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The winter and holiday seasons are exciting — filled with trips to see family and time cozying up in bed. But when the “magic” of the season ceases and the winter weather starts to kick in, you may start to be annoyed by the constant scratching of your dry, irritated skin.
The harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin. Dropping temperatures and lack of humidity prevent our skin from retaining moisture. Itchy, dry skin and cracked lips are a nuisance, but there is an easy way to take care of your skin this season — just add a quality moisturizer to your daily skin care routine.
I have dry skin, which especially gets irritated in the winter. My eczema also flares up in cold temperatures. If you have a similar skin type or are especially sensitive to wintertime cold, this list is for you.
How to prevent dry skin in the winter
Not only do the dropping temperatures harm our skin, but so does indoor heating. Here’s how to prevent dry, itchy skin this winter.
Keep Vaseline, Aquaphor or other petroleum jelly products around. Apply to chapped lips or dry patches of skin. They’re also a great occlusive (or barrier) to use in the slugging skin care technique. For the most effective hydration, first use a layer of cream, then apply your slugging agent. The following list consists of the best hydrating skin care oils, creams, moisturizers and lotions. Consider using underneath your slugging product.
I have personally tested each product on this list, and use most of these moisturizers each day. I have sensitive, dry and sometimes acne-prone skin, and I found each product on this list to be hydrating and gentle on my skin.
Here are the best products to keep your skin hydrated this winter.
The Honest Company was founded by actress Jessica Alba. It produces cleaning, beauty, baby and personal care products that are natural, organic and eco-conscious. All products are sustainably packaged, cruelty-free and safe for you and the environment.
Honest’s Hydrogel Cream combines two types of hyaluronic acid with jojoba and squalane oils, and both soothe and help moisturize skin. The cream is thick and feels cool upon application. I like that it is fragrance-free, made for dry and combination skin and doesn’t feel sticky.
It’s made without parabens, silicones, petrolatum, mineral oil, synthetic fragrances or dyes, so you can use this cream on your face, hands or elsewhere on the body.
- Best for all skin types
- Contains two types of hyaluronic acid
- Dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free and vegan
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CeraVe gained lots of attention on TikTok. Beauty gurus and TikTok users alike praised CeraVe for being both affordable and great for your skin. Among CeraVe’s universally praised products is its daily moisturizing lotion.
The lightweight and oil-free lotion is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. I like that it is thin enough to wear makeup over and universal to be used on both my face and arms or legs. It contains three kinds of ceramides to restore the skin’s barrier and hyaluronic acid to help the skin retain moisture. I also like that it is fragrance-free and sensitive enough to be accepted into the National Eczema Association.
This lotion can be used on your face, hands or elsewhere on the body.
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The Honest Company appears twice on this list and for good reason. Its products are not only dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free and vegan, but its Calm and Heal Melting Balm is hypoallergenic, clinically studied and non-comedogenic.
Honest’s balm contains 0.5% allantoin, which can temporarily protect minor cuts, scrapes and burns. It can also help prevent and relieve chapped and cracked skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid and mondo grass for added moisture — all without parabens, phthalates, PEGs, synthetic fragrances or dyes. If you want to use the balm around your eyes, check out their Calm and Renew Melting Eye Balm.
I love that this balm melts on my fingers and I can spread it easily. It is best used on your face, neck and other small areas of dry skin.
- Best for sensitive and dry skin
- Hypoallergenic and clinically tested for sensitive skin
- Dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free and vegan
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Bodewell is a fairly new name in the skin care game, but it’s already making noise. Its Eczema Daily Calming Cream won one of Allure’s Best of Beauty 2022 awards for sensitive skin products. As someone who deals with eczema every winter, I had to try it out.
This steroid-free cream contains colloidal oatmeal, a natural skin soother. It also contains hydrators like vitamin E and coconut oil and uses vitamin B3 to improve the skin’s moisture barrier. I like that this cream is thick and won’t leave my skin looking or feeling greasy. I wouldn’t say it cured my eczema, but it helped to stop the itch. If your skin condition worsens or doesn’t get better, see a doctor.
I found that this cream was best to use after a shower and can be applied to eczema and rashes almost anywhere on the body.
Ghost Democracy offers high-quality, clean products (made without harmful synthetic chemicals or ingredients) at reasonable prices. In addition, everything is vegan and cruelty-free. I am a big fan of this brand, because all of its products contain highly concentrated ingredients.
Ghost Democracy’s Cocoon Replenishing Ceramide Cream was recommended to us by a dermatologist due to its ingredients such as ceramides, lipids, squalane, oat seed extract and murumuru seed butter. These help to restore the skin’s barrier, and can be used under heavier occlusives such as Aquaphor or Vaseline. Due to the ceramide cream’s density, a little amount goes a long way.
This cream is one of my all-time favorites. It’s for all skin types, especially dry.
