Skin tends to gets really dry in the winter, so sometimes a regimen needs to be bulked up with more hydrating ingredients, like glycerin, dimethicone, and amino acids.
On the other hand, certain agents should be avoided in the winter months. Agents that can exacerbate dry skin include hot water, detergents, friction from clothing, frequent air travel, pollution, certain chemicals, and air conditioning (Cosmetic Dermatology).
What can be done?
1. Limit the length and temperature of your showering and bathing
Although pleasant, hot water can rob your skin of much-needed moisture. Try to limit yourself to water that is warm at best for no longer than 10-15 minutes, according to the University of Iowa Health Center.
2. Use bath oils
Dr. Audrey Kunin, a Kansas City-based dermatologist, suggests using a tar bath. “The tar helps alleviate the itching and flaking, while the oil base helps hydrate dry, cracking skin.”
Avoid soap, which can be drying.
3. Switch between two different kinds of body moisturizers
After you towel dry, increase the moisture content in your skin by applying the right moisturizers immediately.
Use “passive protectants” during dry periods to hydrate and enhance the skin barrier, with ingredients like glycerin or dimethicone. Then, when skin is more calm, switch to an “active moisturizer” to exfoliate and soften the skin, like a moisturizer with lactic acid, glycolic acid, niacinamide, or amino acids. We recommend AminoGenesis Cocoon, which contains 17 amino acids your skin uses to make collagen.
4. Evaluate your environment
Humidifiers can help to infuse dry fall and winter air with much-needed moisture.
Dry skin is a sign that skin is not turning over properly. It is vital that skin is exfoliated.
If you are applying a moisturizer to non-exfoliated dry skin, it can’t get to the skin cells. Instead, it is resting atop years of accumulated dead skin cells, as well as more recent dirt, debris, and other particulate matter. Your skin may feel temporarily more hydrated, but the moisturizing ingredients can’t penetrate your skin to do any work. It’s just drawing in moisture from the surface!
But once dirt, debris, sebum, and dead skin cells are removed from the skin’s surface, the resulting skin has just the right pH balance and moisturization level. The clean surface and the natural skin oil that linger dissolve your favorite oil- or water-based skin treatment, allowing the moisturizing ingredients to reach your skin to do effective work.
The result? Beautiful, healthy skin — faster.
6.) Start with a clean, dry face
Use a cleanser designed for dry or sensitive skin. These cleansers tend to contain less drying ingredients.
7.) Use amino acids
The amino acid L-lysine (found in many of our products) promotes wound healing, soothes inflammation, and even fights off bacterium which may exacerbate or prolong skin dryness and irritation (Lasers in Medical Science, Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology). Similarly, L-isoleucine is renowned for its ability to increase the expression of the antimicrobial peptide β-defensins, which is responsible for maintaining a healthy antibacterial skin barrier (Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States,Molecular Immunology, Dermatopathology, Pharmaceuticals).
8.) Do NOT use a toner
Dry skin does not require a toner.
If you have very oily skin, you are definitely likely to benefit from a toner, because they contain ingredients like brightening gluconolactone and oil-balancing ingredients like oatmeal.
If you have normal or combination skin, you are likely to benefit from using a toner only on oily areas of your face, and avoiding dry areas altogether. A relatively safe bet is a toner with witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), which contains tannins that act as natural astringents, gently drying out oils within the skin (Archives of Dermatology, 1998). Witch hazel also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it soothing and calming to the skin (Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, 2000).
But if you have dry to very dry skin, I would skip a toner altogether. Despite popular belief, toners do not aid the rest of your skin care regime, as verified by Dr. David E. Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery, in Mount Kisco, New York: “There’s no truth to the theory that toners prep the skin or help other products penetrate better” (RealSimple.com, 2010).
9.) Apply serum or moisturizer
Remember to apply your products lightest to heaviest, with the exception of sunscreen, which should always be applied last.