During the summer months, the humidity (while you curse it for causing your hair to frizz) actually helps your skin by keeping it moisturized, explains Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York City who serves as a clinical instructor in Mount Sinai’s Department of Dermatology.
But as fall and winter approach, dropping temps drop make for a super dry environment—and your skin often follows suit. (Cue cracked, itchy skin).
To help you prevent dry skin this time around (or at least minimize it once it starts to appear), we asked Dr. Feely to share the routine adjustments that you should be making all fall and winter long. From the ingredients you need to be using to the practice you should avoid, follow her simple tips for soft and hydrated skin.
3 Tips For Extra Hydrated Skin
1. Invest in a humidifier
While skin-care products are an important step in your hydration routine, you can set yourself up for success by creating an at-home environment that allows your skin to hold onto moisture. Turning up the heat in your home can dry out your skin, says Dr. Feely, so she recommends countering the effects with a humidifier. Run it as you sleep, so you wake up with refreshed skin. (Bonus: adding a few drops of essential oil before bed can help you fall asleep easier.)
2. Take cooler showers
If you like taking a steamy shower at the end of a chilly day, we have some bad news: Hot showers can actually worsen dry skin. “Hot water draws moisture out of our skin, as it comprises its lipid bilayer,” Dr. Feely says. Try to limit your showers or baths to five to ten minutes and use lukewarm water. (If you can brave a cold shower, there are even some health benefits.) “Avoid using harsh soaps,” she adds. “And afterward, gently pat the skin dry rather than rubbing
the skin harshly, then apply your moisturizer.”
3. Up your moisturizing regimen
Of course, moisturizer is a must year-round, but the routine becomes particularly important in the colder months. In other words, reaching for lotion once a day won’t be enough. “You should moisturize throughout the day and at night,” Dr. Feely says. Choose oil-based creams over water-based ones, and look for products containing ceramides and humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin). The latter will help attract water to your skin, while the former helps seal in moisture, she explains. Biossance’s Squalane + Omega Repair Cream fits the bill, as does Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer, which pairs the hydrating ingredients with antioxidants to prevent aging. For total-body coverage, try EltaMD’s Moisture-Rich Body Creme or CeraVe’s simple moisturizing formula.
Once you have your fall skin-care routine mastered, rev up your sleep, diet, and workout routines with our survival guide for the season.