In the winter, the environment is lower in water content—humidity, technically speaking—which causes the skin’s water levels to deplete as well. The result can be flaky, tight, itchy or generally uncomfortable skin. “Cold weather and low humidity put a strain on the outer skin layer, leading to tiny cracks, loss of hydration and inflammation,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of clinical and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai hospital and owner of Zeichner Dermatology in New York City.
However, using the right products can help you save face (and body.) These dermatologist picks help to hydrate skin from the inside out, while also locking it all in to prevent future moisture loss, too. Kiss dry, itchy skin goodbye, because these are the best skin care products for face, body, and every skin type:
1. A hydrating facial moisturizer laced with SPF
“With soy to even skin tone, glycerin to hydrate, and dimethicone to lock in moisture, this lightweight, non-comedogenic lotion with sunscreen protects skin from the inside out,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist based in Los Angeles. Great for those with dark spots or uneven tone, this lotion targets already-developed hyperpigmentation while helping to avoid its manifestation in the first place, too.
2. A body oil that feels just as luxurious as it looks in the bottle
“The key ingredient, hazelnut oil, is rich in Omega 9 fatty acids and Vitamin E,” says Joshua Zeichner, the head of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. What’s more, they’ll help you get a killer summer body in the midst of winter, as it helps to smooth skin for a tighter, firmer look with every single application adding up over time.
3. A face oil spiked with good-for-your-skin squalane
“Squalane is a non-comedogenic oil that hydrates skin. The safflower seed oil helps to strengthen the protective skin barrier to hold in moisture. The rose extract helps to brighten skin, even out skin tone and boost collagen formation,” explains Shainhouse. While some may describe this oil as thicker in texture than others, its that quality in particular that makes it so great for wintertime hydration.
4. A body wash that won’t strip your skin of moisture
“The one skin care product you cannot forget about in the winter is the right cleanser. Harsh soaps strip the skin out well, and can lead to cracks and dryness,” says Zeichner. Instead, he recommends regularly using a hydrating cleanser like Dove deep moisture body wash that has ingredients like hydrating oils and glycerin that actually moisturize while you cleanse. It’s free of skin-stripping ingredients like parabens and sulfates, leaving the microbiome of the skin protected through the dry, harsh winter.
5. A dermatologist-quality serum you can find at the drugstore
“Hyaluronic acid is like a sponge that binds 1000 times its weight in water to plump dry skin,” explains Zeichner. Because of this serum’s high concentration of hyaluronic acid, it gives the complexion a near-instant dose of moisture to help the minimize appearance of wrinkles and plump skin, while never leaving behind a sticky or tacky residue.
6. An in-shower cleanser that works from head to toe
“Fragrance, dye, soap, paraben-free, this cleanser doesn’t destroy the protective acid skin barrier, unlike many other washes,” says Shainhouse. It contains glycerin to hydrate skin and uses coconut-based surfactants to cleanse and lock in moisture, necessary during the frigid winter season.
7. A shelfie-ready mask that works as you sleep
“This p.m. cream combines hydrating avocado oil with polyhydroxy acids to gently protect and brighten the skin,” explains Zeichner. Whether left on for 15 minutes in the evening or slept in overnight, the PHAs work to smooth dried out winter skin while avocado oil replenishes for a fresh face upon waking.
8. A drugstore body lotion that feels like a splurge
“With glycerin, shea butter, and macadamia seed oil, this light lotion hydrates and softens skin” and can be applied from head to toe, says Shainhouse. In particular, this formula is specially designed to treat skin that is dry and sensitive by helping skin retain moisture—which is especially effective during the frigid winter months. Kim Kardashian’s dermatologist loves it, too.
9. A moisturizing lip balm that leaves lips hydrated and soft
“This smooth, clear stick balm hydrates lips. It is glossy enough to be worn alone, and light enough to be layered under lipstick,” says Dr. Shainhouse, making it the ideal staple for winter. It works double duty, and it requires minimal work for maximum output.
10. A cult-favorite hand cream (that works wonders on feet, too)
“This hand cream firms a protective layer over the skin, providing a protective barrier against cold dry weather and allowing the skin to heal itself,” says Zeichner of this longtime-beloved hand cream that’s earned legions of fans. Ingredients like glycerin help to not only lock in moisture, but keep it from escaping; and it’s available in regular or fragrance-free options in case you err on the side of ultra-sensitive.
11. A gentle hydrator for the sensitive eye area or your entire face
“This lightweight serum works for face, neck, as well as the delicate skin around the eyes,” says Shainhouse of this multitasking serum, which is great on its own or can provide a solid base underneath moisturizer or face oil. “It contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate, hydrolyzed rice protein to lighten and soften, ginseng to brighten and ceramides to repair the skin barrier.”
12. An OTC eczema treatment that really works
“This lotion combines skin protecting colloidal oatmeal with ultra rich emollient ingredients to soften and protect the skin barrier,” says Zeichner of this eczema inflammation-reducing wonder. Because it’s super gentle, you can apply from head to toe wherever eczema flares up—think behind the knees and elbows, on the neck, or even near the under-eye area provided you apply with the gentle pressure of your ring finger.
13. A soothing sheet mask for an instant glow
“With hydrating honey and hyaluronic acid and soothing cucumber, green tea and chamomile, this sheet mask leaves skin dewy and palpably hydrated,” says Shainhouse. But be forewarned: The formula does have a sting to it at first, thanks to the infusion of vitamin C-heavy, skin-brightening turmeric.
14. A healing ointment for pesky dry spots
“This healing ointment forms a protective seal over the skin and is ideal to use in extra-dry areas or even cracks on the hands and feet,” says Zeichner. The key ingredient is petrolatum, proved to treat cracked skin, and this particular tube comes with a handy tip applicator and dispenser that allows for precise, targeted treatment every time.
15. A seriously skin-softening foot cream
“Urea and glycerin draw water into the top dry layers of skin, sweet almond oil softens skin, and dimethicone holds it all in and prevent moisture loss,” says Shainhouse of this favorite foot cream. Despite having socks and boots on all winter, you’ll wanna keep your feet moisturized throughout the season to have them sandal-ready come late spring and early summer.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.