Save Your Cracked, Dry Skin

Harsh winter conditions on Game of Thrones
Harsh winter conditions on Game of Thrones

Save Your
Dry Skin

Winter is hell on your skin.
Here's how to combat it
before things get really bad.

Winter is hell on your skin. Icy winds and wet conditions outside and drying, furnace-fueled heat indoors can make for brutal conditions. Your skin is often left either dry, cracked and flaky, or painfully tight, splotchy and burning. Good times, right? Then there's the fact that frequent hand washing during the cold and flu season also dries out your mitts.

Thankfully you don't have to suffer. Your best defense is to keep your skin as healthy and hydrated as possible. And that calls for the right product for your specific needs. This is not the time to slap on standard drugstore lotions or your girl's frilly, Instagram-worthy hand cream. Such harsh conditions mean it's time to bring out the big guns. Specialty creams, oils and balms that are formulated to get results. According to New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D., you should look for creams that contain oil since it traps moisture in the skin better than water (which is often found in lighter lotions). She also suggests looking for oil to be one of the first five ingredients to make sure it's a major part of the product's formula.


Your Hands

Hands have the fewest and smallest oil glands in the body, so they tend to get drier faster than any other part of the body. Especially after a few washes in scalding hot water. You want a hand cream that's hydrating but not overly greasy and packed with potent ingredients that will fight the effects of red, raw, chapped hands.

Skin Clinical Extreme Healing Repair Concentrate

Extreme Healing repair concentrate,
$18.05 by Skin Clinical

Eucerin Unscented Advanced Repair Hand Cream

Unscented Advanced Repair hand cream,
$4.23 by Eucerin

Haeckels Seaweed and Geranium Hand Balm

Seaweed and geranium hand balm,
$21 by Haeckels

Pro application: To get the most hydration from you hand cream, apply a nickel-sized amount to the back of your hands first. Then work the cream into your fingers, wrapping each one into the fist of the opposite hand. Finish by rubbing your palms together.


Your Body

Moisturizers work by trapping existing moisture within your skin. This is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a moisturizer within a few minutes after showering. Dr. Day also advises patients to slather on some more before bed to ensure skin gets a solid dose of uninterrupted hydration while you sleep.

Bucklers Replenishing Hand and Body Moisturizer

Replenishing hand and body moisturizer,
$34 by Buckler's

Necessaire Multi-Vitamin Body Lotion

Multi-vitamin body lotion,
$25 by Nécessaire

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Dry Body Oil

Creme de Corps dry body oil,
$17.50 by Kiehl's

Shower smarter: Aim for shorter, lukewarm (not hot) showers until the weather warms up. And while you're in there, use a wash cloth to gently scrub your skin all over. This helps with itchiness and stimulates circulation, which boosts your body's natural oils.


Your Feet

When feet get dry and cracked it can be, at best, annoying and at worst, very painful. Opt for more concentrated creams that can penetrate the thicker skin on the soles of your feet. You want ingredients like allantoin, Vitamin E and aloe that are proven to stimulate healthy tissue formation and speed up healing.

Gold Bond Healing Foot Cream

Healing foot cream,
$4.99 by Gold Bond

O'Keeffe's Healthy Feet Foot Cream

Healthy feet foot cream, $7.74 by O'Keeffe's

Palmers Foot Magic Cocoa Butter and Peppermint Oil Lotion

Foot Magic cocoa butter and peppermint oil lotion, $4.99 by Palmers

Treat any cracks: Before a painful crack in your skin gets worse, rinse it clean and then apply an antibiotic cream. Since it's just a small break in your skin, you don't need to bandage it, but keep an eye out for signs of infection like redness, worsening pain, warmth or swelling.


When your body isn't properly hydrated, it prioritizes sending fluids to important organs like your heart and lungs rather than your skin. And the caffeine in that hot, soothing cup of coffee only further dehydrates you. Just make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day for optimal hydration and healthy skin.

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