With freezing temperatures approaching, I started lining up skin care creams and moisturizers for winter.
Creams and moisturizers for freezing weather should be different from hot weather ones.
You should not be using hydrating products when going outside in extremely cold weather. Hydrating products contain water. When you go outside and the temperature at the freezing level, those small water particles can freeze. That can really damage your skin: destroy protective skin barrier, dry the skin and even cause small cracks.
Key Ingredients in Creams and Moisturizers For Cold Weather
There are key ingredients that should be in your skin creams and moisturizers during extremely cold time of the year. They are: ceramides, occlusives, humectants (and hyaluronic acid) and emoliants.
All these ingredients create a breathable protective layer on the top of your skin protecting it from drying, damaging, flaking and irritating.
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Ceramides – in simple words ceramides are lipids (fats) that are naturally found in uppermost layer of our skin. They make up to 50% of skin composition.
Ceramides help to hold skin cells together and form a protective skin layer. This layer keeps moisture from escaping the skin and protect skin from damage, dryness and other environmental stressors.
Ceramides levels decline as we age. We can also diminish ceramides level by using harsh skin care products.
Moisturizers and creams that contain ceramides can restore skin lipid barrier and assist in skin barrier repair.
This is probably one of the most known Korean ceramides creams. This cream has an amazing list of powerful ingredients including ceramides, butters, oils, cholesterol (further strengthens skin protective barrier), anti-redness and anti-inflammatory components.
Very affordable moisture barrier cream that you can find in your local drug store. This cream contains ceramides as well as emollients (read further to find out what emollients are).
My absolutely favorite cream. I just love it. It smell awesome, it is light enough not to make my oily skin too greasy and shiny. And yet I can feel and see how my skin becomes less red, irritated, moisturized (hence, less oily) and nourished. It absorbs quite fast and does not leave any oily residue.
Hyaluronic acid, also know as hyaluronan, is a substance that is naturally produced by our body. You can find hyaluronan almost anywhere in your body: skin, eyes, connective tissues.
The main role of hyaluronic acid is to retain moisture to keep tissues elastic and lubricated.
In skin care hyaluronic acid is used to keep skin moisturized and hydrated. It attracts water to the surface of the skin and prevents it from escaping.
Skin care products with hyaluronic acids will make your skin look supple and plumped.
Hyaluronic acid belongs to the family of humectants (read below), but because you can easily find this acid on its own, I decided to bring it out separately from the “family”.
I have this product and I love it. I find it to be a very good affordable humectant that does it job and won’t break you wallet. As I mentioned, apply to a damp skin, let dry and follow up with a moisturizer. I find that after about 1-2 weeks my skin feels very moisturized and soft.
L’Oreal Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
Very intensive face serum with hyaluronic acid.
Occlusives are agents that prevent water loss from the skin surface. Occlusive moisturizers also protect skin surface from environmental damage: high winds, cold and even freezing weather, rain and snow.
Common occlusive agents include:
- waxes (carnauba and beeswax)
- oils (olive and soybean)
- mineral oil
- white petrolatum
This is one of the best occlusive moisturizers that also repairs skin barrier damage.
Weleda’s Cold Cream strengthens the lipid coat of your skin and nourishes dry to very dry skin intensively.
Pure plant oils and precious beeswax strengthen the lipid layer of your skin, preserving the delicate skin on your face and keeping it from drying out.”
Pond’s Moisturizing Cold Cream
Pond’s cold cream is probably one of the oldest cold creams on the market. You grandmother most likely had one. Even to this day, Pond’s cold cream is one of the “go to” creams during freezing harsh temperatures.
It contains glycerin, beeswax and mineral oil (the “good” kind mineral oil, the one that does not clog your pores) along with many other good ingredients.
Humectants are molecules that attract water from surrounding environment (literally, from the air :))
They make skin cell swell a tiny bit making your overall appearance moisturized.
You should keep in mind one thing when using humectants: you should be applying them in humid enough air. Alternatively, apply on damp skin.
Humectants that you know:
I have a recipe how you can make Aloe Vera Gel at home by yourself. Please, follow the link HERE.
Very moisturizing cream that contains 5% urea. It is suitable for facial use. The higher the urea percentage the more moisturizing this cream is. I use creams with 40-50% of urea for my feet.
Emollients are ingredients that make your skin soft and smooth.
Excellent example of emollients is facial oils (not essential oil, rather carrier oils): sesame seeds, jojoba, cranberry seeds (my favorite) etc.
You could also use facial butters like shea butter, coconut butter and others. I have an extensive post about facial oils and butters as well as a recipes how to make a whipped butter at home. Please, follow this link HERE.
Pure vegetable glycerin. You can add it to any of your skin care products. Or, if your skin is too dry and even rough, wet your palms, add few drops of glycerin, rub your palms for glycerin to mix with water and warm up and then gently pad onto your skin.
Do Not Use Hydrating Moisturizers During Cold Weather
I really wanted to mention it in this article. You should not be using hydrating skin care products if you are about to go outside into freezing weather for a long time (15 min and more).
The reason is that hydrating skin care products contain water. Once you apply water containing product to your skin and then expose it to freezing temperatures, the tiny water particles can freeze. It like having thousands of microscopic icicles all over your skin. Those icicles can seriously damage your protective skin barrier and even cause micro wounds.
You can use hydrating skin care (and you should) when you are inside. But never expose your skin to cold weather after applying water containing products.
Amazing, medical grade skin barrier repair cream. Use it when you have very rough, sensitive, dry skin. It contains honey and other soothing anti-inflammatory components. Many time you will find medical professionals using this cream on wounds, cuts and burns due to its healing properties.
Medihoney Barrier Skin Cream (ebay)
Relieve, soften and replenish irritated, dry, rough and itchy skin
Boost the natural barrier properties of the skin
Maintains the skins pH at a healthy level
NO steroids, added colour or fragrance, lanolin, parabens or mineral oils