Every item on this page was chosen by The Fed & Fit team. The site may earn a commission on some products (read more here).
Today we’re chatting all about how to heal dry skin! As much as I LOVE this time of year, one thing that inevitably happens as the temperatures start to drop is that my skin gets very dry. In the past, it’s been such a struggle to maintain hydrated skin that’s not flaky, red, and irritated, but no more! I’ve finally cracked the code, along with the help of my good friend Liz Wolfe (skincare level: EXPERT), and I’m here to share all the secrets to keeping your skin healthy and happy during the winter. If you want to listen to our fantastic chat, and get even DEEPER into the whys behind some of these recommendations, tune in to our podcast episode HERE to learn more!
More often than not, dry skin is going to be a problem that is normally associated with the colder winter months (for a few reasons we’ll chat about below), BUT if you constantly live in a climate that tends to be more on the dry side, or have naturally dry skin, then you may be struggling year-round with how to heal it. If that’s the case, we got you – these tips on how to heal dry skin are just as helpful year-round as they are in the winter, so feel free to use them anytime as a method to hydrate and moisturize your beautiful skin!
Three Things that Will Heal Your Dry Skin
I’m going to tell you something that might just blow your mind, or maybe not, but did you know that when it gets cold (ie as soon as the temperatures start to drop) the air itself also becomes much less humid. You might be thinking, “of course it does, everyone knows that!’, but what you might NOT know is that when there is less moisture in the air, the air starts stealing it from our bodies through our skin! This is partly why, during the winter season, dry skin can become an issue for so many who normally don’t have a problem with it. We’ll talk about how to mitigate some of this environmental moisture loss by focusing on nutrition and a slightly tweaked skin routine, but one thing you can do for your environment to make a difference right away is to add a humidifier to your bedroom and use it when you sleep at night. Adding moisture back into your skin at night while we sleep (hopefully a full, uninterrupted 8 glorious hours) can be a game-changer for your skin, and the best part is, you don’t have to do anything besides getting your precious ZZZs!
#2: Nutrition/Hydration for Dry Skin
This one seems like a no-brainer as well, but let’s talk about some specifics that can be addressed to help heal dry skin. Like we mentioned above, naturally, the environment is going to be stealing moisture from our skin during the winter, so what can we do to offset that moisture loss? Eat and drink nourishing foods of course! I’m not going to tell you to chug 9 gallons of water, or X amount times your body weight, my recommendations are actually much more simple!
- Hydration: Get your water intake first and foremost through whole nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, and thoughtfully sourced meat. Food in their natural forms typically have lots of naturally occurring water + the benefits of various electrolytes, which we also need! Aside from water in the foods you eat, drink water or another hydrating beverage (broth, herbal tea, etc.) consistently throughout the day, and if you’re working out, make sure you consume a little extra water before and after you exercise.
- Healthy Fats: If you don’t already eat a variety of healthy fats in your normal diet, now is a great time to add them in! Healthy fats will contribute to your skin health (our skin has a lipid (fat) bilayer, and fats will help keep moisture IN. We recommend eating fats from a variety of sources, some of our favorites include olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, tallow, and pumpkin seeds (among many others!). Making sure you eat from a variety of sources ensures that you get the many different co-nutrients that are present in those foods, which can be beneficial for many other reasons!
#3: Find the Best Products for Healing Dry Skin
Ok, now that we’ve got our foundation for healthy skin laid, let’s talk about how to heal dry skin topically with a solid winter routine. In the summer, when we’re more aware of water intake, and our skin is naturally surrounded by a humid environment, we can tend to get away with a really fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants skincare routine. When winter comes around, we have to be more proactive. So here’s a tried and true method of addressing dry winter skin that I live by! Keep in mind though, if you live in a climate that has a year-round dry climate, this might be your normal every day/every season routine – and that works too!
- STEP ONE: Gentle Exfoliation
- Picking and using a gentle exfoliator in your skincare routine is KEY. I tend to prefer an at-home peel product for exfoliation over a physical exfoliate as it can sometimes be more effective, and slightly more gentle for sensitive skin. The Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel is my favorite product for this particular step, as it contains a gentle concentration of varying acids to break up and slough off that layer of dry skin. One of the main reasons that removing this layer is important is that it can prevent your skin from absorbing and actually using your moisturizers, serums, and oils, designed to nourish the skin.
STEP TWO: Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate Serum
- Your next addition will want to be a cream or serum that contains hyaluronic acid (commonly called sodium hyaluronate in skincare products) because it’s a moisture powerhouse! This ingredient binds over 1000 times its own weight in water, drawing moisture back into your skin – exactly what you need during these dry months!
- STEP THREE: Facial Oils (nourish and apply moisture to the skin)
- Facial Oils are the unsung hero of skincare products! A really simple skincare oil can do BIG things for your skin health because your skin has a lipid-based barrier, and when you nourish it, you enhance your skin’s ability to hold on to moisture from water. Combined with increasing the fats in your diet, a great topical oil will be a game-changer when figuring out how to heal dry skin. The structure of the oil you’re using is also VERY important. For years, I slathered coconut oil on my face, and wondered why my face continued to get more and more dry, and the reality is that the structure of coconut oil is too short to really nourish the lipid bilayer of your skin. You need to find a facial oil that has longer chain fatty acids, like THESE Beautycounter Oils that I’m obsessed with. If you’re currently using coconut oil-based products, and aren’t happy with the status of your skin, it’s more than likely due to the fact that you’re not actually adding moisture that your skin can use!
- For the body moisture, I also LOVE tallow based products because it matches many of the lipids found in your skin, and can be really great for all over body moisture. Primally Pure makes my favorite tallow-based body butter that feels so luxurious, with a smell that is DIVINE.
- BONUS STEP FOUR: Balms (moisturizing cleansers and overnight moisture masks)
- Balms are a well-kept secret in the skincare world, and they are the one product that can be a fantastic addition to any skincare routine when you want to up the ante! One of the things I love most about balms, like the Cleansing Balm from Beautycounter, is that it’s not only packed with incredibly nourishing oils like jojoba, raspberry seed, and almond oil, but it’s also multifunctional – meaning you can use it for just about everything! I love to use mine as a makeup remover and cleanser in the evenings, as an occasional overnight mask treatment, or on especially dry patches on my body. It truly is a miracle worker!
- BASIC ROUTINE:
- AM: Cleanse + Tone + Serum + Daytime Facial Moisturizer
- PM: Cleanse + Tone + Peel + Nighttime Facial Moisturizer
- PM #2: Cleanse + Tone + Serum + Facial Oil + Nighttime Moisturizer
- Bonus Step: Balms for a gentle evening cleanser OR use as an overnight mask in place of your facial oils and nighttime moisturizers
I hope that helps you navigate all of your questions about how to heal dry skin! Providing safer alternatives to skincare issues is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and I so hope you enjoyed this fun little bit of skincare science!