You might not mind cold weather, but your skin freaking hates it. The colder the air, the drier it is, the faster it will evaporate your body’s natural moisture. And when that’s all gone, things get ugly: itchy skin, a flaky face, cracked hands, and chapped, red lips—unless you do something to prevent it.
If only it were as easy as splashing some water on the dry areas. “Water won’t penetrate your skin. It’ll quickly evaporate,” says Shari Lipner, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell University. “You need a moisturizer, or in some cases an oil-based ointment, to repair the outer layer of skin and prevent further evaporation.”
But don’t even think about using your everyday lotions and gels this winter. They might make your skin feel good momentarily, but if they’re not thick enough or are alcohol based, they may have the opposite effect and dry you out even more, says Dr. Lipner. If your skin is naturally dry, stick to creams and ointments that will last longer and lock in moisture.
You can also retain moisture by keeping your baths and showers to five minutes or less with tepid water. The hotter and longer your showers are, the more natural oils will be washed away and the dryer your skin will be. Below are some of our favorite products to tackle dry, cold air. Start using them in the next month or so before the frigid winter air arrives, and your skin will thank you.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel
No soap here. Just a gentle cleanser that uses hyaluronic acid to trap moisture in your skin so you don’t get that dry, tight feeling after washing.
$6.74, Buy It Here
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask
Apply this rich mask before bed and natural fruit oils will lubricate under the skin while seaweed extract repairs the surface.
$29.99, Buy It Here
Perricone MD Hydrating Cloud Cream
Having a dry skin emergency? This miracle cream uses hydrogen to moisturize. It’s like a tidal wave of moisture hitting your face—well worth the investment.
$59, Buy It Here
Cerave Hydrating Body Wash
Body wash should remove dirt and grime—not your skin’s natural oils. This formula uses fatty, naturally occurring molecules called ceramides to keep your skin soft and hydrated.
$10, Buy It Here
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Body Oil
If you need intense, instant moisture, skip your everyday lotions and opt for this super thin oil that penetrates skin with a formula that mimics your skin’s own sebum.
$19, Buy It Here
Aveeno Overnight Relief Cream
Shea butter and oatmeal will keep your skin feeling soft when you apply this overnight body cream that’s free of fragrances, which can often irritate dry skin.
$7.97, Buy It Here
Vaseline Lip Therapy
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Enjoy this time-tested product in a portable tube that makes for an easy-on application.
$7.64 for 4-pack, Buy It Here
Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm
This stick will fix even the worst chapped lip emergencies. Beeswax and mineral oils keep lips protected while one percent hydrocordisone reduces redness and inflammation.
From $7.08, Buy It Here
Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30
Want a balm that’ll keep up with your workout regimen? This water-resistant stick also has SPF 30 to protect from UV rays, which are equally as strong in the winter.
$25, Buy It Here
Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer
Whether you work with your hands or just wash them often, this tough-as-nails product will keep them baby soft. (We keep it at our bedside to apply before we go to sleep for maximum moisture.)
$15, Buy It Here
Beekman 1802 Pure Goat Milk Hand Wash
Many hand washes will dry your skin much faster than dry air, so invest in this one that uses goat’s milk to hydrate while the gentle cleanser targets dirt.
$20.00, Buy It Here
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Ointments are moisturizers that use oil instead of water. Use this one to repair intense dryness or even the worst cracked hands.
$9.96, Buy It Here