The winter season ushers in a multitude of changes for us to adapt to; the colder weather prompts changes in our wardrobe, rain or snowy weather cautions us to adjust our driving speed, and many of us have tempered our air conditioning units to heat our homes during the fall season. These transitions remind us that our daily habits now need to change—including your daily skincare routine.
The good news is that you can refresh your beauty routine to combat chapped, blotchy, and dull-looking skin for the next few months with our 2023 winter skin guide.
Read on for clever winter skincare tips and to see what you need in your 2023 winter skincare routine.
Core Principles of Winter Skincare
It’s important to take stock of the changes your skin is going through so that you can prevent damaging your barrier. With humidity decreasing in the air inside and outside, skin can be more vulnerable to chafing, itchiness, flaking, and chapping.
One common complaint people have during winter is how dry their skin feels. Many who work or reside in a building that has the AC blasting warm air may notice that their skin feels uncomfortably tight or parched—some may even find that skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, or eczema are exacerbated in these environments. This is because hot air dries up the moisture and humidity in a closed space, which can prove damaging to your complexion.
Some core principles to follow during the colder months focus on updating your skincare routine to compensate for the harsher elements you’ll face.
It’s essential to tailor your hydrating products to heavier formulas to better accommodate the harsher elements your skin will be facing. Depending on your current lineup of products, you may want to change more than just your moisturizer, especially if your skin reacts more severely to the colder conditions during winter.
Switch to a Hydrating Cleanser
The first step of every skincare routine usually falls on cleansing, which is also the most drying step as well. Dermatologist Justine Hextall advises against cleansers that leave you feeling tight after washing, as that is a sign of a disrupted skin barrier, which affects your skin’s ability to retain essential moisture.
“Skin should feel calm and hydrated after washing, so if you are reaching immediately for your moisturizer you may want to consider a gentler cleanser,” says Dr. Hextall.
We recommend the DERMA E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser to soothe thirsty skin, or the DERMA E Hydrating Facial Alkaline Cloud Cleanser for purifying skin while adding in nourishing and moisture-boosting benefits.
Switch to a Heavier Moisturizer
Upgrading your lighter creams to something more heavy duty is vital if your skin doesn’t feel any relief from your current moisturizer, or if you’re left feeling bone dry within an hour post-application. Look for moisturizers that include panthenol, allantoin, ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid, or squalane, as these help to soften, moisturize, and smooth out dehydrated, scaly, or roughened skin.
Using an occlusive product that seals in hydration is especially helpful during the winter, like a balm. The heavier the moisturizer (think creams or ointments versus a gel or lotion), the better it will be at preventing transdermal water loss from moisture-zapping heaters—this even includes the fireplace, which can pull moisture from the air and your skin if you are close enough to feel the heat.
It goes without saying that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to satiating winter-ravaged skin, so our recommendations will be based on different needs.
For sensitive skin types that suffer from itchiness, flakiness, or eczema, the DERMA E Eczema Relief Cream is formulated with calming ingredients like colloidal oatmeal plus neem for skin barrier support.
For deep hydration, the DERMA E Ultra Hydrating Day Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and DERMA E Ultra Hydrating Advanced Repair Night Cream offer instant relief from dryness with moisture-boosting ingredients that smooth, soothe, and soften skin such as ceramides, allantoin, panthenol, and squalane.
*Pro-Tip: Applying your moisturizer on lightly damp skin (including on your body right after the shower) helps to seal in extra hydration and aids in an easier application with increased slip.
Protect from Environmental Stressors
If you think that SPF is only for beach excursions, poolside activities, or sunny days, you are unequivocally mistaken. It is imperative to wear sunscreen daily—that's 365 days a year—to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolent radiation. Yes, that includes on grey, rainy, or snowy days. In fact, UV rays tend to bounce or reflect off snow and clouds, so not only are you exposed from above, but from the snow that surrounds you. Sun damage can lead to burns, sunspots, premature aging from the breakdown of elastin and collagen, and skin cancer.
Applying a physical or mineral sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 every day is an essential last step in everyone’s morning skincare routine, even if the most sun you’ll get is during the drive to work. Reapply every two hours of continued sun exposure.
We recommend the DERMA E Sun Defense Clear Zinc Mineral Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF30 Face for broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
Change Your Habits
Learning how to nourish, condition, and protect your skin against external aggressors is key to keeping dehydration and flareups at bay.
Here are some alternatives to skincare products that can help with minimizing the impacts of winter on your skin:
- Wear layers rather than turning up the dry heat (whether it’s the heater, the furnace, or the fireplace) in order to prevent drying living conditions.
- Avoid wool. It’s extremely rough and drying on skin. It’s better to layer on with cotton fabric. Thermals are great to wear as a base layer under your regular clothing.
- Avoid detergents or fabric softeners that contain a lot of artificial fragrances. They can be irritating on skin, especially if you’re wearing several layers and pushing the fabric right against skin.
- Invest in a humidifier to add moisture into the air. Some even allow you to add essential oils (make sure yours does) to enhance the mood, clear the air, and amplify the skin benefits.
Drink lots of water. When our skin lacks moisture from failing to adequately hydrate our bodies, our skin barrier responds adversely. It is recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep our skin, hair, and body hydrated and continuing to work at optimum levels.
Here’s to helping your winter skin stay glowing and gorgeous!