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11 Hacks for Saving Your Skin in the Winter

Thankfully, she shared her secrets, and I gathered a few other good-to-know tips so you can all properly prepare yourselves for the winter skin storm forecast ahead.


Because winter is coming.

Winter is such a fun time for your skin. During those few frigid months of the year that seem to last forever, your precious skin suffers from 

(A) dryness, 
(B) flakiness, 
(C) dullness, or 
(D) all of the above. 
Oh, and don’t forget breakouts too! Zits never really take a holiday. 

Because winter is actually the worst, I reached out to dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara for advice on how to deal with some common and really annoying winter skin concerns. Thankfully, she shared her secrets, and I gathered a few other good-to-know tips so you can all properly prepare yourselves for the winter skin storm forecast ahead.

If your skin is dry AF...

Kathleen Kamphausen/Katie Buckleitner

1. Choose body moisturizers that come in tubs or jars instead of ones that come in bottles with pumps. 

This isn’t always the case, but more often than not heavier moisturizers like creams come in tubs rather than pump bottles. Creams often contain more oil than water content, so while they’re more hydrating than lotions (which is great when temperatures drop), their thick formula is harder to feed into a pump.

2. Add oil to your daily routine to really hydrate your skin. 

Coconut oil is great for your body and hair, but if you have sensitive skin or you’re prone to breakouts, opt for a noncomedogenic oil like argan oil. And if you’re nervous to put oil straight on your skin, mix it with your usual body or face moisturizer.

3. Apply a hydragel mask right before bed to hydrate your skin overnight.

Masks are always great, but using one right before bed is even better for your complexion, since your skin is naturally working at night to regenerate and exfoliate itself. See, beauty sleep is real! Dr. Gohara also suggests layering a hyaluronic acid serum, like SkinMedica HA5, under a hydrogel mask to amp up hydration.

Kathleen Kamphausen

If your skin is itchy...


4. Take an oatmeal bath. 

Grind a cup of plain oatmeal in a blender to the texture of a fine powder and add it to a bath full of warm water. The oatmeal helps calm inflammation and soothes itchy winter skin — plus, a bath in the winter always feels nice.

Kathleen Kamphausen

If your skin is dull...

5. Mix a liquid illuminator or highlighter into your moisturizer before applying it all over your face. 

All you need is a tiny drop of shimmer added into your favorite face lotion to breathe life — and a nice glow — into your dull complexion.

Kathleen Kamphausen

If your skin is red or sallow, or if you have a purple cast under your eyes...

6. Use color correctors to combat the rainbow of colors that come with winter skin. 

In the winter, your skin tends to turn weird, unflattering shades (red cheeks or nose, blue under-eye circles, a yellowish tinge all over). To hide these hues, L’OrĂ©al Paris ambassador Sir John suggests blending color correctors on target areas to neutralize the shades and get your skin back to where it’s supposed to be: even and glowing.


If your skin is peeling or flaky...

7. Use a barrier repair cream.  

That sounds fancy but let me explain. If the barrier of your skin is compromised (because your acne products are stripping your skin, you’ve been over-exfoliating, the soap you use is too harsh, etc.), the skin weakens and can even crack. When that happens, bacteria can enter the tiny cracks, causing irritation, which can result in moisture loss.

One way to figure out if the barrier of your skin is effed: If you start to notice flaky bits on your skin, it’s compromised. To fix it, find a product with the words "barrier repair" or "restore" on the label, like SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 Cream, which Dr. Gohara recommends to her patients. These types of creams replenish lost lipids (a science-y way of saying molecules that help hydrate your skin) and moisture to help you get your glow back. 

Kathleen Kamphausen

8. Use a physical or mechanical exfoliator. 

In the winter, Dr. Gohara says you’ll most likely need to physically exfoliate your skin (as opposed to chemically exfoliating it) to remove any dry, flaky, dead skin cells that are still hanging around (gross, I know). To do so, use a washcloth and circular motions (rather than scrubbing back and forth) to gently (key word) exfoliate any dry patches away. Using light circular motions is always best, since the motion isn’t too harsh on your skin and is more effective when it comes to actually removing the dead flakes from your face.

Kathleen Kamphausen/Katie Buckleitner

9. Make yourown lip scrub with kitchen ingredients. 

Kourtney Kardashian swears by a homemade mixture of coconut oil, manuka honey, and raw sugar to prep dry, flaky lips before applying any lip color. Simply apply the blend, move it around with your fingertip, again with circular motions, and then wipe it off with a warm washcloth before applying a balm and your lip color of choice.


Kathleen Kamphausen

If you deal with breakouts even in the winter...

10. Wash your face with a moisturizing cleanser, so you don’t have to use a super-thick moisturizer. 

Dr. Gohara says washing your face with Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash (Yes, body wash!) will moisturize your skin while it cleanses it, so you don’t have to apply heavy, breakout-causing moisturizers on top of your acne-prone skin. If your skin is sensitive to fragrances though, opt for a wash that says "fragrance-free," so the synthetic fragrances in the wash don’t cause further irritation.

Kathleen Kamphausen

11. Mix your acne products with your face lotion to treat your breakouts without drying your skin. 

This is good for any topical retinoid (a common treatment used to treat wrinkles or acne) or any other acne treatment, since they can cause dryness and even make your skin peel. Bonus: Mixing the two also helps speed up the getting ready process, since you don’t have to wait for your serum to dry completely before applying your face cream.

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Women's Magazine: 11 Hacks for Saving Your Skin in the Winter
11 Hacks for Saving Your Skin in the Winter
Thankfully, she shared her secrets, and I gathered a few other good-to-know tips so you can all properly prepare yourselves for the winter skin storm forecast ahead.
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