Beat dry winter skin with these 4 dermatologist-approved moisturizing ingredients

Woman applying sunscreen or moisturizer to face
Apply sunscreen to your face daily before applying makeup. JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images
  • Winter can be harsh on our skin because the cold can cause dryness and irritation.
  • Dermatologists recommend adding in ingredients to attract moisture to your skin, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
  • In order to lock in the hydration, experts say shea butter and petroleum jelly can create a strong skin barrier.

Winter can be harsh for skin, as cold weather can cause it to become dry, flakey, and dull.  

According to a 2018 study by skincare brand CeraVe, 60% of people struggle with “winter skin syndrome” during cold weather months. People with this condition describe their skin as chapped, itchy, and dry. 

Dermatologists say it’s important for people to change their routine to match the season. This includes adding in hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to your everyday skincare routine.

Moisturizing ingredients, like petroleum jelly and shea butter, can help combat winter skin syndrome, according to experts.

Hyaluronic Acid 

Applying hyaluronic acid to your skin will keep it hydrated for longer periods of time. According to dermatologist Dr. Muneeb Shah, hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it allows skin to retain moisture. 

“By holding onto water, it serves as an amazing moisturizer for the hair and for the skin,” Shah, known as @Dermdoctor on TikTok, said in a video.

Glycerin 

Another popular humectant that acts as a magnet for water molecules is glycerin. It functions similarly to hyaluronic acid by helping your skin retain moisture.

“Glycerin is like a sponge that pulls water to the outer skin layer,” dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Allure. “It can attract water from the deeper layers, or even the air in humid environments.” 

Shea Butter 

In order to lock in the moisture humectants attract to your skin, dermatologists recommend applying an occlusive, like shea butter, as the last step in your routine. 

Occlusives hydrate and fortify your skin by creating a waterproof barrier, Olay Scientific Communications Senior Director Frauke Neuser told Good Housekeeping

Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas told Byrdie applying shea butter to your skin can help it tolerate extreme weather and prevents cracking.

Petroleum Jelly

If your skin has already started cracking this winter, petroleum jelly may help. Though it is a thick occlusive that could cause breakouts when it’s warm out, Shah told Insider it can be a game changer for skin during winter.

Shah recommends applying petroleum jelly to your face at least once a week before bed, which can reduce inflammation, redness, and acne, as well as help repair cracks and damage caused by the cold.