WRITTEN BY KIMBERLY MA AND DR. SWATHI
As chilly winter days approach, we have to prepare for a lot more than adjusting our sleep schedules. It’s time to swap our iced beverages for hot ones, to pull out our favorite sweaters and scarves, and to implement a couple important changes in our skincare routines. With the impending cold ready to wreak havoc on our skin, here’s a few tips on how to winter-proof your regimen ahead of time so you can maintain that radiant glow year-round.
Less is More
While the transition of warm into cold weather most definitely calls for a few tweaks in your skincare regimen, too much change is not necessarily more beneficial. Keeping some of your products the same throughout the year will not only ensure balance by preventing the overuse of specific ingredients, but also provides the consistency that promotes calm and happy skin. Afterall, due to the life cycle of skin cells, products may need to be used for at least 4 weeks before any noticeable benefits appear. So, changing too many products too often may not provide you with the results you are looking for. That being said, what kinds of products can take on the elements, whether it be the blistering sun or the blustering winds?
Benching all the players in your summer skincare team is not necessary when winter rolls around. Although the decreasing temperature is a big contributing factor, seasonal lifestyle changes like taking warmer showers or blasting the heat can also contribute to dryness and irritation. Therefore, having a couple of quality products that are consistent in your year-round routine helps to decrease the amount of changes for your skin. Here’s an example of a year-round product that will keep your skin calm, hydrated, and glowing regardless of temperature or humidity:
An all-around face serum, like the Belle Visage Face Serum can be used for all ages, all skin types, and all times of the year to promote youthful elasticity, hydration, and detoxification, as well as alleviating swelling, irritation, redness, and symptoms of breakouts. Recent studies have indicated how the cannabinoids (like CBD and CBG) help to maintain skin regulation including balance and barrier function. Dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been implicated in several skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis, hyper/hypopigmentation, acne, and itching. In general, there is growing evidence for the broad spectrum (pun intended!) of benefits of incorporating CBD into skin care. Overall, this serum has a hydrating feel that is still light weight and will not leave an oily residue, making it the perfect balance for both warmer and colder months.
- Lip care, whether it be a moisturizing balm or an overnight mask, should be a staple in everyone’s skincare lineup. Chapped or cracked lips can increase your risk of developing splits or triggering cold sores. For nighttime lip care, opt for products that are made from natural ingredients and avoid the use of fragrances or pigments. For the daytime, products that have SPF will help protect against the UV rays that shine all year.
Eye creams or moisturizing eye care are often overlooked. However, the skin around the eyes is the most delicate, most prone to dryness, and the quickest to show signs of fatigue; all of which are potentiated in the winter months. A hydrating product can help to protect this area of thin skin. Keeping this area moisturized can also help to reduce fine lines, dark circles, and sensitivity.
- Sunscreens are also essentials to your year-round skin care regimen no matter your age, skin tone, or skin type. While the heat from the summer sun serves as a constant reminder to reapply sunscreen, the cold winter air can lead us to forget to apply any in the first place. However, long-term and consistent use of sunscreen has been shown to reduce UV-induced skin cell damage, more commonly known as photoaging. For the summer, many prefer products with a matte finish or a lightweight formula that is waterproof and sweatproof. For the winter, you may want to opt for something more hydrating but retains a lightweight breathable feel.
Products to Change Out
In addition to having a few staple products throughout the season, there will be a couple of products that inevitably need to be swapped out for a couple of months.
Moisturizers may need to be swapped out from something light and weightless to something more creamy and heavy.
Cleansers that are hydrating should take the place of summer foam cleansers. While summer products may help to remove excess oil from the skin, these summer benefits may cause irritation due to winter sensitivity.
Exfoliants can be tricky in the winter time. While you may be tempted to use more harsh exfoliants during colder months since your skin may be more prone to dryness and flaking, gentle exfoliants may be more effective. Consider trying out a chemical exfoliant as opposed to a physical exfoliant this year.
As always, it’s important to note that everyone’s skin is different. You can always consult your dermatologist to help you build a regimen and find products that are the best fit for your skin’s unique needs.
Products to Avoid–Always
Artificial Fragrances are usually recommended to be used sparingly on the skin throughout the year. However, they should be used with extra caution in the winter since the skin is already more prone to irritation and sensitivity. If you enjoy products that leave you smelling nice, try looking for products that have natural fragrance ingredients like natural essential oils.
Alcohols in your skincare products should be omitted in your winter skincare routine. Products like facial toners may contain alcohol which can further facilitate dryness and irritation.
Other Tips for Healthy Skin in the Winter
Disclaimer! It’s not just about the products we put on our skin. In addition to actual skincare products, there are a few things you can incorporate into your daily/weekly routine to help support healthy skin.
Humidifiers aren’t just beneficial when you are feeling under the weather. Running a humidifier for a couple of hours or overnight can help restore the moisture in the air. As the temperature drops, the dry air can pull moisture from your skin and hair. Another way to restore moisture for your skin could be using a facial steamer–never heard of one before? You’re not the only one. It’s a recent trend that is supported by research showing that it can promote restorative moisture and prevent future dehydration.
Moisturizing face masks can be a great way to treat yourself at home during the winter months.
Eating more healthy fats can help fuel your body with the nutrients to preserve its moisture barriers. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts), have been shown to improve skin hydration.
Overall, there are many products and lifestyle tips that you can implement to promote healthy skin this winter season. One of the biggest challenges to achieving healthy skin year-round is adherence to a regimen, so it’s all up to you!
- Julian A, Thorburn S, Geldhof GJ. Health Beliefs About UV and Skin Cancer Risk Behaviors. Cancer Control. 2020;27(4). doi:10.1177/1073274819894008
- Baswan SM, Klosner AE, Glynn K, et al. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020;13:927-942. Published 2020 Dec 8. doi:10.2147/CCID.S286411
- Lin YL, Wang CL, Liu KL, Yeh CN, Chiang TI. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Chronic Kidney Disease-Associated Pruritus and Inflammation. Medicina (Kaunas). 2022;58(6):796. Published 2022 Jun 13. doi:10.3390/medicina58060796
- Sharmeen JB, Mahomoodally FM, Zengin G, Maggi F. Essential Oils as Natural Sources of Fragrance Compounds for Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals. Molecules. 2021;26(3):666. Published 2021 Jan 27. doi:10.3390/molecules26030666
- Olsen, Chloe. Winter Warning: Avoid Harmful Chemicals When Battling Dry Skin. Environmental Working Group. https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/2021/12/winter-warning-avoid-harmful-chemicals-when-battling-dry-skin
This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Kimberly Ma. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) candidate at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy in Storrs, Connecticut.