From replacing your foam cleanser with an oil, to introducing hyaluronic acid, which promotes moisture, into the routine, here is a guide to get your skin ready to tackle the colder months.
This raw, dry wintry weather leaves facial skin & hands uncovered to the elements exposing your skin, feel dry, sensitive, & irritated. Some contributing factors can be:
- Turning up your central heating can dry out your skin
- Hot baths & showers where the heat strips moisture from your skin
Just like us changing our clothing to adapt with the season, the same should apply to our skincare.
The first place to start is knowing your skin type. In which category do you fall?
- OILY SKIN– An oily skin type is exactly what it sounds like – excess oil in all areas of the face produce a persistently shiny or greasy appearance. If you don’t treat your oily skin, pores can become clogged and enlarged, and dead skin cells can accumulate causing blockages resulting in blackheads or pimples and other types of acne.
- DRY SKIN – Dry skin occurs when natural functioning of the skin is compromised. If the water content in your epidermis falls below 20% for a prolonged period, then it will manifest as dry skin – flaking, scaling, itching or irritation. Even if your skin tends to be oily, you can develop dry skin from time to time(usually labelled skin dehydration). Dry skin can affect any part of your body.
- NORMAL SKIN – typically means well-balanced skin. The T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) may develop some oil, but sebum and moisture is balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry.
- SENSITIVE SKIN – is a frequent complaint in the general population. A condition defined by unpleasant sensations (stinging, burning, pain, and tingling sensations) in response to stimuli that normally should not provoke such sensations. Sensitive skin can affect any body parts, especially the face.
TIP Get into the habit of assessing your skin as its needs can shift with the season. Does it feel dry after washing? Are you acne prone? Do you experience a burning sensation when you apply products?
With winter comes drier skin so when you are heading to a ski resort with your friends for the weekend make sure you have skincare to compensate for the harsh frigid air.
TIP Foaming cleansers can cause dryness which is appropriate for warmer months, consider switching to a soothing balm or oil cleanser to avoid over stripping your skin.
The purpose of a toner is to help prep the skin for the rest of your skincare routine while helping reestablish its pH level. Toners remove any last traces of dirt, grime and impurities stuck in your pores after you wash your face. When added to your daily skincare routine and used regularly, it can have a major positive impact on the appearance and tightness of your pores.
TIP If your toner contains alcohol & astringents they can have an extra drying effect on your skin. At this time of year, it can be helpful to look for formulas with reduced strengths of active ingredients. Focus more on soothing, moisturizing ingredients.
A serum is perfect for addressing specific skin concerns. There are many types of serums, each with a unique purpose and ingredients. Some serums help brighten your skin or reduce blemishes, controlling access sebum, while others focus on boosting hydration or fighting the signs of aging.
TIP Adding a Hyaluronic Serum before your moisturizer is a handy trick to layer skincare and improve your skin moisture levels, combating the frigid winter air. Be sure to apply it to damp skin, I usually lightly spritz my face with facial water prior to application. Oh, and a bonus on this note is Hyaluronic Acid, not only moisturizes your skin, it also plumps causing the skin appear more supple.
There is no one size that fits all when it comes to exfoliation. Exfoliation can always help as part of your skincare routine and works by eliminating the upper layer of dead skin cells sitting on the skin. Exfoliation can be either physical (i.e. scrubs, mechanical cleansing device) or chemical (i.e. alpha and beta hydroxy acids). The choice of physical versus chemical exfoliation largely comes down to personal preference. When skin is appearing lacklustre your first inclination may be to reach for your exfoliator, however during the winter your skin is already battling against ecological stressors. Rough or over-exfoliation can damage the skin barrier resulting in additional skin issues. It’s essential to pay close consideration to the requirements of your skin when deciding which exfoliator to use and how frequently
TIP If you are using an exfoliating product and your skin is not becoming dry, red, sensitive, irritated or peeling, it is likely you are using it at the correct frequency for you; alternatively, if your skin is displaying symptoms of irritation, decreasing the frequency of your exfoliation process is recommended. Typically, oily skin can tolerate exfoliation more frequently (a few times a week) whereas as dry, sensitive or mature skin can tolerate one, maximum two times a week.
The main goal during the colder temperatures is to protect and restore the moisture barrier in your skin. Winter is an opportune time to switch to a heavier, denser moisturizer, so switching from a gel or lotion texture moisturizer to a cream or balm which is heavier in texture and the reason is to certify your skin barrier is protected – especially those who already have dry skin type.
There are three primary categories of ingredients found in moisturizers in varying proportions: humectants, occlusives and emollients. Let me break this down further:
- Humectants are particles that draw and bind water from the deeper layers of the skin or environment if atmospheric humidity is over 80%.
- Occlusives produce a barrier over the skin and impede water loss from the surface.
- Emollients work by filling in the cracks between skin cells and swapping skin lipids.
Selecting an oil-free or “non-comedogenic” moisturizer is helpful for oily skin types. These kinds of moisturizers often contain added actives to target blemish-prone skin like niacinamide, salicylic acid and zinc.
Using a moisturizer high in occlusive or emollient agents is beneficial for someone with dry skin. However, those with extremely dry skin may want to layer a hyaluronic acid serum first followed with a rich, heavy moisturizer on top.
TIP Listen to your skin and what it needs at different times of the year. Your skin will change with the season, so utilizing one skincare regimen for an entire year is not idealistic. Your skin adjusts to the skincare you are using, so changing it up is healthy.
I am one for face oils since I am all about dewy skin but keep in mind by using the wrong one for your skin type there is a risk of blocking pores and the formation of small bumps under the skin known as comedones.
Ingredients to look out for include vitamin E, oleic acid, almond and moringa – these ingredients can help prevent water loss from the skin surface which helps retain moisture.
TIPS Applying oils should be the final step in your skincare routine. I enjoy the maximum benefit from oils when I press them into my skin opposed to rubbing an oil in.
NIGHT TIME TREATMENTS
Healing your skin with natural rejuvenation at night will make it more durable during the day and keep harmful elements like the sun, wind, stress and debris from penetrating the epidermal layer. A nighttime skin care routine that concentrates on repair and hydration can preserve your clear complexion and your firm skin.
TIPS The start of a sufficient nighttime regimen starts with properly cleansed skin so don’t skip out on this detail. Use products with high performing ingredients at night geared toward repair, exfoliation, and anti-inflammation.
Face masks can play a vital supporting role when you’re dealing with dry skin, dehydrated skin, or oily skin. To battle dryness and dehydration, a nutrient rich mask is the correct solution. For those experiencing irritated, dry winter skin, your go-to should be a hydrated face mask because it will temporarily boost moisture levels in your skin. Consider face masks containing ceramide and hyaluronic acid.
Do not be hesitant to use multiple masks on different areas of your face at one time, depending on your skin’s need. (Charcol masks on your oily areas and moisture filled masks on the drier areas of your face).
- To combat red, peeling or flaking skin, aim to avoid any product with essential oils or fragrances which can irritate it further.
- Hyaluronic acid and ceramides promise to reveal skin that is plump, supple and radiant.
TIPS If using a sheet mask, it should not be left on for more then 25 minutes max, when sheet masks dry up it can absorb the moisture from your skin. More often then not there is accessive serum left on your face after removal – so rub it into your neck, chest, etc. Apply eye masks under your eyes, then lay a facial sheet mask over it, followed by a lip mask.
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may earn a modest commission, however this does not affect your price point in any way. As always, I only recommend products that I truly love and use myself.