As winter temperatures fall and the air gets drier, your skin pays the price. In frigid conditions, the skin is less able to protect itself. This can lead to cracks in the outer layer of skin, loss of hydration, and ultimately, inflammation.
Many of us can benefit from a skin care upgrade to combat the blustery months ahead. To counter the drying effect use thicker moisturizers equipped to help protect the skin's barrier. Another skin saver? Kinder, gentler cleansers that hydrate (rather than harsh exfoliating or foam formulations), since skin irritation can increase along with dryness in winter months.
Finally, an effort to hyper hydrate and soothe the skin should never come at the cost of ditching daily sun protection. Sure, you may not see as much of the sun during the next few months, but UV rays — the aging and cancer-causing rays that penetrate through windows and clouds, and into the deepest layer of skin — are still kicking, all day, every day.
As you gear up to do battle with the elements, holiday shoppers, and other forms of winter warfare, here’s how to keep your skin glowing — even in the shortest and darkest of days.
Skin Type: Dry
Most people’s skin gets drier when temperatures drop. So, those with already dry skin should double down on the hydrating to keep skin looking luminous. Come winter use a cream or oil-based cleanser that is designed to prevent moisture loss. Upgrade your moisturizer to one with nourishing ceramides and ingredients that protect against the sun. I would also recommend to look for extra hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
Skin Type: Oily
The upshot of having oily skin? You can often skip moisturizer altogether in the summer and use light serums to hydrate and nourish instead. But truthfully, oily types can benefit from more moisture come winter. Look for a light, oil-free lotion with sunscreen to protect against cold and wind in winter months. While some may gravitate towards trying milky cleansers we would suggest to continue to regularly use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids to help control oil production. Finally, for those who naturally produce more sebum should use serums instead of creams for retinoid use, since they're lighter on the skin.
Skin Type: Combination
Those with both dry and oily skin know that foam cleansers can do wonders to regulate excess oil in summer months. But, now is the time for those with combination skin to switch to a cream or oil-based cleanser. Skin is drier this time of year, so you need to be careful about potentially drying cleansers, like foam formulations. We would also suggest swapping your moisturizer for a more protective hydrator if your skin is looking dry or feeling tight. Try using thicker (but oil-free) moisturizers with ceramides. Ceramides improve moisture retention in the skin by helping to prevent evaporation of water and acting as emulsifiers (ingredients that allow oils and water to combine).
Skin Type: Acneic
Those with blemish-prone skin have long known the virtues of exfoliation — after all, sloughing off dead skin cells can reduce future blackheads and breakouts. However, during this time of year, it's best to ditch the more robust exfoliators. Come winter, acneic skin may require gentler exfoliation. Many are also reluctant to moisturize because they fear that oil and water will further congest the skin. Au contraire. Grab an oil-free moisturizer and fear not. You can be oily and acne prone, but still lack hydration. Acne creams and treatments can cause more irritation in the winter when skin is lacking in hydration. Pick a lotion that’s gentle but also packs major hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
Skin Type: Dull
Sure, wind-chilled cheeks can radiate a rosy flush, but the accompanying cracking and drying elsewhere is enough to override that romantic aesthetic. My favorite trick for instantly brightening dull skin is to cleanse for one minute with a sensitive cleansing brush and glycolic cleanser. Immediately after, slather on moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. This smooths, plumps, and protects the skin. Retinoids help brighten up dull skin. This will stimulate collagen and get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.
Skin Type: Aging
There are a lot of theories when it comes to what works in anti-aging skin care. But, the research shows that stimulating collagen growth is a great way to go, since it helps aging skin cells behave more like young, healthy cells. How can we trick cells into acting young? By using serums and creams pumped with retinoids and antioxidants. Along with peptides, these ingredients send messages to your skin cells that cause them to rev up collagen production, ultimately helping the skin to maintain its elasticity.
Skin Type: Sensitive
No matter what time of year, those with sensitive skin can benefit by steering clear of foam cleansers (which can dry the skin) and harsh abrasive exfoliators (which can trigger irritation). Also on the ditch list? Skin-care products with alcohols, sulfates or fragrance, since they can not only irritate but dry out skin, too. During the winter months, as skin is more likely to irritate, it may be necessary for those with sensitive skin to reduce the frequency of evening retinol use. Whether your skin tone turns pink around the center of the face or you suffer from a more severe case of rosacea, winter air can be particularly triggering. Rosacea can flare in winter, products with added anti-inflammatory ingredients — like niacinamide and licorice — can help.