Common Winter Skin Problems & 8 Ways To Fix Them

I switch out my skin care products like I switch out my clothes — with the seasons. In with the snow pants and out with the oil-free soaps. That’s because I know what to do about dry skin in winter — after all, flakey and irritated skin isn’t something that’s going to go away with light and airy summer moisturizer. Even if you don’t have perpetual skin issues like eczema or psoriasis, loads of people experience similar symptoms during the coldest months. That’s because air that’s cold is dry, and air that’s dry zaps the top layer of oil that keeps your face supple and moisturized.

Because this is an issue that so many people face (no pun intended), New York dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Sejal Shah was more than willing to share her best ways to take care of your skin during the winter. “Dry, flaky skin is one of the most common winter skin issues I see in my practice,” Dr. Shah says. “Additionally, in some individuals, existing skin conditions (like eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and even acne) may worsen in winter.” In order to tackle this problem once and for all, take a look at all the skin care products and habits in your routine, and consider trying out these cold weather skin tips, instead.

1. Start Your Routine In Your Morning Shower

Your cold weather skin care routine should start from the second you step into the shower in the morning. “For dry skin, gentle skin care is key,” says Dr. Shah. “Take short lukewarm showers with a gentle cleanser, instead of long hot showers with a harsh soap.” She recommends RENRosa Centifolia gentle exfoliating cleanser, which has microbeads of jojoba oil that help to remove impurities and makeup residue without stripping the skin’s surface of moisture.

2. Apply A Thick Moisturizer While Skin Is Damp

“Pat dry the skin and immediately apply a thick moisturizer while the skin is slightly damp,” Dr. Shah suggests, and one of her favorite after-shower options is the FirstAid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. It’s a rich whipped cream with colloidal oatmeal and shea butter that absorbs quickly, heals from the inside out, and protects from radical free damage with antioxidants. Reviewers love it because it’s non-greasy and even helps things like acne and eczema.

3. Bring Hydration With You Everywhere

According to Dr. Shah, “In the winter, the air naturally has less moisture. Indoor heating further sucks the moisture out of the air. This environmental change contributes to skin dryness. A humidifier helps replace some of this moisture, so can be helpful in combating dry skin.” This portable Multifuncool mist humidifier plugs into any USB source (including chargers, laptops, car chargers, or portable power banks), and because it’s quiet and works for up to eight hours, it won’t disturb your work or rest.

4. Exfoliate, But Make Sure You Don’t Overdo It

“Exfoliation is helpful, but over-exfoliation is not,” says Dr. Shah. “Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the skin, allowing skin products such as moisturizers to be absorbed more readily, so that they work more effectively.” Dr. Shah recommends chemical exfoliants with lactic acid, like these St. Ives exfoliating pads. They’re gentle and non-abrasive, but they still effectively shed the top layer of dull skin, revealing the healthy and hydrated skin underneath.

5. Stimulate New Cell Growth With A Gentle Face Polish

“[Exfoliation] also unblocks clogged pores and stimulates new cell growth,” Dr. Shah said. But because you’re dealing with already irritated skin, you should “be sure to avoid anything with jagged edges,” when choosing a scrub or cleanser. FreshSugar Face Polish is a direct recommendation because, in addition to exfoliating with real brown sugar, it also nourishes with vitamins and antioxidants from fruits and oils. “Make sure you are replenishing moisture after exfoliating,” Dr. Shah says, and this one does just that.

6. This Cream With Avocado And Olive Oil

“Oils, such as avocado and olive can also be very hydrating,” says Dr. Shah. Quinny's Cream contains both of these oils, as well as other all-natural ingredients that are deeply hydrating for the most sensitive skin. With zero fillers or preservatives, it works wonders for tired under-eyes, cracking hands, and peeling faces in the wintertime.

7. Hydrate Your Whole Body With An Oatmeal Bath Soak

“Another helpful natural ingredient is oatmeal because it acts as a humectant, so helps your skin retain moisture,” says Dr. Shah. This Coconut Milk Bath Soak contains oatmeal and coconut oil (another one of Dr. Shah’s cold-weather recommendations). It’s a great all-over hydrating solution, if dry skin isn’t just limited to your face, and in addition to being ridiculously relaxing, it smells amazing, leaves things feeling silky smooth, and delivers essential vitamins and fatty acids to your skin.

8. Restore Your Skin’s Natural Protective Barrier

Another favorite of Dr. Shah’s (as well as tons of the other dermatologists I’ve interviewed in the past) is CeraVe's moisturizing cream. It’s so innovative because it helps to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier, which means that skin learns to be hydrated and healthy on its own. This one comes with a convenient pump that makes all-over body application a breeze, and it’s non-greasy and stays smooth for hours. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.