In the winter, everything feels drier. And we mean everything. From our hair to our skin to our lips and eyes, the winter air seems to suck the moisture out of our entire body. And that can be even worse in perimenopause and menopause.

Luckily, winter skincare and eye care don’t have to drastically change your regular routine. Find out how to keep your body hydrated all winter long — and what to do if you miss a day or two of winter self-care.

Why so dry in winter?

Why do we need to pay attention to our eyes and skin more in the winter? While it’s not winter per se, that can wreak havoc on your skin, your dermis and corneas can be negatively affected by extreme temperatures and dry air.

Dry air can cause a large variety of health issues, ranging from respiratory problems to sore throat and itchy eyes.

All water... well, mostly

We humans are made mostly of water. This means all of our interconnected systems rely on water to function properly. When it’s cold out, our bodies need to work harder to perform the same tasks they would in warmer temperatures.

Depending on where in the world you live, you might need to deal with extreme temperatures, dry air, and other adverse conditions in the winter months.

When air is dry, your body’s moisture and hydration are used faster and need more frequent replenishing. In short: you need to take in more water and retain as much moisture as you can.

Fortunately, accommodating for the effects of dry winter air isn't too difficult to do. 

Why you need winter-specific skincare in menopause

There’s less moisture in the air in the winter. This means that the air naturally sucks the moisture out of your body, and that moisture evaporates. Since your skin is made up of 64 percent water, you can imagine the impact that dry, winter air has on your skin.

Some of the symptoms of dry, winter skin include:

  • Flaky skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Increased appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Noticeable scaliness 
  • Gray or red pigmentation of the skin
  • “Tight” skin

Tips to prevent dry skin

Skip the hot shower

It’s easy to want to take extra-long hot showers in cold weather. Yet, you’ll want to limit your shower time. Hot showers can actually dry skin out even further. In fact, hot showers are one of the top causes of dry, itchy skin.

Instead of a hot shower, try a warm or lukewarm one. 

Drink plenty of water

Yes, drinking water is an important way to stay hydrated — especially in cold weather. 

In the summertime, it’s easy to get dehydrated since our bodies lose so much water when we sweat. But we usually drink more to compensate, because we're thirsty and hot. Similarly in the winter, we still sweat, though we might not notice it as much. So you'll want to track your intake to make sure you're getting enough, even if you don't feel thirsty. Staying hydrated in the winter is one of the easiest ways to help your skin retain moisture.

Use a humidifier

While you can’t always control what happens to your skin outside your home, you can control the climate inside. Since the air is so dry, cranking up the heat won’t help your skin — in fact, it will probably make things worse.

Using a humidifier is your best bet to adding moisture back into the air. 

Humidifiers range in price from about $20 to over $100. Simply fill the humidifier with water and turn it on. Just remember to clean it regularly so you don’t pump bacteria into the air — in addition to water.

Use gentle skin products

Your skin goes through so much additional stress in the winter; you want to make sure you’re treating it right all year long, so come January, the added dryness doesn’t send you over the edge.

Use gentle products with few chemicals — especially synthetic scents, which can dry your skin out even further. Harsh chemicals can also dry and redden your skin even further. Gentle soaps and body washes are best.

Make friends with moisturizers, including vaginal skincare moisturizers. Vaginal tissue is thin and delicate, and for those in perimenopause or menopause, we know it can get desert-dry too. Consider making a plan to keep all of your skin’s tissues plump and hydrated. Thank us later, but get some relief now. 

Why you need winter eye care

Your eyes, just like the rest of your skin, are comprised of mostly water. And the tissue around your eyes is much thinner and more delicate. This means that come winter, they’re one of the first body parts to be a target for dry air. 

The most glaring symptoms of dry eyes (pun intended) are itchy eyes and red corneas. 

Dry air, indoor heating, and higher wind speeds in the winter can dry your eyes out in a hurry.

Tips to prevent dry eyes

To prevent dry eyes, follow some of the same tips you would to prevent dry skin: avoid harsh chemicals, use a humidifier, and drink plenty of water. And while hot showers might not affect your eyes too much, you will want to add a few additional tips to your repertoire in the winter to help your eyes retain their moisture.

  • Do you wear contacts? Consider swapping them out for your eyeglasses a few days a week in the winter. 
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent windburn and overexposure to the UV rays of the sun.
  • Don’t sit directly in front of a heat source with a blower — the car may be one of the worst culprits, since many of us aim those vents right at our frozen faces. Aim them down and away to protect facial skin and eyes.
  • Take media time-outs to ensure your eyes don’t get dried out from too much screen time.

Winter healthy eye and skincare dos and don’ts

Do use a humidifier to help pump moisture back into the air.

Don’t go crazy with the humidifier, as doing so might lead to other problems (such as mold).

Do take measures to prevent dry skin and eyes, as doing so will be easier than remedying the situation.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the winter — even though you may not feel as thirsty as in the summertime.

Do take warm or lukewarm showers to combat dry, itchy skin.

Don’t turn the water heater up too high (even though a hot shower in the winter feels great!).

Do wear sunglasses to avoid windburn and damaging winter UV rays.

Don’t wear your contacts too often, as they tend to dry out eyes.

Advanced level winter eye care and skincare

If you’re already in the thick of winter and prevention just won’t cut the mustard, add a few of these tips to your repertoire to return your eyes and skin to their natural pH balance:

  • Use a generous amount of daily moisturizer and serum, and take a moment longer than you usually would to really massage it into your skin
  • Try eye drops that reduce itchy, swollen eyes — but don’t go overboard with eye drops; they can dry out eyes even more
  • Drink more water than you normally would
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, as this only exacerbates the problem
  • Try an overnight serum and emollient moisturizer to help rebalance skin even faster

If these sound like they’d take too much time, or you’d like to be able to do something right now for your skin and eyes, these quick tips will fit the bill: 

  • Fill, pack, and drink from your personal water bottle
  • Drop a good moisturizer and some eye drops into your bag, desk, or car’s console
  • Try to remember to blink when you are staring at your computer or phone screens
  • Order some soup as a starter when you eat out as a way to take in some extra water
  • And take out your contact lenses just before you take off your bra and fling it triumphantly into the laundry bin at the end of your day 

These are small ways to support your skin and your eyes during the winter season. Enjoy!

If you have more suggestions, questions, or can simply relate to this topic and want to weigh in, we welcome you. Click and join the Gennev Community forums and chime in.