If you think parched, dry skin is just a part of life during the winter, think again. It might not seem like it, but there’s a way—many of them, actually!—to give your thirsty face and body some relief.
Because, as you know, it’s brutal out there. “As temperatures drop during the colder months, the humidity in the air drops, too and this causes dry skin,” says Rosemarie Ingleton, a New York City-based dermatologist.
We spoke to skin pros to get their best strategies for looking and feeling like winter never happened. Here’s how to stay soft and hydrated all over, all season.
1. Spritz your skin on the go
“Ingesting water-rich fruits and vegetables can help with dry skin, as they add hydration to all of your body’s cells, but applying a moisturizing face mist is a more direct way to impact your skin. It’ll give instant relief,” says Dr. Ingleton.
Look for a portable mist that contains glycerin, an ingredient that helps to lock in moisture, and spray it on anytime your complexion needs quenching during the day (at your desk, post-gym, or wherever). Try Burt’s Bees Hydrating Facial Mist, an affordable option that works on bare skin or over makeup.
2. Don’t linger in the shower
“Taking a long, hot shower feels good when you’re cold, but it’ll lead to even drier skin. It’s best to keep showers short and warm in the winter,” says Dr. Ingleton. After you hop out, she suggests doubling up on moisture by applying a light layer of body oil followed by a rich body cream or lotion. “It’s important to do this while the skin is still a bit damp to help the moisturizers penetrate,” she explains.
3. Add a mask to your skincare mix
A deeply moisturizing mask, like Burt’s Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask, is good for your skin and can serve as weekly ritual that’ll help you unwind. Consider it self-care in a tube.
“Masks are helpful because they are occlusive, meaning they forcefully introduce the hydrating ingredients into the skin,” says Vivian Shi, a dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Arizona. “A mask is like saran wrap—it prevents things from going out and pushes things in.”
To turn your masking time into a relaxing experience, have a seat, then do some deep breathing for ten minutes while the product is resting on your face.
4. Rehab cracked skin overnight
There’s an easy solution for rough winter hands and feet. “I often tell my patients to do what I call ‘sock-and-glove therapy.’ You get a pair of white cotton socks and white cotton gloves—thin ones like chauffeurs would normally use. Put on whatever heavy moisturizer you like, then you just wear your socks and your gloves to sleep,” says Dr. Shi. When you wake up, your palms and heels will feel noticeably softer.
5. Resist the urge to lick your lips
We know, it’s so tempting—but don’t. “When it’s dry, you want to lick your lips more, but saliva has enzymes that break down dry lips further. It’s a vicious cycle,” explains Dr. Shi. Instead, soothe lips with generous and frequent applications of a moisturizing balm.
“The best advice I can give for hydrated lips is to never let them go naked,” says Dr. Shi. She recommends choosing a product with sunscreen for extra protection. Burt’s Bees All-Weather SPF 15 Moisturizing Lip Balm gets the job done.
6. Keep your legs covered
Consider setting skirts and dresses aside until the temperatures go back up. “You’re more exposed to the elements when you’re wearing pantyhose than when you’re wearing jeans, so your skin gets drier. If you have to wear hosiery every day for work, just be more diligent with moisturizing your legs,” says Dr. Shi. It’ll help prevent the gross leg “dandruff” that can appear when you take off your hose.
7. Mist your bedroom
Along with dry winter air, radiator heat is a major hydration zapper. If that’s what’s in your home (or you’re just super-dry), “Place a humidifier in your bedroom to add moisture to the air,” says Dr. Ingleton. Your skin will thank you in the morning.