Winter finally showed up with an extra dose of polar vortex, and blustery weather can do a lot of damage to sensitive and dry skin. Add in having the thermostat cranked and you have a recipe for chapped lips and painfully tight dry skin.

With a few helpful additions to your regular skin care regimen, you can prevent or combat the blistering effects of winter. Here are our top tips to fight off the winter skin blues.

Hydrate and Humidify

It may sound obvious, but drinking more water and keeping your environmental humidity up can make a huge difference. Run your humidifier overnight, or – in a pinch – you can also just boil a large pot of water on the stovetop. Keeping the air around you moist is the best preventative to dry skin.

Mist It

Stuck on a plane, a train or at your desk? Check out Avene’s Thermal Spring Water, which you can spritz on for a much-needed dose of moisture along with a high concentration of dissolved mineral content.


While folks with sensitive and dry skin have long been told that dreadful dermatological advice, “Take short, lukewarm showers,” there are ways to put the moisture back in, should you slip and ignore that advice.

Two great body washes are Eucerin’s Skin Calming Body Wash and Cetaphil’s RestoraDerm Calming Body Wash. Both are gentle, hydrating, fragrance-free and highly unlikely to irritate any chapped or scaly patches on your body.

There’s also a whole spate of in-shower moisturizers that have hit the market. I recently got the chance to try the Nivea In-Shower Lotion and found that it works as it says it does. Just rub it on and rinse it off, like conditioner for your body.

For very dry, sensitive skin, you can also try Atoderm PP Balm. Just make sure to use it immediately after bathing.

Spa Day

If you don’t have the coin for pricey facials from actual skin care professionals, you can find some fun hydrating masks to slip on while you catch up on your Netflix or your taxes (sad trombone).

One of our favourites is GLAMGLOW’s cult moisture mask, ThirstyMud. Pricey as hell but for about $20 you can get a sample size, which will give you 4-6 applications to see how well it works, whether you leave it on overnight or while you’re brushing your teeth in the morning.

Protect your Paws

Chapped winter hands are no joke, and it can happen with even a short amount of exposure to extreme temperatures. Try to put on a soothing and protective lotion or balm before you go out, even if you plan to keep your hands covered. Classic choices include Neutrogena’s Original Norwegian Formula hand cream and Prevex, originally designed to protect the hands of people who work in food service.

Bouche Balm

The ubiquitous “lip chap” we all carried in our ski jackets as kids can work just fine – as long as your lips aren’t dry to begin with.

There are better choices once they get truly dried out. First you’ll want to apply a deeply hydrating skin cream like Cicabio, which you can also use on rashes, scars and winter-chapped or otherwise damaged skin.

As far as basic lip balms go, avoid anything that contains essential oils, flavourings or camphor, which can dry your lips out more. First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Lip Therapy is a great, simple option.

With a few of these trusted sensitive- and dry-skin friendly products in your pocket, the rest of the (hopefully brief) winter can be a little more comfortable and a little less flaky.