Your Ultimate Winter Skincare Routine Guide
5 minutes read
Winter is coming – is your winter skincare routine ready? From plummeting temperatures, and dry indoor heat to sweeping winter winds, our skin is in a constant battle during winter with temperature fluctuations, and it needs serious armouring.
We asked two skincare experts to discuss how to keep your skin healthy and glowing in winter, along with the seven skincare ingredients you need to incorporate into your winter skincare routine to beat cold-stressed skin issues.
What is winter skin?
Dry skin in winter is common, but that’s not to say we all need to suffer in silence. The lack of moisture in the environment dries up our skin, and the blast of heat makes it worse, resulting in rough, dull, flaky, itchy, cracky, and irritated skin. It can occur at all ages and regardless of pre-existing skin problems.
According to Harvard Medical School, the water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it. As a result, the most vulnerable areas have fewer sebaceous (oil) glands, such as the arms, legs, hands, and middle of the upper back.
“When people talk about ‘winter skin,’ they are not referring to their skin type, but their dehydrated skin caused by the colder climate. However, the way it manifests itself on the skin will differ from person to person. For example, a common question that we receive when people talk about dry skin in winter is dullness,” says Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager.
There are four main skin types: dry, oily, combination and normal. McHale explains: “The effects of skin dehydration from winter can affect every skin type. So the best way for you to identify your skin type is to study your skin, how it feels, looks and reacts.”
Tweak your skincare routine accordingly to address your dry skin in winter dilemma and protect its natural protective barrier.
How to take care of dry skin in winter
If your skin type is dry, it often feels tight and will have noticeable dead cells that can flake off it. Experts suggest limiting the use of soap and hot water on the skin to prevent dryness and inflammation.
“If someone has naturally dry skin, it might feel even drier in winter because it is dry skin combined with dehydration,” McHale shares. “It might also be slightly sensitised because it is a little bit more exposed to the elements. For instance, when you go out for a winter stroll, you know your face is being beaten to death by the wind everywhere you go and skin can feel a bit raw, sore and inflamed afterwards.”
She recommends a mask and oil combo. “It is something you can just do once a week on top of your usual routine. So it doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a whole new winter skincare routine.”
If you have naturally dry skin, McHale recommends Clarins’ comfort range products, such as the SOS comfort mask, £33, which will help with both dehydration and dryness.
“It is infused with mango oil and shea butter, so it is very rich. You could even combine that with something like our Santal Oil, £40 which has natural ingredients for sensitive skin like sandalwood, cardamom and lavender essential oils.”
How to take care of oily skin in winter
If your skin type is oily, you may have noticeable grease that sits on your skin, generally around the T-zone. As a result, your skin is overly shiny with visible pores and regular outbreaks of blackheads and blemishes.
For oily winter skin, you have still got the oil content, but it is not in balance with the water content. As a result, your skin will feel tight and uncomfortable, in addition to any oily-skin related concerns you normally have.
“Breakouts with dehydration is the skin combination that nobody wants. My advice? Use the Lotus Face Oil, £40, which you could use overnight every night for two weeks. Or you could use it mixed with your normal moisturiser to give it a little bit more hydration. Lotus Face Treatment Oil will balance sebum production and protect your skin from dehydration at the same time.” McHale also recommends a moisturiser in a cooling gel texture.
How to take care of combination skin in winter
If you have a mix of oily areas on the T-zone, they exhibit shine and clogged pores, while the cheeks, jaw and hairline tend to be dry, often with flaking and redness. Experts advise that it’s about keeping combination skin healthy, balancing moisture adequately and not over-clogging the pores with super heavy creams.
McHale suggests using Purifying Gentle Foaming Cleanser, £24 for combination skin. It has pore-cleansing blue granules made with salicylic acid, which leaves skin feeling shine-free and pristine-clean.
You need to think cleverly about mask application. Oilier skin will benefit from doubling up – so use something to help combat oil like the SOS Pure Rebalancing Clay Mask, £33, and apply it just on your T-zone, then something more hydrating on the cheeks.
How to take care of normal skin in winter
If your skin type is normal, you are lucky and have well-hydrated skin with good circulation and no issues with over-or-under-production of oil.
To help protect this type, the Blue Orchid Treatment Oil, £40 with SOS Hydra Mask, £33 would be a great weekly treat. It will intensely hydrate and alleviate that feeling of tightness that you might feel on the skin during winter.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to exfoliate! McHale stresses the importance of exfoliating to get rid of dead skin cells.
“If you don’t exfoliate once or twice a week, you are not letting the products do their job. They are just going to sit on top of dead skin, excess oil, and dirt then evaporate.”
Regular exfoliation can increase the skin product absorption by up to 70%. But don’t end up torturing your skin with over-exfoliation. Experts say this can lead to destroying the hydrolipidic film (skin’s protective film-like barrier) resulting in heightened inflammation, dryness, breakouts and more.