Taming skin in the winter is probably the most challenging of all seasons for me. I am a combination of oil and combination skin now in my thirties. When I was a teen through my early twenties, I was a traditional oily type. Times this by a thousand if you have dry skin! There are a few things to note as the seasons shift to successfully transition your skincare cabinet to combat those needs. Ingredient swaps are everything: the following personal recommendations and tips below will help you navigate just that.
Winter Skincare Ingredient Musts
Certain formulations that may work for you in warmer months aren’t going to reap the same benefits as the temperatures cool down. Swap your gel cleansers for creamy or oil-based cleansers (depending on skin type). However, not all gel cleansers are bad either. Depending on the ingredient breakdown, it may be a safe bet. The most important rule of thumb? Hydrate, then moisturize. Yes, they’re different, and yes, you likely need both during the winter. Ingredients to lean on during these months:
Hyaluronic Acid helps hydrate your skin but is considered a temporary hydrator. This is why it’s so important to lock it in with a moisturizing ingredient. More on that in the next paragraph. Hyaluronic Acid works by restoring and retaining moisture in the skin. You’ll notice a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles due to dehydration of the skin. This is how you tell what you need: if you notice more fine lines in the winter, you need a hydrator. If you experience dry patches/flakes, it’s a moisturizing issue.
Labeled somewhat interchangeably, these ingredients will also help deliver water to your skin cells. This ingredient is more of a moisturizer. It’s a humectant, much like aloe or AHAs. That means they basically pull moisture from the deeper levels of the skin like a magnet. Check for all of these in your winter skincare ingredient list, and find a formula that fits your skin the best!
Ceramides are lipids that help your skin hold on to moisture while helping it form its protective barrier. Your skin produces it naturally, but certain things wear them down, such as the weather. Replacing them is even more essential during the winter months when most experience drier skin. It’s most helpful in the moisturizing step since it locks in the hydration from your other products. It helps prevent any water loss in your skin. I personally prefer this ingredient in the winter and year-round in the evenings. Bonus if it’s paired with peptides for anti-aging properties.
Did you know acids have more properties than just exfoliation? They have major hydrating properties to help treat dry skin. They break through the dead/dry skin layer, which helps your moisturizer work more effectively. Look for AHAs like glycolic acid to get the job done. I personally like adding a moisturizer with this ingredient in my morning routine and save the peels for the evening. My favorite moisturizer that does just that is below!
What’s In My Cabinet This Season
Old favorites and new finds have been playing very well together this season! With the uptick in maskne, I’ve gotten more strategic about formulas that don’t cause breakouts. Leaning on clinical solutions with a focus on acne has helped enormously. My longstanding favorites and new find are listed below.
That rounds out my top picks for this season on the winter skincare front. Which products speak most to your current skin concerns? Let me know in the comments! Not sure where to start on building a total routine? Check out my skincare 101 posts for each skincare type: oily skin, combination skin, and dry skin.