How to Care for Your Skin When You Have a Cold

a woman sneezing into a tissue

Updated 02/15/22. Unfortunately, winter means cold and flu season is here. Between continuously blowing your nose, your body feeling worn down, and any medication you might take to manage symptoms, being sick can definitely affect your skin—and not for the better. In this post, I’ll share my expert tips to help your skin look its best even when you aren’t feeling your best. Consider this your guide to using skincare when you’re sick!

How to Care For Your Skin When You Have a Cold

1. Use a Humidifier

When the air is dry, it takes moisture wherever it can get it through a process called osmosis— and that means robbing it from deep within the layers of your skin. If you’re sick and using decongestants, this will also dry your skin out, so you’re guaranteed to be especially parched. Using a humidifier in your home and bedroom at night will help raise the humidity levels, so the air is less likely to take moisture from your skin. This will really help keep your skin feeling comfortable! (Here are six ways using a humidifier benefits your skin.)

Another benefit of using a humidifier is that you may be able to prevent the spread of the flu. I read a study that concluded a virus is less likely to survive when relative humidity is between 40% and 60%. A home in the winter can drop to as low as 15% humidity, so using a humidifier can boost this significantly.

2. Apply a Cooling Gel Mask

Since decongestants can be so dehydrating, a gel mask is a great way to put water back in the skin to keep it looking hydrated and dewy. Due to the cold nature of gel masks, they can also provide some relief from the pounding head and achy face that often accompany congestion. To make the gel mask even colder (which will feel even more amazing when applied to the face), put it in the refrigerator for an hour prior to using it.

Recommended Renée Rouleau product: Bio Calm Repair Masque and Rapid Response Detox Masque

3. Sleep With a Cream Mask on Your Skin

If you belong to Skin Types 5-9, your skin will be dry in the winter no matter what, so coming down with a cold or the flu will only make it worse. For dry skin types like these, I recommend a nourishing cream mask to boost moisture levels in the skin. Instead of the usual process of rinsing off a mask after 15-20 minutes, a cream-based mask can be left on the skin overnight to maximize results. Your skin will look moist and dewy by the morning!

Recommended Renée Rouleau product: Pure Radiance Creme Masque.

4. Keep Moisturizer or Face Oil on the Nose at All Times

When you’re sick, the nose area can quickly become red, dry, and irritated from repeated blowing of the nose and friction from tissues (even tissues with added moisturizer). Every time you blow your nose, apply a small amount of cream or face oil to the area. This will provide instant comfort and help avoid further dryness and irritation.

Recommended Renée Rouleau products: Phytolipid Comfort Creme, Glow Enhancing Creme, and Pro Remedy Oil.

As for specific ingredients to look for, here’s a list. These can correct the lack of oil and hydration in the skin.

•Borage Oil
•Bois De Rose Oil
•Carrot Oil
•Evening Primrose Oil
•Cranberry Oil
•Linoleic/Linolenic Acids
•Linoleic Acid
•Tocopheryl Linoleate
•Shea Butter
•Sunflower Oil
•Soybean Oil
•Safflower Oil
•Jojoba Oil
•Sweet Almond Oil
•Canola Oil
•Sesame Seed Oil

5. Use Skincare Products with Mint

Being sick can make the skin can look dull and sallow. An easy way to address this is by using a mint-infused skincare product. Mint works by stimulating blood flow to the face, bringing a much-needed glow. It can also help clear up a stuffy nose by opening nasal passages. Personally, I recommend the Mint Renewal Cleanser. I use it every day, but especially when I’m sick. I pump it out into the palm of my hand, take a few slow and deep inhalations, and then apply it all over my face.

6. Put Eucalyptus Essential Oil in Your Shower

I personally do this every single morning, but it’s especially helpful when you have a cold or the flu and need to clear your head.

All you need to get a pure eucalyptus essential oil. It contains a high amount of an oxide called eucalyptol, which loosens mucus secretions, relaxes muscles, and opens the airways for easier breathing. Pour 30 drops all over your shower floor (I shake the bottle for 15 seconds, so I’m not sure how many drops actually come out, but you have to use a fair amount). Then, wait five minutes for the scent to settle into your shower before stepping in. Turn on the hot water and close the door. Your shower will be instantly transformed into a luxurious spa experience that will wake you up and get you breathing better!

Just make sure to leave the shower fan off. Since there is little to no humidity in the air during the winter, the steam can be useful for preventing moisture loss.

7. Drink Lots of Water

Despite what you’ve been told, drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin, so, unfortunately, this tip won’t do much for your skin’s appearance. It’s still important, though, because it keeps fluids running through your system, which flushes away toxins and keeps your internal temperature down while you’re sick. This can help your skin look better overall.

There you have it. I sincerely hope my expert tips will help you look and feel better when you’re not at your best. If you can muster up the energy, these steps can really make a difference. Feel better!

Next, check out every single skin and body product I use during the winter.

Disclaimer: Content found on and, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.

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