How to Keep Your Skin Healthy When it’s Cold Outside

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Even though you may be enjoying the fall weather yourself, your skin probably isn’t.

Why? Because humidity levels drop during the season and typically leave your skin more vulnerable to dryness and flaking.

Dry skin isn’t only aesthetically frustrating, it’s unhealthy as well. Fortunately, a couple of changes to your skin care routine and your diet can make a world of difference.

By taking the right measures, your skin can stay well-moisturized and healthy in the colder seasons. Below are some tips to help you accomplish just that.

Drink More Liquids to Hydrate Your Skin

Colder air holds less moisture, leaving your skin dry. So, one of the most fundamentally important things that you can do is to drink more water.

Simply put, drinking water hydrates your skin. It also nourishes it and improves its overall appearance.

Also, consider limiting caffeinated drinks and alcohol, as they can actually encourage dehydration.

Use Moisturizing Creams to Lock in Moisture

Use a moisturizer right after a shower. This helps to lock in moisture that you’ve gathered when showering. Also, don’t rub your skin dry to towel off. Instead, blot it to help retain moisture.

Definitely avoid moisturizers that contain alcohol — they dry out your skin. Instead, choose products that contain hyaluronic acid. This actually helps to attract water to your skin and “plump it up.”1

Instead of using lotions, go for creams — they’re usually more effective at keeping moisture in. Other good ingredients to look out for in products include jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, and avocado oil.

Omega-3 Fats Also Help with Dry Skin

Dry skin can definitely be a product of cold weather, but it may also indicate an omega-3 deficiency.

In fact, studies show that people with eczema, a condition associated with dry, flaky skin, had improvements after taking 5.4 grams of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) daily for two months.2

Add this to the growing list of omega-3 fat benefits as another reason to be sure to get enough every day.

GLA Eases Inflammation that Leads to Dry Skin

GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid found in borage oil, also helps to trap-in skin moisture.3

In a clinical study, elderly people reported less dryness after just 2 months of supplementing with 360 mg of GLA daily.4

Scientists think GLA works by easing inflammation which could cause dry skin, but the exact mechanism is still unclear.

Skin Loves Ceramides

Ceramides are fatty substances that are naturally found in the skin. They act as a natural “sealant” to lock in moisture.

A study showed 200 mg of wheat ceramides improved skin moisture in 95% of participants.5 Dermatological testing also revealed less flaking.

Rice, konjac root, and wheat are all natural sources of ceramides, but it’s hard to get enough through diet alone. For this reason, the easiest and most effective way to obtain ceramides is by taking a high quality supplement.

Virgin Coconut Oil is Great for Your Skin

Virgin coconut oil is a seriously great moisturizer. In fact, one study showed that it was just as effective as mineral oil.6

One of the extra benefits of coconut oil is that it contains monolaurin, which protects skin from disease-causing bacteria.7 This is extremely helpful, as dry cracked skin is far more susceptible to infection.

The Bottom Line

Your skin doesn’t have to suffer this fall or winter. In fact, it can look great if you make a few subtle changes to your daily routine.

Please try some of these suggestions as we head into these inevitably chilly winter months and find out for yourself. What have you got to lose?


  1. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011 Sep;10(9):990-1000.
  2. Br J Dermatol. 2008 Apr;158(4):786-92. Epub 2008 Jan 30.
  3. J Oleo Sci. 2011;60(12):597-607.
  4. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2000 Mar-Apr;30(2):139-50.
  5. J Med Esth et Chir Derm. 2007 Dec; 34(136):239-42.
  6. Dermatitis. 2004 Sep;15(3):109-16.
  7. Dermatitis. 2008 Nov-Dec;19(6):308-15.


Lisa Harris said...

Ceramides are new to me, but I intend to do some research. There are so many beauty products but it is so difficult to know which ones are truly the most natural.

LifeExtension said...

Lisa Harris - Just let us know if you have any questions. We'd be happy to help!

prpinjectionmd said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Lisa Harris, I tried too many different methods, and it is unlikely that the cream will help my skin.

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