathered your body with body butter as part of your post-shower winter routine, but if you're anything like me, you've probably overlooked your feet. Or maybe you've ignored them on purpose—I hate walking around with lotion on the underside of my feet, so I tend to skip moisturizing them. That worked for me for awhile, but now that I'm older, I've noticed my feet are more susceptible to becoming dry and hard around my heels, the balls of my feet, and my big toes.

Calloused, dry feet are almost as annoying to me as walking around with slippery lotion feet, so I found an alternative solution: when you get in bed for the night, apply a foot mask / cream, then put on a pair of fuzzy socks. I'm not a fan of sleeping with socks on by any means, BUT your feet will be baby soft in the morning if you can stand it. It's worth doing about once a week, imo. I've been using the Whish Coconut Milk + Verbena Exfoliating Foot Mask that came in my Summer FabFitFun box, and I absolutely love it.

Skin Enhancing Vitamins & Supplements

Other than drinking water, which we'll get to in a minute, the best way to hydrate your skin from the inside out is to take a skin vitamin and / or supplement. I personally recommend the Halo Beauty Kiwi Seed Booster or the Original Hair, Skin, and Nails Beauty Booster, as well as any Vital Proteins collagen boosting / skin enhancing drink mix.

Water, Water, Water !!!

It's so incredibly important to drink water. Drinking water helps to clear skin imperfections, lose weight / bloat, keep your organs healthy, and it's free. Nature really did that for us.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal daily water consumption amount for women is nearly three liters, and for men, it's nearly four. That's just over 90 fluid ounces for women and 125 fl. oz. for men.

I find that the best way to ensure I'm drinking this amount of water everyday is to carry a refillable cup, like a Blender Bottle or a Starbucks Cold Cup, and to drink four or five full cups throughout the day. You can also add lemon and other fruits to give your water a little pizzazz. Do what you need to do, just be sure to drink lots of that good ole H2O!

What are your go-to methods for preventing dry skin? Do you have any I didn't mention? Share them down below if so; I'd love to continue the conversation!

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