How to Modify your Skincare Routine for Winter?
We all know that having a good skincare routine can work wonders in improving your skin health; in fact, it can even slow down or delay the signs of aging. However, following the same skincare routine all year round, and using the same products for your skin, irrespective of the weather or the environment, can actually be counterproductive for your skin.
Our skin is our first and only barrier against the environment, and it is the organ that protects us against all external elements. Thus, the climate actually has a lot of effects on our skin, making it mandatory to change our skincare routine in accordance with the weather.
With fall out of the way and winter fast approaching, we present to you a short guide on some essential changes you can make to your daily skincare regimen. These changes will ensure that your skin does not suffer while you make the most of the upcoming holiday season.
1) Switch to thicker, cream-based moisturisers
The cold and dry weather in winter strips our skin of its natural oils, and leads to a rough, irritated, and cracked appearance of our skin.
If you were using a light lotion, or gel-based moisturiser for a non-greasy feel during the summer, it’s time to switch to a thicker, creamier formulation. Your cream should be rich in ceramides and other moisturisers and humectants which can restore and maintain your skin barrier. However, if you have acne-prone skin, do check that the product is certified non-comedogenic. Moisturising multiple times a day, at least twice daily, is highly recommended, and more so when you spend time outdoors.
2) Lay off the harsh soaps and hot water
Harsh cleansing products strip the skin of all its moisture (something known as the natural moisturising factor (NMF) as well as damage the skin barrier. Beware of labels such as “antibacterial” and “oil-control”. Generally, such products do more harm than good for your skin health, unless being used after prescription by a medical professional. This is even more important for the delicate skin on your face. Switch to a gentle, soap-free cleanser, and avoid using scrubs more than once a week. The cleansing beads used in most scrubs are too harsh and often cause microdamage to the skin and worsen many issues such as acne, hence scrubs can usually be completely avoided during the winters.
3) Do not skip the sunscreen
During winters, while we are huddling beneath our coats and caps, most of us forget about sunscreens. This is especially true since we tend to associate the sun with summer. However, the winter sunlight can actually be harsher, and sunscreens are a must all year round. Use a moisturising sunscreen if you feel your skin has gotten drier, as the matte sunscreens or gel-based formulations may no longer be suitable. A cream sunscreen or a lotion should work well during winters.
4) Apply retinol less frequently
Winters and retinoids isn’t really a combination that goes well. You can have the worse retinoid reactions if you introduce them during the winter. However, there are some things you can do, to continue your anti-aging regimen this winter and avoid any reactions. Using retinoids correctly, and layering with moisturisers, are key. Here is our article on retinoid use during winters, if you need further instructions.
Additionally, if you think retinol is making your skin dry and irritated, winter may be the best time to switch to Bakuchiol, which is a gentler alternative. Read more about Bakuchiol here!
5) Introduce hand and foot care creams
There are great products available to treat and moisturise cracked hands and soles. These usually contain moisturising ingredients which can penetrate the thick skin of your palms and soles, such as urea and lactic acid to name a few. The skin in the palms and soles is much thicker than that over the rest of the body, hence the cream formulations for these areas require different components to help penetrate this thick skin. Do not forget to add such a product to your skincare routine this winter.
6) And take care of your nails!
Use cuticle cream or petroleum jelly to protect your nail cuticles, by applying this frequently around your nails. This is even more important when you do a lot of wet work with your hands (washing up, etc.). When the nail cuticles are damaged, it increases the risk of fungal and bacterial infections in the nail bed, which can ultimately permanently damage or disfigure your nails.
7) Make lip balms your best friends
The lips are in fact the most sensitive parts of our skin and are usually the first to show signs of dryness as soon as winter starts. Additionally, if you use retinoids for antiaging, it’s likely that your lips crack up around the year.
Hence, the use of a high quality, bland lip balm, without fragrance and sensitisers, or an overnight restore lip product, is a must this winter. It should be your favourite pocket companion to avoid chapped lips. If you can find a lip balm with SPF, that’s an added bonus.
So, we hope all these tips will help you take care of your skin this winter, and keep it as healthy and supple as ever!
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- Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash
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Dr Aayushi Shah is a practising dermatologist from India, currently based in the UK. She has 5 publications has authored chapters covering a wide range of topics, including chronic urticaria, psoriasis, and skin moisturisers. She also works as a Medical Editor, and enjoys blogging in her free time.