Winter weather brings cold, super-dry air, and it can wreak havoc on your skin. From flaky skin on your face to cracked heels or ashy legs, it’s a battle to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
We’ve rounded up some of the best winter skin care products that dermatologists love, from face cream to body lotion. Here are the doctors’ top picks.
Aveeno Repairing CICA Foot Mask
“This is a deeply moisturizing foot mask with moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin and dimethicone to help combat those dry, cracked heels that are even more of a problem in the winter,” Dr. Rajani Katta, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet, tells SheKnows.
Aveeno Repairing CICA Foot Mask, $6.14 at Amazon
CeraVe Healing Ointment
“This product contains dimethicone, hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help lock moisture into your skin, especially if applied to damp skin,” says Katta. “I frequently use this thick moisturizing ointment at bedtime, especially on my lower legs. When you turn the heat on in the home, it tends to suck moisture out of the air and out of your skin, and one of the first places you’re likely to notice that is your lower legs.”
CeraVe Healing Ointment, $12.06 at Amazon
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm
“This product is formulated with colloidal oatmeal, and that can help with itch relief in these dry winter months while also helping to moisturize and strengthen the natural skin barrier,” Dr. Michael Kassardjian, a board certified dermatologist practicing in Los Angeles, tells SheKnows. “It also contains ceramide, a natural fat that can help hydrate your skin. In addition, it is fragrance-free [and] hypoallergenic, and because of the colloidal oatmeal, it is very soothing, especially helpful to hydrate your body during the winter months.”
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm, $17.97 at Amazon
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
This product is recommended by both Katta and Kassardjian.
“Handwashing is a must with winter colds and viruses going around, but the combination of cold temperatures, wind and handwashing can really dry out your hands,” says Katta. “This is a heavy hand cream that locks in moisture (apply while your skin is slightly damp), and a little goes a long way.”
Adds Kassardjian, “This product is well-liked by dermatologists for hydrating the hands. It is rich in glycerin, which is also a humectant, which can help sooth, calm and hydrate the skin.”
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, $3.68 at Amazon
Theraplex Healing Emollient for Severely Dry Skin
This is a hypoallergenic, truly fragrance-free, very thick moisturizer. Katta says she uses this several times a week on her hands, arms and legs after the shower to help seal moisture into the skin.
Theraplex Healing Emollient for Severely Dry Skin, $19.87 at Amazon
Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream
It may mention the condition in the name, but this cream isn’t just for eczema.
“I like this moisturizer for daytime use during the winter and often reapply it several times during the day on my hands. It’s thick but not too greasy, which makes it ideal for daytime use,” says Katta.
Aveeno Eczema Therapy cream, $11.09 at Amazon
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or DCL C Scape (vitamin C)
“I really like both of these products — they are great products to use in the winter months as an exfoliant, as during the winter months I usually take a break from retinol because I tend to have more sensitive skin and they will dry me out too much during this time of year,” says Kassardjian. “However, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to ward off free-radical damage, helps with fine lines and wrinkles, skin firmness and texture and overall brightening effect. Vitamin C is a great product to use year-round.”
“This product spreads easily and feels lighter and is an ultra-rich lipid-replenishing balm. It helps to really hydrate the skin and rebalance it to help with irritation and itching,” says Katta. “In general, this brand has various moisturizers that have a minimal amount of ingredients and are fragrance-free, gentle and noncomedogenic and help to fortify the skin barrier.”
Avène XeraCalm, $33 at Amazon
Vanicream Lip Protectant with sunscreen
“With sensitive skin, I always avoid lip balms that contain added flavorings,” says Katta. “This option is a truly hypoallergenic lip balm that has the added bonus of providing mineral sunblock protection. It’s a popular choice for my patients when they’re skiing.”
Vanicream Lip Protectant with sunscreen, $5.14 at Amazon
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion
Both Katta and Kassardjian had this one on their favorites list.
“This is one of my favorite gentle skin cleansers because it is truly fragrance-free and free of major allergens,” says Katta. “It’s also very gentle and ideal for dry, sensitive skin.”
Adds Kassardjian, “This product contains hyaluronic acid, which has an incredible ability to retain water and moisturize the skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring humectant in the skin. A single gram of HA can hold up to six liters of water. Unfortunately, as we age, we lose hyaluronic acid, which leads to skin becoming more dry, exacerbating the appearance of wrinkles. Therefore, adding an HA serum will help to moisturize your skin and reduce the signs of aging. It is gentle, fragrance free and noncomedogenic and goes on smoothly. This product also absorbs quickly to lock in moisture.”
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion, $7.99 at Target
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Aquaphor is a workhorse for so many different parts of our skin, especially in the winter months, Kassardjian notes.
“Aquaphor is a mix of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, glycerin and lanolin, making it an occlusive product that helps seal in moisture and help hydrate and protect the skin,” he explains. “It works great as a lip balm to help heal dry and chapped lips and can also help to hydrate the skin around the nails and cuticles, soothing the skin and aiding in the healing process for this sensitive area. Additionally, it can help heal cracks and fissures in the heels and soles of the feet.”
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $13.01 at Amazon
Though you may not think of a humidifier as a skin care product, Kassardjian thinks they help.
“During the winter, the humidity drops, leading to dry skin that can itch, flake, crack and even bleed,” he says. “In addition to moisturizing, try using a humidifier in your bedroom to help add moisture to the air to help soothe your dried, itchy and cracked skin.”
Honeywell top-fill digital humidistat tower humidifier, $69.99 at Amazon
So, the next time you find yourself scratching that dry winter skin, try one of these derm-approved products instead.
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