Bryn Mawr Dermatology

Villanova, PA | Collegeville, PA
Chesterbrook, PA

10 Dermatologist-Approved Winter Skincare Tips from Dr. Husienzad


Cold, dry air can easily irritate your skin. Luckily, there are many ways to combat the causes of dry winter skin and keep your skin smooth and supple all season long.

While this article spells out 10 approved winter skincate tips, and we highly recommend you read the full article, here are the key points we will focus on:

Table of Contents

To keep blustery conditions from bothering your skin, consider implementing these 10 skincare tips recommended by Bryn Mawr Dermatologist, Dr. Husienzad.
Winter Skincare Tips

What Happens to Your Skin in the Winter?

Filaggrin, one of the most important proteins in our skin for maintaining the barrier function and natural moisturizing factors, decreases during the winter. It also decreases with age and hormonal changes. This combined with the dry cold weather, low humidity, and indoor heating that dehydrates our skin leads to dryness and worsening of skin conditions for many people.

5 Common Winter Skin Issues

Getting on top of skin moisture is one of the key components to maintaining skin health during the winter. Between the cold air, harsh winter winds, and dry indoor heat, it is easy for skin conditions to flare up. Here are five common winter skin issues that may worsen during the wintertime.

1. Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition affecting over 31 million Americans. Characterized by inflamed, red, itchy patches of skin, eczema is caused by a combination of immune system activation, environmental triggers, and stress. Cold dry weather can trigger eczema flares in winter.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a long-term disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches on the skin, which flare up for a few weeks or months before subsiding or going into remission. The most common sites for psoriasis are your knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. While there is no cure for psoriasis, your dermatologist can devise a treatment plan to help you manage your condition. Cold weather and decreased sunlight can cause worsening psoriasis in the winter.

3. Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition causing blushing or flushing in your face and eyes. Rosacea may flare up for weeks or months before subsiding or going into remission. If left untreated, rosacea can lead to permanent damage to the skin and eyes. Cold weather is a common trigger for many.

4. Keratosis Pilaris (‘Chicken Skin’)

Keratosis Pilaris, also known as “Chicken Skin,” is a common, harmless skin condition that causes dry, rough patches and tiny bumps on the skin. These skin-colored or reddish bumps can appear on your arms, legs, or buttocks. These are often more pronounced when the skin is dry, such as during wintertime.

5. Raynaud’s Disease

Affecting up to 5 to 10% of Americans, Raynaud’s disease occurs when blood vessels in your fingers and toes spasm in response to cold, stress, or emotional upset. This leads to decreased blood flow, causing your fingers or toes to turn, cold, white, and numb, and can be a bothersome issue during the winter.

Importance of Winter Skin Care

You do not need a major overhaul of your skin care regimen during the colder months. You should, however, focus on more hydrating varieties of your products, and reduce irritating products to combat the dryness that winter inevitably brings.

10 Winter Skincare Tips from Dr. Husienzad

1. Moisturize Frequently

Thick moisturizers containing Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Petrolatum will help retain and seal moisture within your skin. Choose thicker creams over lighter lotions — the thicker the moisturizer, the better. A few favorites are CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, and good old-fashioned Vaseline.

2. Switch to Hydrating Cleansers

During the winter months, avoid harsh cleansers on the face. As a rule of thumb, any cleanser that leaves you ‘squeaky clean,’ is stripping the skin of natural moisture. Use gentle, hydrating, fragrance-free cleansers for daily cleansing and to remove makeup. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, BMD Gentle Cleanse, and LaRoche Posay Toleraine Hydrating Cleanser are great options to keep skin hydrated yet clean.

3. Even Acne Prone Skin May Need TLC During the Winter

Use hydrating, oil-free, fragrance-free moisturizers daily and on top of your topical acne medications to help combat excess dryness and peeling. CeraVe Facial Moisturizer, Neutrogena HydroBoost Moisturizer, and BMD Moisture Lux moisturizer are great options for acne-prone skin.

4. Limit Hot Showers

Winter weather brings the desire for long hot showers, but hot water will further dry out your skin. Limit showers to 15 minutes and use lukewarm water to avoid irritating your skin.

5. Avoid Harsh Scrubs and Scented Products

Loofahs, bath mitts, and scrubs can irritate dry skin and lead to eczema flares. Avoid these if you have a history of eczema or dry skin. Use unscented soaps and body washes such as Dove Unscented Bar Soap, Cetaphil Cleanser, or Aveeno Body Wash.

6. Exfoliate for Smooth, Supple Skin

Dry skin will stay dry without light exfoliation. Avoid harsh scrubs and opt for moisturizers with lactic acid such as AmLactin or CeraVe SA, which acts as an exfoliant and a humectant, sloughing off dead skin and drawing moisture into skin simultaneously.

7. You Still Need Sunscreen!

Even though the sun’s UVB rays are not as strong in the winter, UVA rays are still present and can age you. Not to mention, the reflection of the sun’s rays through the clouds and off the snow during shoveling or skiing can cause you to get serious sunburn even if it’s not sunny outside. Remember to wear SPF 30+ every morning and reapply if doing any outdoor winter activities. Use a daily moisturizer with built-in sunscreen every morning such as EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen, LaRoche Posay Mineral Sunscreen Fluid, CeraVe AM Moisturizer with sunscreen, or Neutrogena Daily Defense Moisturizer with SPF.

8. Limit Alcohol Intake and Hydrate Well

Alcohol during the holidays can dehydrate you. Make sure to limit these beverages and hydrate well with water throughout the day. Humidifiers at night can help regulate the moisture levels in your home and further combat dryness, promoting a dewy complexion.

9. Carry Lip Balm

Keep dry lips from getting chapped and sunburned during winter fun by using a hydrating lip balm with SPF every morning and throughout the day to seal in moisture. Vaseline Lip Therapy, Elta MD Lip Balm with SPF, or Coola Liplux Lip Balm with SPF are great options.

10. Be Aware of Irritating Skincare Products

Be aware of potentially irritating ingredients such as retinoids, exfoliating acids, and vitamin C. You may need to dial back on the potency of these topicals to be able to use them consistently through winter without causing excess irritation. Visit us at Bryn Mawr Dermatology to adjust the strength of your topical regimen as the winter nears to avoid over-drying the skin while still reaping the benefits of these potent anti-aging ingredients.

Winter Skin Care Products by Bryn Mawr Dermatology

  • BMD Gentle Cleanse
  • BMD Moisture Lux Moisturizer
  • Senté Dermal Repair Cream
  • Elta MD UV Daily Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
  • Elta MD Lip Balm with SPF
  • Coola Liplux Lip Balm with SPF

Schedule an Appointment with a Dermatologist Today

If you have a question about winter skin care, please Request an Appointment with one of our dermatologists. During your consultation, a Bryn Mawr dermatologist will evaluate your concerns and determine an ideal treatment plan for your specific case. Our office is beautifully equipped, so you’ll feel at home as soon as you walk in the door

Get started today by calling our dermatology team at (610) 525-7800 or easily book an appointment online. We look forward to caring for you!

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