Skincare for the Changing Seasons: 5 Ways to Winterize Your Skin

Published in: Skin Care

This post is part of a series sponsored by Dove.

I ticked off the tabby the other day when I had to cut short our regular morning walk. There was a chill in the air that I just couldn’t shake — certainly not in the sweatshirt, jeans and flip-flops I’d gotten used to wearing on our little jaunts — and even though the first official day of winter doesn’t arrive for more than a month, Jack Frost was already nipping at my toes.


From here on out, at least for the next few months, it’s cold weather season, and that means dry air, dry skin and cold, cold, cold.

For me it also seems to mean scaly shins and crusty cuticles that get worse and worse every year. Thankfully, I’ve figured out a few ways to keep my skin from staging a revolt as the temperature drops. Here are five ways to winterize your skin care routine.

1. Some like it lukewarm

When it’s cold out, I like it hot! My showers, that is. Unfortunately, hot water can strip away skin’s natural oils, leaving it far worse off.

The solution? — to turn the temperature down, and take shorter lukewarm showers and baths.

Now, I have a really tough time with this one because I think hot showers just feel so dang good when there’s a chill in the air. Coupled with my tendency to daydream in the shower (it’s where I do my best brainstorming), and I can easily spend 30 minutes dillydallying while the hot water dries out my skin.

That’s where a waterproof watch with an alarm and timer can help. I’ll set mine right before I step in the shower, and then I have no excuse…

2. Mighty mittens!

Regularly exfoliating removes the layers of dead skin (eww!) and other gunk that soap doesn’t or can’t. It also restores skin’s natural ability to absorb moisture, and sure, I love the way it makes my skin glow.

Anything that encourages me to exfoliate and makes it easier and fun gets a big thumbs up from me, which is why I like exfoliating gloves. They have a rough texture and can even be worn in the shower. Most drugstores sell ’em for about $3.

Whenever I feel the need to exfoliate — and sometimes it is a need — but don’t want the aggressive abrasiveness of a scrub, I squirt a small amount of a moisturizing body wash onto the gloves and massage my arms, legs, shoulders, back and tummy using gentle circular motions. Then, I’ll got to town on my rougher parts, like my hands, elbows and feet.

3. It’s great to hydrate (or, sock it to ’em!)

To help trap and lock moisture in your skin, apply a body butter or cream to damp skin within three minutes (give or take) of stepping out of the shower.

My hands and feet tend to get really dry every fall and winter, so before bed I also like to slather them with moisturizer and cuticle cream, and then put on moisturizing socks and gloves, which you can find at most beauty supply stores.

Yes, you’ll probably look a little crazy town wearing gloves to bed, but it’s so worth it. Like when people say that something “works overnight,” in this case it really does. I wake up with softer hands, cuticles and feet.


4. The validity of humidity

Heaters blow. I mean seriously, they blow hot hair. πŸ™‚ And they also suck…every ounce of moisture from the air.

A small humidifier can restore some of that moisture, but be sure to keep them clean by changing their filters; otherwise, bacteria and fugi can grow.

5. Protect your neck!

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t get sunburned. On the contrary. It happens all the time, so when you’re slathering up with sunscreen or looking for something to wear (I’m a fan of scarves), please don’t neglect your neck.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Vonvon says:

    Great tips! I put on sunscreen all year round!
    Vonvon recently posted … Review: Avon Naturals Renewing Black Cherry & Nutmeg Shower Gel

  2. Nina says:

    thank you for the awesome tips, Karen! i never really take hot showers, its always tepid for me. i just dont like the hot feeling a hot shower leaves!

    sunscreen is also a year round thing for me, but in the winter, i am never w/o a scarf. i feel like i sometimes get deluded into thinking that there is no sun when its overcast. but apparently, there is still harmful rays then, so a scarf gives me extra protection, and keeps me warm and toasty too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nina,

      You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

      Good for you for putting on sunscreen all year round. I’m with you on wearing scarves when it gets cold. Plus, they’re also a stylish and fun way to switch up an outfit!

      • Nina says:

        i love love a pop of color from a scarf when im wearing a dark outfit! sadly, i can only do that during what passes for winter here — so i take advantage of it as much as i can!

  3. peach_ says:

    I have a hard time avoiding hot showers, too. I especially like to soak in the bath during the colder months, and I’m sure that’s drying.

