Cold Weather Skin Routine

Winter weather isn’t only a bummer when it comes to your commute to and from work after a snowstorm, the environment also has a serious impact on your skin. “As winter temperature falls and the air gets drier, your skin pays the price. This can lead to cracks in the outer layer of skin, loss of hydration, and, ultimately inflammation,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital. San Francisco dermatologist, Katie Rodan M.D. agrees, “the air is frigid and dry outside and any kind of indoor heat leaves it even more parched. Your skin’s protective barrier cracks, making it less able to repair itself. It becomes a vicious cycle unless you do something to prevent it – or treat it fast.” A few key changes to your skincare routine can help keep your skin glowing no matter how dark the days get.

Woman cleansing skin

Consider Your Cleanser
“Skin is drier this time of year, so you need to be careful about potentially drying cleansers, like foam formulations,” advises Zeichner. For your winter skincare routine, you want to select a cleanser that is gentle on your skin but that also thoroughly cleans your skin. Dry skin types respond well to oil-based or milky cleansers, while creams and gels suit oily or combo skin types. Follow your cleanser with a toner or a facial essence that contains ingredients to calm your skin.

Keep Exfoliating
It may seem counterintuitive, but exfoliation is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your skin during the winter. Dry, dead skin cells accumulate on your skin giving your face a dull, dry appearance and adding heavy moisturizers or creams isn’t the answer to keeping your skin glowing. To reveal healthier skin, you need to first clear the debris resting on the surface. While you may associate exfoliating with abrasive scrubs, there are far more gentle ways to exfoliate your skin. Chemical exfoliants like glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids are all gentle on your skin and work by dissolving bonds that hold dead skin cells together rather than roughly scraping them off. If you aren’t already using an alpha- or beta-hydroxy acid to exfoliate, winter is the perfect time to add one to your routine.

Woman moisturizing skin

Moisturize and Protect
Adding moisture back into your skin is essential during the winter and there are several ingredients to look for if you need to replace your moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin and honey are humectants, which means that they are able to draw moisture from the surrounding air to your skin. Hyaluronic acid, for instance, can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water meaning that your skin is well hydrated and that your skin retains this moisture. Lactic acid, while an exfoliating agent, is a great ingredient to look for in your moisturizers because it adds moisture in addition to exfoliating. Despite winter being dark and often dreary, your skin still needs protection from UV rays. Wear a sunscreen every day to protect your skin from UV rays and the harmful damage they can do to your skin.

Winter does pose some unique challenges when it comes to your skin, but you can fight against the elements by making some adjustments to your skin care routine. Don’t forget to use a lip balm or chapstick that contains an SPF – your lips are affected by winter weather as well. Look for well-formulated products that contain high-quality ingredients to add to your winter skincare routine for radiant, glowing skin during the winter and all year long.


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