How to Save Your Dehydrated
Skin This Winter

Expert tips for your most moisturized skin yet.
By Natasha Marsh

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Note: All content and information in this article are for information purposes only. You should consult a medical professional prior to starting new skincare regimens.

Chilly winter temperatures, use of indoor heaters, environmental aggressors (dirt, debris, and pollution)—all of these elements can disrupt the protective skin barrier, causing irritation, inflammation, flakes, redness, and dehydration from head-to-toe. In other words: dry skin. When the barrier is compromised, it can create breaks in the outer layer where water can escape and irritants can settle—making it harder for skin to maintain its natural protective oils. Ahead, two skin experts share tips to help combat cracks and dehydration, the best ingredients to add to your product arsenal, and more. Read on to learn how to soothe your seasonal skin woes.

What Causes Dehydrated Skin?

“Dehydrated skin [or dry skin] is skin that has lost too much water,” says Ron Robinson, founder of BeautyStat. Dull complexion, redness, inflammation, and itch are just some of the key signs that your skin can be experiencing dehydration. But what actually causes it? “Dehydrated skin can be caused by overexposure to hot, low humidity conditions like indoor heating, over-exfoliation as well as overexposure to the harsh (sun, wind, and cold temperatures) outdoor elements,” Robinson continues.

Tips to Help Prevent Dry Skin

Tracy Dubb, co-founder of Isla Beauty, stresses the importance of a good moisturizer in every skin care routine. By applying lotion and creams to the skin immediately after showering, you’ll seal in water and nourishing ingredients. Remember: skin type matters. If you have oily or combination skin, Dubb recommends water-based products that hydrate and help protect the skin barrier. “If you have normal or dry skin, you should look to oil- and water-based products,” Dubb shares. “In both cases, you should follow up with an occlusive (ingredient that helps seal in moisture).”

What Are The Best Ingredients For Dehydrated Skin?

To prevent the onslaught of dehydrated, dry skin, the pros also advise against over-exfoliation (too much can start to strip the dermis) and to invest in four main ingredients: hyaluronic acid, squalane, glycerin, and occlusives. Look for these moisturizing ingredients in serums, cleansers, acne products, and so much more.

Hyaluronic acid, a popular humectant (an ingredient that helps retain moisture), holds 1000 times its weight in water to bind and lock in moisture, both experts say. Another key ingredient is squalene. According to Robinson, squalane helps lock in moisture by mimicking the skin’s own natural oils, and can revitalize dull, dehydrated skin. The second humectant on our list, glycerin, is used to help relieve dehydrated skin. And to finish up, every routine should have a good occlusive—castor oil, argan oil, shea butter—to make sure the nourishing ingredients are sealed in. Now, say hello to soft, supple, moisturized skin.