    I still haven’t gotten my head around how we’re supposed to apply face AND body products while the skin is still damp. I usually do my face routine first, which leaves my body dry. But if I do my body first, then I have to wash my hands of body lotion so I don’t get it on my sensitive face. Can’t win!
    peach_ recently posted … Dior Vernis Exquis 611 (Holiday 2011 Les Rouges Or Collection)

  4. Kim says:

    I’m with you on the hot showers. They’re just another one of those things I can’t give up (in cold weather). I try to make up for it with extra lotion, which usually does the trick. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Have you ever tried a steam shower? I tried one for the first time at a spa a couple weeks and it was AMAZING. I could’ve spent an hour in there because it was so warm and toasty! πŸ˜€

  5. Marian says:

    Great tips! I must confess that I’ve never exfoliated my body : 0. I’m not one who uses body creams or butters either. I don’t know….they just make me feel unclean. I think I should change my ways and pick up a pair of those gloves. I do cream my hands and feet faithfully.

    • Karen says:

      Maybe you’re one of those lucky gals who doesn’t need lotion! I had a roommate like that, and man I was so jealous of her. I swear I’ve spent YEARS applying lotion to dry skin.

      What hand/foot cream are you liking these days?

  6. Stephanie R says:

    Hahaha, you must’ve read my mind! This is what I plan on doing when I’m done with my Zumba class later today. The Dove Nutrium Moisture stuff is great for replacing the moisture in my skin, although since it’s now cold up here in WA, I’ll be regularly applying body creams and butters to my skin on a daily basis immediately after my showers. I hate my skin when it freaks out on me due to a season change.

    LOVE the moisturizing with the gloves and feet though! I do this all the time. The Bath and Body Works socks are great for this purpose after you put foot cream on (but obviously regular socks work too).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Mine does too! Everything goes nuts for me when the seasons change — skin, scalp, hair! I guess all we can do is adjust.

      Whereabouts in Washington are you from? I’ve visited your state a few times — Seattle, Puget Sound and Everett.

  7. marmar says:

    I use sunscreen a lot in the winter here. La roche porsay’s daily 15spf cream is AMAZING. Like, I use a shine control serum, top with la roche porsay and a few spots of clinique’s moisture surge tinted lotion. It gets incredibly dry here but this combination seriously controls both the dry patches and shine I suffer from.

  8. Shannon says:

    oh man, I can tell that my hot showers are wreaking some serious havoc on my hair! I really need to dial down the temperature, but my early-morning brain rebels when I hop out of the warm bed into the chilly air of our not-so-warm house. Maybe I’ll need to start taking showers at night. I feel like I’m more used to the cold at that point in the day.
    Do you have any tips for keeping hair moisturized in the wintertime, Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shannon,

      Oh sure! I like doing a hair mask on the weekends. First I wash and condition my hair (either in the shower or the sink). Next, I squeeze out all the excess moisture and coat the hair from mid-shaft to ends with a really thick, rich hair mask (several brands make them, let me know if you need a rec). I’ll then wrap my hair up in my Aquis towel (you could also use a shower cap, but I can’t stand the crinkly sound, LOL!) and chill around the house for a couple of hours to let the mask do its thing. Then, I’ll rinse it out in the sink.

  9. Tiffany says:

    I love exfoliating mittens. They really do help to make your skin glow… I know I need to take it easy on the hot showers but the warmth feels so good.

  10. I can only sit back and read in envy at these winter tips… Singapore’s hot and sunny and humid all year round! My skin’s NEVER dry… haha not sure if it’s a good or bad thing.

    And yes, despite the heat here, I love HOT showers too!! I try and compensate afterwards with moisturizer… but the best thing is to just bring down the temperature a little.

  11. Yelena says:

    awesome article~

  12. Lex says:

    Great tips! I’ll be sure to keep them in mind this winter.

    Btw, where did u get your hat from?? I’ve been dying for a hat like that but i never find nice ones in the store. They’re usually made for men so theyre too big!

  13. Great tips! I also live in butters during the winter!
    Kajal Couture recently posted … 5 Must-Have MAC Shadows for Every Skin Tone

  14. Resa says:

    I loves these tips. Will definitely get those exfoliating gloves!
    Resa recently posted … OPI Serena Glam Slam Duos @ TJ Maxx

  15. shannon says:

    once september rolls around, I bring out my heavy duty spf 15 lip balms!! Im prone to CRACKED, bleeding lips if i skip balm for a day or two. so i have them all over the house!

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