Winter’s almost here, and that means it’s time for things to get merry and bright, including your complexion! But as temperatures tumble, you might notice your skin’s tone and texture changing as it faces off against the dry, frigid weather.
‘Tis the season to tackle the chilly challenges head-on so you can keep your visage feeling supple and looking luminous.
Winter’s Toll on Skin Health
Before we describe tailor-made routines for each skin type, let’s talk about why even the oiliest of skin can feel tight and dry or why typically dry skin might start flaking as winter sets in.
- As temperatures fall, humidity levels drop, too, leading to less moisture in the air and, consequently, in your skin.
- Cold, blustery winds strip the skin’s natural protective barrier, leading to dryness and irritation.
- A cozy home can take a toll on your complexion, too. Indoor heating can sap moisture from the air and your skin, making it double trouble for your complexion.
- Moving between the cold outdoors and warm indoors causes blood vessels to rapidly expand and contract, leading to redness and irritation.
- Cooler temperatures can reduce the skin’s sebum production, making even oily skin types dry.
- All of these factors combined can compromise your skin barrier, making it less effective in retaining moisture and protecting against irritants and allergens.
Your first thought might be slathering on the heaviest cream you can find and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, that won’t do the job as well as you might expect.
Instead, think of winter skincare the same way you would your winter wardrobe. You want to dress it in layers that build up protection without suffocating your skin and clogging your pores.
Most importantly, you need to work with products designed for your skin, which starts with knowing your skin type!
Identifying Your Skin Type
Before we give you our recommendations for dermatologist-approved winter skincare, let’s determine what we’re defending.
Here’s a rundown on how to self-diagnose your skin type:
Normal skin is well-balanced, neither too oily nor too dry. It’s the Goldilocks zone, where the skin is just right, with a smooth texture and little to no imperfections. If this is your skin type, winter might bring a slight tightness due to the lack of moisture, but overall, your skincare worries are minimal.
Do I Have Normal Skin?
- Your skin doesn’t feel dry or oily after cleansing. Instead, it feels comfortable and smooth.
- You rarely experience breakouts or flakiness.
- Pores are barely visible, and your skin tone is even.
- You can tolerate most skincare products without irritation.
- You notice a natural glow throughout the day without excess shine or dry patches.
If your skin often feels parched and flaky, you have dry skin. It can feel tight, look dull, and is more prone to showing lines and wrinkles.
Winter can be particularly brutal on dry skin, often causing redness or irritation as moisture levels drop indoors and out.
Do I Have Dry Skin?
- Your skin often feels tight, especially after cleansing. It might show signs of cracking or peeling.
- You notice flaking, rough patches, or a dull, lackluster appearance.
- Your pores are tiny, and you rarely have acne issues.
- You’re sensitive to changes in weather and often need extra moisturizer
- A couple of hours after cleansing, your skin feels tight and might show signs of cracking or peeling.
- Your complexion often looks dull, and you may have visible lines when your skin is not moisturized.
Oily skin produces more sebum than other skin types, giving your complexion a “thick,” shiny appearance. Contrary to popular belief, even oily skin needs proper hydration, especially in winter, when the contrast between cold outside air and warm indoor heating can trick your skin into overproducing oil.
Do I Have Oily Skin?
- Your skin has a shiny appearance, particularly in the T-zone.
- You’re prone to blackheads, pimples, or other types of acne.
- Pores look visibly enlarged, especially on your nose, chin, and forehead.
- Makeup doesn’t stay put for long, often sliding off or collecting in the creases.
- You reach for blotting papers or powder to manage the excess oil throughout the day.
With its mix of dry and oily areas, combination skin is the trickiest to manage, especially when the cheek areas might feel tight and dry, while the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) looks shiny. Winter care for this type requires multiple products to cater to each area of need.
Do I Have Combination Skin?
- Your T-zone is oily, while your cheeks, eyes, and mouth areas are dry.
- You have larger pores on your nose and forehead.
- You need different types of products for different areas of your face.
- You may experience both dry patches and shine on the same day.
Reactive and delicate, sensitive skin is the diva of the bunch. It can become inflamed and irritated easily, especially with harsh winter winds and rapid temperature changes raging throughout the season. Products with minimal, gentle ingredients are necessary to keep reactive skin in check.
Do I Have Sensitive Skin?
- Your skin reacts quickly to products or environmental factors, often with redness, itching, or bumps.
- You tend to blush and flush easily.
- Your skin can feel itchy or tingly after using certain skincare products.
- Fragrances and harsh ingredients cause your skin to react.
Winter Skincare for Normal Skin
Even normal skin can benefit from slight adjustments in the winter to keep it functioning optimally.
Actives for Normal Skin
- Antioxidants: Products with antioxidants like vitamin C protect skin from environmental stressors.
