Winter Skincare Guide: 8 Tips To Transition Your Skincare from Fall to Winter

8 min
by Courtney Brooks
January 07, 2022

As temperatures start to change, so should the products in your skincare routine. Cooler temperatures, low humidity levels, and central heating (although it feels amazing!) wreak havoc on skin and can leave you with a dull, dry, and flakey complexion. This is not the energy we are bringing into 2022. It is out with the old and in with the hydrating serums and moisture-barrier reinforcing creams. This easy-to-follow guide to winter skincare will make your seasonal skincare shift a (cold, but simple) breeze. 

1. Switch Up Your Cleanser: 

Swap out your harsh cleanser (bye, bye, benzoyl peroxide and scrubs) with a gentle, non-stripping cleanser that thoroughly removes makeup and impurities without damaging the skin’s moisture barrier. This is key because a damaged barrier is the #1 contributor to our greatest winter skin foes: dryness, dehydration, tightness, and sensitivity. Sulfate-free cleansers are a great option this time of year because they gently cleanse the skin without stripping natural oils – plus are great for all skin types. Skip cleansing with hot water (in and out of the shower) – this will quickly suck the moisture right out of skin. Instead, turn that faucet down to lukewarm. 

2. Amp Up Your Moisturizer

It’s time to bust out the big guns and swap out your lightweight moisturizer for a thicker cream. What may have worked for you during the warmer months, might not cut it as it gets colder. Look for moisturizers that are formulated with occlusive ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, squalane, vitamin E, and shea butter. These ingredients help to retain moisture and repair and protect the skin’s moisture barrier. 

3. Layer It Up: 

If you are in love with your moisturizer but still need an extra boost of hydration, you can layer a hyaluronic acid serum under your moisturizer. (Think of it like the scarf of your skincare routine – add it if you need it.) Humectants like hyaluronic acid are particularly beneficial for dry and dehydrated skin. This winter miracle ingredient can hold 1000x its weight in water and attracts moisture to the surface, plumping skin. And who wouldn’t want more hydrated, plump, and smooth skin? For best results, make sure to apply your serum on damp skin to trap in moisture. 

4. Strengthen the Moisture Barrier

We’ll say it louder for the people in the back – your moisture barrier is key to healthy, hydrated skin. To put it simply, the moisture barrier protects the skin from dehydration and external aggressors. However, if the barrier becomes damaged, it makes it easy for moisture to escape (aka TEWL or transepidermal water loss) and for irritants to make their way into the skin. Think of it like an unlocked door letting good things escape and bad things in. Look for products with ingredients like bakuchiol that strengthen the moisture barrier and thicken skin over time. You can find bakuchiol in the Dr. Dennis Gross line of Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Skincare that features bakuchiol as one of the powerhouse skincare ingredients for dehydrated, aging skin.

5. Don’t Be Afraid To Exfoliate

If you aren’t already, add a daily chemical peel to your regimen. This may sound counterintuitive, but gentle daily exfoliation removes dead skin cells that accumulate on skin’s surface every 24 hours. With these dead skin cells gone, the products applied afterwards will penetrate into skin versus sitting on top of old dead skin cells. Skipping exfoliation can result in a dull and dry-looking complexion. 

6. Don’t Ditch The SPF

While you may not get a tan during the winter, you can still get sun damage. UVA rays (aka the rays responsible for 95% of premature skin aging) exist in the winter as well as the summer months – it’s important to use sunscreen 365 days a year. Not only is SPF the best tool in your arsenal against pre-mature aging, it also reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. To keep your skin protected, find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has at least an SPF 30. 

7. Don’t Forget The Body

It can be easy to neglect the skin on our bodies when it’s sweater weather. However, it’s important to pay attention to what going on underneath the snowsuit because the face isn’t the only area that can experience dull, dry, irritated winter skin. The skin on the body is especially prone to dryness because there are fewer pores on the body than on the face. To combat the itchiness and irritation that comes with dry winter skin, turn to body skincare and look for an exfoliating body treatment that features AHA/BHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid to remove dead skin cells, as well as hydrating ingredients like squalene – an oil-free lipid that lubricates the skin's surface, replenishes, strengthens moisture barrier and prevents TEWL. Having that combination of exfoliating acids and hydrating ingredients will help maintain smooth, hydrated, and radiant body skin all winter long. 

8. Lips Need Skincare Too

Staying hydrated in the cold winter months is important for face and body – but the skin on your lips can be particularly sensitive to the cold. The delicate skin on your lips requires deeply nourishing and moisturizing ingredients to stay soft and hydrated in the winter. Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine™ Collagen Lip Cushion is an anti-aging lip treatment made with ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid for smooth, soft lips.

More Tips for Winter Skincare

Beyond skincare products that keep your skin nourished, healthy, and hydrated all winter, there are other important ways to help your skin survive the harsh cold during these months. 

  • Be sure to drink plenty of water. Drinking water is important all year, but your skin can benefit from a higher water intake in the colder months. Your skin likely needs an extra boost.
  • Consider using a facial steamer to treat your skin to spa-quality care that infuses hydration deep into the skin, soothes and softens skin, and preps the skin for enhanced absorption & effectiveness of skincare products.
  • Stay well-rested and prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep allows time for your skin to reset and time for your body to recoup the energy spent throughout the day. Make rest and relaxation priorities this winter.

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