Healthy Living

What is the Best Lotion for Winter Dry Skin?  

Jan 4 2024

Figuring out the best lotion for winter dry skin is tough. From cocoa butter to shea butter and every other option in between, it can be tricky.

Unfortunately, dry skin and the winter months go hand in hand. The air is cold and harsh, humidity is low and the artificial heat indoors doesn’t help. The combination of it all can leave your skin dry and flaky, from your face down to your feet.

Buying the right moisturizer for dry skin can help heal and prevent these symptoms.

“Having a daily regimen of using a good moisturizer is the most important thing you can do for your skin during the winter months,” Jill E. Haltigan, MD, a primary care provider at Mercy Health — Eisenhower Primary Care and Mercy Health — Salem Primary Care, shares.

This is because good moisturizers can help protect your skin from harsh weather while locking in moisture at the same time. However, always check the ingredients before you buy, as not all moisturizers are created equally.

“The thicker creams, not the really thin lotions that absorb quickly, but the ones you have to work into your skin a bit more are usually the best way to go,” Dr. Haltigan says.

Look for one that contains linoleic, linolenic or lauric acids to help relieve dry skin. Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and sorbitol all attract moisture. Lanolin, silicone and mineral oil will also create a skin barrier seal and protect it.

If you have sensitive skin, consider choosing a cream ointment instead of a lotion for dry skin.

“Some people put moisturizer on their hands and then wear gloves overnight to help it penetrate the skin better, and this can also be helpful,” Dr. Haltigan adds.

Besides body lotions, there are other things all skin types can do to help prevent dry skin during the winter.

Drink plenty of water

You already know that drinking water is a must for your overall health. Well, it’s good for your skin, too. Staying hydrated helps keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated.

Buy a humidifier

The humidity outside may be low, but that doesn’t mean it has to be low inside. Consider buying a humidifier for your home, especially if you like to run the heat. Higher levels of humidity aren’t as harsh on your skin.

Moisturize after you wash up

Once you find the right moisturizing body lotion, make sure you apply it anytime you wash. This can mean just washing your hands or face, or after taking a bath or shower. When you clean yourself with water, you remove oils that moisturize your skin, so your body is likely craving a boost.

Make some adjustments to your bath or shower routine

Speaking of washing, making some changes to the way you bathe might help. Keep the bathroom door closed when you take a bath or shower to ensure the humidity stays in the room. It’s also a good idea to avoid taking a super-hot shower, as it can dry you out even further. Try to stay in the shower for only about five to 10 minutes. Use fragrance-free soaps, and don’t overuse them. 

Wear the right clothing 

Even what you wear can affect your skin. During the winter, you might be tempted to wear thicker, scratchier clothing, like wool, but it can irritate already dry skin. Choose cotton or something looser and more comfortable, or wear something soft underneath your wool. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your extra-sensitive hands.

Wear sunscreen

Yes, you need to wear sunscreen, even during the winter. It should be a staple of your skincare routine all year long. You may think you only need it in the summer, but the sun’s UV rays can still damage your skin, even when it’s cold outside. This can lead to dryness and premature aging.  

When should you see a doctor?  

Dry skin can cause more than flaky skin. Some common symptoms are:

  • Cracks in your skin
  • Itching
  • Raw, irritated skin
  • Redness
  • Roughness
  • Scaly skin
  • Stinging or burning sensations

“If you have any of these symptoms, especially cracks or any open sores, it definitely time to see your doctor to talk about more advanced treatment options,” Dr. Haltigan shares.

Learn about the primary care services as well as the dermatology and skin care services we provide at Mercy Health.

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