- Peptides: Maintain skin elasticity and firmness.
- Glycerin: Hydration without the grease.
- AHA/BHA: Light exfoliation and overall radiance.
Everyday moisturizers should contain antioxidants and emollients to protect against the harsh winter environment and prevent moisture loss. Revision Skincare IntelliShade or Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
- A weekly hydrating mask can boost moisture and keep skin plump and supple.
- Antioxidant serums protect against free radicals.
- Don’t forget your sunscreen, even on cloudy winter days, to protect against UV rays.
Winter Skincare for Dry Skin
Dry skin can feel incredibly tight and uncomfortable in winter, so you’ll want a moisture-rich routine. Look for products with actives that retain moisture, repair the skin barrier, and gently exfoliate without stripping the skin.
Hydrating Actives for Dry Skin
- Hyaluronic Acid: Draws moisture into the skin.
- Glycerin: A humectant that retains moisture.
- Ceramides: Strengthen the skin barrier.
- Urea or Lactic Acid: Mild exfoliants that also hydrate
Your moisturizer should be thick, perhaps even an ointment, packed with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and natural oils to help lock in moisture and repair the skin barrier. You should also use an even thicker moisturizer overnight to lock in hydration while you catch some Zzzs. MEG 21 Face Treatment, MEG 21 Advanced Formula or Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
- Once a week, indulge in a hydrating mask that you can leave on for extended moisture.
- Consider serums with hyaluronic acid or squalene oil for an extra hydration boost.
- Overnight treatments can help to repair the skin barrier and replenish moisture while you rest.
Winter Skincare for Oily Skin
It’s a myth that oily skin doesn’t need hydration. Winter can cause even oily skin to dry out, which causes your skin to overproduce oil. Balance the equation with non-comedogenic hydrators that moisturize without clogging pores.
Actives for Oily Skin
- Niacinamide: Regulates oil production and reduces inflammation.
- Salicylic Acid: Exfoliates and cleanses pores without over-drying.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Provides lightweight hydration.
- Squalene: A non-greasy oil that mimics skin’s natural sebum.
Gentle gel and foam cleansers with salicylic acid will cleanse your skin without over drying while keeping excess oil and breakouts in check. CLn Acne Cleanser or NeoStrata Mandelic Clarifying Cleanser
Look for lightweight, oil-free moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to regulate oil production. Look for non-comedogenic products that hydrate without clogging your pores. NeoStrata Sheer Hydration SPF 40 or CLn Facial Moisturizer
- Clay masks are excellent for absorbing excess oil and impurities once a week.
- A retinol treatment can help regulate oil production and improve skin texture.
- A balancing toner with witch hazel or green tea can also help to maintain an even complexion.
Winter Skincare for Combination Skin
Combination skin means you’ll need to spend time catering to both dry and oily areas. Use products that can balance these differences, hydrating dry spots while keeping oiliness in check.
Actives for Combination Skin
- Hyaluronic Acid: Offers hydration without heaviness.
- Green Tea: Calms the skin and manages oil in the T-zone.
- Jojoba Oil: Balances oil production.
- AHAs and BHAs: Provide exfoliation and help with skin texture.
You’ll want to choose a balancing cleanser that gently removes oil in the T-zone without stripping moisture from drier areas. Look for light foams or gels that won’t aggravate particularly dehydrated patches. Cln Facial Cleanser or
Moisturizers that are light on the T-zone and more nourishing on the cheeks can provide balanced hydration. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer for the entire face, then spot treat any dry spots with nourishing emollient creams. Green Tea Cream Triple Action or NeoStrata Cellular Restoration
- Exfoliate regularly but gently, focusing on areas with more dead skin buildup.
- Use targeted treatments for different areas, with lightweight serums for oily sections and hydrating patches or creams for dry spots.
Winter Skincare for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin requires gentle care, particularly in winter, to avoid irritation and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
Soothing Actives for Sensitive Skin
- Aloe Vera: Soothes irritation and moisturizes.
- Allantoin: Calms skin and promotes healing.
- Centella Asiatica: Improves skin repair and reduces sensitivity.
- Oatmeal: Offers anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties.
Use fragrance-free, non-foaming cleansers with soothing ingredients like aloe vera and allantoin that cleanse without irritating your reactive complexion. Revision Skincare Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Barrier-repair creams with anti-inflammatory properties can help to protect and soothe your sensitive skin. Look for ingredients like ceramides and essential fatty acids, as well as hypoallergenic formulations. NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream
- Use a soothing mask with ingredients like calendula or chamomile to calm the skin.
- Serums with peptides can help to build skin resilience without irritating.
- Always perform a patch test before trying a new product or treatment.
While daily skincare routines are a great start, professional treatments at Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Institute can rejuvenate even the driest, most irritated winter skin.
Not sure where to start? Let’s chat!