After reading a couple of bajillion winter skin-care stories, it’s easy to think we all have a pretty solid grasp on the best ways to combat seasonal dryness, flakiness, scaliness, and general annoyingness. We know to slather on moisturizer straight out of the shower, swap to a gentle cleanser, put a humidifier thisclose to your bed at night, wear lots of lip balm, and never, ever take a hot or long shower (heaven forbid).
So why on Earth is your skin still so freaking dry? We turned to two board-certified dermatologists to find out why your skin might still be parched, despite following the aforementioned winter skin-care rules.
You’re using lotion.
Nope. Your regular, run-of-the-mill moisturizer isn’t going to cut it anymore. “Make sure you’re using a cream, not a lotion,” says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Doris Day. And while you’re at it, up your dosage. “If you’ve been using a cream at night, make it twice a day and use it both morning and night.”
For something richer than your usual lightweight lotion, try the Best of Beauty Award-winning Eucerin Roughness Relief Cream, which has the added benefit of lightly exfoliating urea and lactic acid. We also love the gentle Eau Thermale Avène Moisturizing Melt-In Balm and, for the face, Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream.
You’re moisturizing at the wrong time.
While moisturizing at any ol’ random time is better than never moisturizing, there are definitely advantages to timing your cream-applying session during a specific part of your routine. “Studies have shown that moisturizing immediately after bathing is significantly better than not applying moisturizer at all or applying it long after showering,” says fellow New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.
In the winter months, stash your body moisturizer in (yes, in!) your shower so you can apply it directly to damp skin before you step out of the steam. For body, we like Ouai’s Body Crème, Beautycounter’s Melting Body Balm, and Skinfix’s AHA Renewing Cream.
Your moisturizer is missing something.
Just as important as (if not more important than) how thick your moisturizer is and when you’re applying it is what’s in the moisturizer itself. “You could be using moisturizers with the wrong ingredients,” says Zeichner. “Look for skin-repairing ceramides, which fill in the cracks between skin cells and help the skin heal itself.”