It’s that time of year again when the temperatures have dropped significantly and suddenly you start to notice that your skin feels much drier and scratchier as of late. Due to winter-related factors like central heating and windchill, our skin tends to have a bit of a rough time during the winter months, and we mean literally rough. While it’s important to have a good skin routine during summer (hello sunscreen!), it’s just as important to take care of your skin during the colder months of the year.
While it’s definitely a good thing to customize your routine in order to accommodate for winter-time skin needs (especially if you’re using lighter and gel-based products, you can switch over to more heavy duty stuff), but there’s one mistake you should try to avoid. According to consultant dermatologist Anjali Mahto, who is the author of The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide To Great Skin, people tend to completely overhauld their skincare routine in one go, and that may actually be counterproductive.
Seems strange, right? But especially for those with sensitive skin, changing your routine so dramatically may actually cause more issues than you’d expect. Dr. Mahto explains further:
“Cold weather and central heating result in less humidity in the environment and more evaporation of water, otherwise known as increased transepidermal water loss from the skin surface, leading to dryness,” which is why it’s actually good to invest in hydrating products that lock moisture in. However, don’t go overboard. She continues:
“Making a large number of changes to your skin-care routine at once has the potential to disrupt your skin barrier, which can result in further dryness, irritation, sensitivity, and even eczema or dermatitis. Start with one product and gradually build it into your routine as tolerated before adding in extra steps or layers. This will minimize irritation and dryness.”
So which products should you be using? Dr. Mahto shares that when choosing a moisturizer, you should look for the following ingredients: Humectants, which help keep moisture in the skin (for example, hyaluronic acid); Emollients, which prevents water from leaving your skin by creating a barrier on the surface of your skin; and finally, Occlusives, which create a layer that acts as a shield to keep moisture sealed in.
Dr. Mahto shares: “Some ingredients have more than one function. For those with very dry or mature skin, using moisturizers high in occlusives and emollients, like glycerin, can be beneficial.” For example, if your skin feels very tight, a few drops of hyaluronic acid serum will do the trick.
Those who tend to have acne and dry skin should avoid emollients and occlusives and focus on humectant-rich products instead. Dr. Mahto explains: “Those with acne-prone skin can benefit from humectant-containing moisturizers, such as hyaluronic acid, or the use of products with additional ingredients such as salicylic acid or niacinamide.”
In short, it’s important to figure out which ingredients work specifically for your skin and to make sure you’re incorporating them into your skincare routine year-round. Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to load up on heavy moisturizer!