Winter skin care routine: 27 must have products

Try these easy remedies for your winter skin woes!
/ Source: TODAY
By Kerry Breen and Brittany Loggins

Our editors have independently selected the items featured in this article because we think they’re worth knowing about. Shop TODAY has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.

As January ticks on, the effects of winter weather on skin become more and more prominent. The cold air and harsh winter winds can cause dryness and other skin care woes.

Dr. Debra Wattenberg stopped by the show Monday to talk about her favorite skin-saving products, and to give tips on what to ditch and what to stock up on as the season continues.

What to Ditch

“There are so many things that worsen winter skin and make your skin look dry and flaky,” said Wattenberg.

Wattenberg explained that, in addition to colder, less humid air and the hard winter winds, indoor heating is “abusive” to skin, since it pulls moisture out of the air.

Changing up a makeup and skincare routine can help too, especially eliminating drying products including salicylic acid or fragrances, and removing alcohol-based toners and mechanical scrubs with beads.

Last year, Dr. Debra Wattenberg also shared five rules that can ease the effects of harsh winter weather:

  1. Avoid super hot showers — and keep them to only once per day!
  2. Moisturize right after the shower when your skin is still damp.
  3. Treat dry patches with hydrocortisone ointment.
  4. Drink up — with more water and less alcohol, that is.
  5. Put sunscreen on your face and lips daily. It may look overcast, but UV rays are still sneaking through those clouds.

2019 Winter Skin Must-Haves


According to Wattenberg, the biggest "problem areas" during the winter include the face, particularly cheeks and lips, and the hands.

Her top recommendation is to hydrate the skin with a humidifier including portable options that are easy to travel with or set up at the office.

  • 1. Fancii Cool Mist Personal Humidifier, $27, Amazon

This one is small and compact, with a cordless feature. Its portable shape means it can be carried back and forth with ease.

  • 2. Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, $17, Amazon

This model offers two mist modes, making it perfect for any setting; quiet at all times, it won't disturb anyone's work or sleep schedule. A seven-color nightlight comes as an added bonus!


Sometimes, when ordinary hydration options or humidifiers aren't cutting it, it can help to bring in a more technological option.

  • 1. Neutrogena SkinScanner Skin 360, $60, Neutrogena

The SkinScanner allows for affordable, at-home skin analysis. Combining a free app and a skin scanner tool, it provides a personalized Skin360 score, which can be used to help you understand how your skin changes over time and adjust your routine accordingly.

  • 2. Foreo UFO Smart Mask Treatment, $279, Foreo

Also available at Sephora and Amazon.

These masks combine optimized treatment routines and Korean mask formulas to create a unique facial treatment in just 90 seconds. The tool also works with an app, which allows you to build a personalized skin profile and get expert advice on what mask is best for you.

Remedies for Winter Acne

For some people, acne isn't a year-round problem — it only surfaces in the colder months.

"In the winter, people change their routine, often replacing their oil-free moisturizers with greasier products to hydrate, and then end up breaking out," Wattenberg said. "For others, their topical medications can be extremely drying."

She had a number of suggestions to avoid a cold-weather breakout.

Light Therapy

LED light therapy uses blue light to target acne-causing bacteria, and red light to reduce inflammation. Some light therapy tools can also be used to plump skin or reduce wrinkles, and speed up the skin's natural healing process.

"I find light therapy to be a big help with acne, especially in the winter months," said Wattenberg.

  • 1. Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Treatment Face Mask, $26, Amazon

Also available at Walmart and Ulta.

Neutrogena's high-tech mask works to clear breakouts and help repair skin. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, it can be a lifesaver for anyone who gets dry skin from topical acne treatments.

  • 2. Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment, $23, Ulta

Also available at Amazon, Walmart and Target.

A more targeted and precise version of the Acne Treatment Face Mask, this spot treatment clears up stubborn spots and breakouts at the speed of light.

  • 3. Foreo Espada Blue Light Acne Treatment, $149, Nordstrom

Also available at Sephora and Amazon.

With laser-precise targeting, LED light, and T-Sonic pulsations, this spot treatment works to remove all traces of blemishes. With a long-lasting battery life, it's an effective and fast way to reduce acne.

Spot Patches

Wattenberg also highlighted the use of "fabulous" spot patches, which can be used to treat specific areas of the face. When left on overnight, they can be a huge help against winter acne.

  • 1. Clearsail Stubborn Acne Control 5in1 Pimple Patch, 18-Count, $8, Walmart

Also available at Amazon and Target.

Stuff We Love

Get a daily roundup of items that will make your life easier, healthier and more stylish.

Clearasil's spot patches act as a barrier to bacteria and dirt while targeting stubborn pimples. These non-drying patches create a perfect environment for faster healing.

  • 2. CORSX Pimple Master Patch, $6, Ulta

Also available at Urban Outfitters.

These patches work to extract impurities overnight, while encouraging hydration. They'll reduce the size and redness of blemishes, and work to reduce acne scarring.

Hydrating Cleansers

Wattenberg said it's important to replace drying products with more hydrating options.

She recommended using a hydrating micellar water or gentle cleanser to remove makeup.

"These tend to skip the alcohol and harsh chemicals, and avoid fragrances," she said.

Cleansing Waters

  • 1. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, $9, Ulta

Also available at Target.

An all-in-one cleanser and makeup remover, this product is a powerful remover, but still kind on skin. Lifting away dirt, oil, and makeup without harsh rubbing, it leaves skin hydrated and refreshed.

  • 2. La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing Water Ultra, $16, Ulta

Also available at La Roche-Posay.