- Contains 2.2% ceramide blend and 17% lipid blend
- Includes squalane and oat seed extract
- Clean, vegan and cruelty-free
Believe it or not, our skin still needs sun protection even in the winter. That’s why Kinship, a clean, vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand, brings Self Respect sunscreen to your fingertips. Winner of Allure’s Best of Beauty in 2021 for clean beauty, Kinship products are made without 1,300-plus ingredients banned by the EU Cosmetic Regulations.
Kinship’s Self Respect sunscreen is dermatologist-tested, contains SPF 32 and hydrates the skin. Made with Kinboime, the brand’s plant-based probiotic, the cream minimizes skin irritation and supports blemish-prone skin and the skin’s barrier. Its active ingredient, zinc oxide 22.4%, protects from UVA and UVB rays. I love the smell and feel of this cream on my skin.
Apply in the morning or 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply at least every two hours if you are in the sun for long periods of time. This product is for all skin types.
Ursa Major is a clean, vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand that makes products for all genders and skin types. Ursa Major skin care never contains petrochemicals, SLS or SLES (sulfates that can irritate eyes, skin and lungs), parabens, synthetic fragrance or color, silicones or polyethylene glycol, which is harmful for the environment.
This Golden Hour Recovery Cream is the most expensive on this list, but in my opinion, well worth the money. The rich cream not only smells amazing but absorbs right into my skin. It is made with aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, black currant, calendula, sandalwood and rose extract. The most remarkable ingredient, however, is sea buckthorn. This strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier and provides deep hydration.
Use this as a daily moisturizer or an anti-wrinkle night cream. It is for all skin types.
- Combats signs of aging
- Contains sea buckthorn
- Clean, vegan and cruelty-free
Indie Lee is another clean and cruelty-free company on this list. The brand uses natural, naturally derived and organic ingredients in its products. See its ingredient list here.
This botanical oil is full of antioxidants, vitamin E, vitamin C and fatty acid. It combines jojoba seed oil, rosehip seed oil, orchid extract and avocado oil to boost and retain moisture within the skin’s barrier. This oil slides on my skin and doesn’t feel greasy. I like that it gives my skin a glow. If you are looking for a less expensive option, Indie Lee has a Squalane Facial Oil that contains less ingredients than the Botanical Boosting Oil but is $12 cheaper.
Use this oil as your daily moisturizer or add a few drops to your favorite cream or lotion. It can even be added to your favorite hair care products for an extra boost of hydration (I recommend this).
- Use as a moisturizer for your face or hair
- Contains avocado, rosehip and squalane oils
- Clean and cruelty-free
Kinship makes its second appearance on this list with its hydrating eye cream. I tested a lot of eye creams for this list, but Kinship’s Brightwave cream stood out among the rest. Here’s why.
The skin around our eyes is the most sensitive, so it is especially important to protect it in the winter. Brightwave does a good job of brightening dark circles and replenishing moisture. It contains red algae that improves hydration and aids in brightening. It also contains vitamin C and chaga mushroom — two antioxidants that give skin a nice glow and depuffs your under eyes. If you are interested in a hydrating cream for your whole face, check out Kinship Supermello Cream.
Gently tap this cream around your eyes in the morning and again at night. It is for all skin types.
- Brightens and hydrates skin
- Improves appearance of dark under eyes discoloration
- Dermatologist-tested, clean, vegan and cruelty-free
My pick for the best hydrating night cream comes from InstaNatural. The brand is very popular on Amazon, with over 10,000 reviews and 4.5 stars on its products. InstaNatural combines vitamin C and other botanical ingredients.
The Vitamin C Night Cream smells like fresh oranges, and combines the hydration powers of hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and vitamin E to replenish the skin’s barrier. This formula is great for brightening your skin and reducing wrinkles. The cream is cruelty-free and made without parabens, mineral oil, formaldehyde releasers, synthetic dyes, petroleum, polyethylene glycol, DEA/MEA/TEAs (the same chemicals used in cleaning supplies) and unsafe preservatives. It should be noted that this brand has less strict “clean beauty” standards.
Apply to cleansed skin nightly. Discontinue use if redness or irritation occurs. It is for all skin types.
- Combats signs of aging
- Contains vitamin C, jojoba and squalane oil and hyaluronic acid
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Products for dry skin in the winter FAQs
What products are good for winter?
The best products for winter are daily moisturizers, lotions, creams, facial oils and lip balms. Look for skin care products that have SPF in it, as well. You need sun protection even during the winter months.
How do you prevent dry skin in the winter?
Prevent dry skin this winter by protecting your skin’s barrier. Find hydrating products that will help the skin retain the moisture that is often lost in the winter. Vaseline and Aquaphor are good products for protecting your skin.
Which skin cream is best for winter?
The best skin cream for winter should contain a few of the following ingredients: ceramides, vitamin E, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil or squalane oil. The best skin cream will aid in the skin’s retention of moisture.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.