How to cure a case of winter skin


The dead of winter doesn’t have to mean dry and dehydrated skin

‘Tis the season for whimsical romance and annual reflection… and that seemingly inevitable feeling that the skin on our face has tensed and tightened as much as our bodies do entering a wind chill of eighteen below.

Before we get into cures, it’s important to first understand what you’re dealing with. Dry and dehydrated skin are not created equal.

What’s dry skin?

Dry skin happens when your skin doesn’t produce enough oil to lock in moisture. It usually appears on the surface as rough or flaky.

What’s dehydrated skin?

Dehydrated skin still produces oil, but lacks water content. It usually presents itself as that tight feeling you often get in cold winter months. If you traditionally have oily or acne-prone skin, you’re more likely to experience dehydrated skin if you don’t switch up your regular regimen as some products intentionally dry your skin out to counteract your skin’s natural properties.  

We asked our resident esthetician for tips and tricks for how to prevent – or, if you’re already there - overcome parched (both dry and dehydrated) winter skin.


1.     Take lukewarm showers. Much as it is tempting to jump into a piping hot shower or bath to warm up, doing so dries your skin in a big way.


2.     Run a humidifier. I know I’m not alone in having unbearably dry nasal passages through the winter months. The benefits of a humidifier extend beyond that, though, including, you guessed it, moisturized skin. Kari especially recommends running a cool mist humidifier right next to your bed while you sleep.


3.     It seems counterproductive to many, but don’t overlook exfoliation!

Especially if you’re dealing with dry skin, it’s important to use gentle exfoliants to slough dead cells and flakiness from the surface layer. Exfoliating also helps promote cell renewal.

Incorporate acid. The winter chill can leave our skin looking dull. Acids such as glycolic and salicylic can help provide a chemical exfoliant to getting rid of dead skin and stimulate the glow you’re after.

Mechanical exfoliants we love. Dermalogica: Multivitamin Thermafoliant, Daily Resurfacer and Daily Superfoliant (Thermafoliant’s gentler sibling – perfect for – you guessed it – daily use)


4.     This one’s a no-brainer: moisturize! Smart hydration is a must; else, you’ll be stuck with greasy, oily skin. Do apply your moisturizer promptly after cleansing in the morning and at night.

For highly dehydrated skin, we love using Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Masque overnight for extra nourishment.

Hyaluronic acid can also be a powerful tool as it draws moisture from deep layers of the skin up to the top, leaving it more hydrated and luminous. We love Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Booster and Glo’s Daily Hydration +.


5.     Drink lots of water. This is one of the most important components of a healthy body, skin included. Medical experts suggest drinking about 64oz of water per day.  


There’s no need to fight with tight, dry, itchy and uncomfortable skin this winter. For a personalized analysis of your skin, schedule an appointment at Indulge Salon and Skin in Whitefish Bay.