A no-rinse face wash, this product removes makeup, pollution particles, and other impurities from the skin without causing strain or irritation.


  • 1. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $9, Amazon

Also available at Ulta and Target.

This gentle cleanser is effective on even the most sensitive of skin types, reduces dryness and creates more comfortable skin.

  • 2. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $15, Ulta

Also available at Dermstore, Amazon and Target.

This dermatologist-developed cleanser includes ceramides to help restore the skin's protective barrier.


  • 1. Neutrogena HydroBoost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Gel, $8, Walmart

Also available at Ulta, Amazon and Target.

This easy-to-apply, lightweight gel boosts hydration to give soft, supple skin even in the coldest days of winter.


For best results, Wattenberg recommends pairing these gentle cleansers with a personalized custom cleaning device, which clean better and provide a gentle exfoliation as a bonus.

Also available at Sephora, Dermstore, Nordstrom and Macy's.

Wattenberg calls Foreo's Luna "super fun." The high-tech device pairs with an app and provides a gentle yet thorough cleaning in 60 seconds.

  • 2. Mia Smart Connected Beauty Device, $199, Amazon

Also available at Ulta and Sephora.

Clarisonic's Mia works similarly, pairing an app with the tool to provide a customized cleansing routine that alters the time and intensity of the routine based on user preferences. It also features multiple anti-aging attachments.

Remedies for red, blotchy skin

The cold winter winds can render even the best skin red, flaky and blotchy. The problem is simple: Your oil glands simply can’t keep up with the dehydrating impacts of the temperatures. While you should definitely keep moisturizing, now is the time to work in face masks, especially those containing aloe and face oils.

  • 1. Kiehl's Calendula and Aloe Hydration Mask, $45, Nordstrom

Also available at Sephora.

Not only is it hydrating, this mask is known for having a cooling effect on the skin. One reviewer even called it "luxury in a jar."

  • 2. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, $32 (normally $42), Amazon

Also available for $59 at Nordstrom.

For an added boost of hydration, incorporate oils into your skin care routine. This treatment is made up of a blend of essential oils — including lotus, rosemary, geranium and hazelnut — which are said to help tighten pores and soothe skin.

To try making a face mask at home, combine half of an avocado, two tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of almond oil.

Remedies for chapped lips

Lipstick, toothpaste and mouthwash can all dehydrate lips — but there are remedies that can help. These hydrating lip balms will keep your lips looking supple all winter long.

  • 1. Carmex Comfort Care Colloidal Oatmeal Lip Balm, $8 (Pack of 3), Amazon

Also available for $6 (for one) at Walmart.

This lip balm uses oatmeal to deeply moisturize.

  • 2. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment, $5 (Pack of 2), Amazon

Also available at Walmart.

This popular ointment easily heals chapped lips, dry hands, cracked heels, irritated skin, diaper rash and more.

For a home remedy, dip a green tea bag in water, allow to cool and then apply directly to the lips. The green tea contains anti-inflammatory properties. For extra moisture, apply a dab of olive oil.

Remedies for cracked hands

Never has hand cream been more important! Keep it by the sink so that you can apply right after washing your hands. You can also wear gloves indoors to lock in moisture. Whatever you do, make sure to avoid hand sanitizer when possible. In addition to being less effective than soap and water, it can actually irritate the skin.

  • 1. Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Coconut Oil Hand Cream, $6, Amazon

Also available for $2 at Walmart.

The main moisturizing ingredient of this hand cream is coconut oil.

  • 2. Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, $15 (normally $19), Amazon

Also available at Sephora.

With more than 10,000 "loves" on Sephora's website, this hand cream is called a "purse must-have" by reviewers.

According to the brand, these gloves can revitalize hands in only 20 minutes.

For an at-home cure, apply coconut oil directly to your hands and wrap them in plastic wrap while watching your favorite TV show or movie.

Remedies for an itchy scalp

While using dyes and hot tools is always tough on hair, cold temperatures exacerbate these problems and create issues such as dandruff. To keep hair shiny and healthy, keep both the scalp and hair follicles clean and moisturized.

  • 1. Selsun Blue Medicated Maximum-Strength Dandruff Shampoo, $12, Amazon

Also available for $8 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

This shampoo uses selenium sulfide to get rid of those scale-like patches on your scalp.

  • 2. Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $15, Amazon

Also available for $10 at Walmart.

By containing coal tar, Neutrogena claims that this shampoo continues to work to stop itchiness even hours after you've washed.

  • 3. Head and Shoulders Dry Scalp Care with Almond Oil Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, $5, Walmart

Also available for $6 at Target.

According to the brand, this shampoo cleans, protects and moisturizes to fully treat dandruff and itchy scalp.

  • 4. Moroccanoil Dry Scalp Treatment, $31 (normally $38), Amazon

Also available for $38 at Sephora.

After using the medicated treatments, Wattenberg recommended moisturizing the hair and scalp to prevent further itchiness.

Try a do-it-yourself remedy at home by mixing apple cider vinegar and water together and applying directly to the scalp. Baking soda and water have the same effect, especially when followed by half of a cup of plain yogurt and one egg yolk. Your hair will be shiny and smooth!

This story was originally published on Jan. 1, 2018.

For more skin care picks, check out:

To discover more deals, shopping tips and budget-friendly product recommendations, subscribe to our Stuff We Love newsletter!

Shop TODAY takes care to recommend our favorite items chosen by trusted experts and editors, as well as inform our readers of great deals, customer favorites, and newsworthy products from around the web. For more on our process, click here.