Whether or not you have a solid skincare routine in place, if your climate goes through a less-than-pleasant makeover in the winter months, you could be missing out on an important skincare adjustment. Tweaking your routine for the cold, dry, or altogether nasty weather is a step you may be neglecting, but one that can assure your skin doesn’t lose all of the progress you’ve made by taking diligent care of it in the warmer months. I asked Elle Feldman, Missouri-based licensed esthetician and co-owner of Good Skin Day Spa, to share her tried-and-true winter skin hacks, and they’re the perfect tricks to relieve your struggling seasonal skin.
What to Do
Check your products: Make sure you are using an oil-based cleanser and balm when the cold begins. Oil cuts the skin’s natural oils and is better able to penetrate the skin, even more important when the skin may be dry and cracked. In essence, these products “create a juicy protective barrier to keep moisture in while blocking the harsh chaffy, drying effects of winter,” says Feldman.
Block the Rays
Some people ditch their SPF moisturizer in the winter, thinking less visible sunlight means less need for it. This is far from the case. Even an hour or less outside shoveling, walking, or at an event means potential sun damage to your skin, even if it’s not a classically sunny day.
You Are What You Eat
Another easy adjustment, says Feldman, is adding extra oil- and Omega-rich foods to your diet. These include cold water fish, avocados, nuts, and flax seed, among others. The beneficial oils in these foods eventually make their way to improve your skin health.
What Not to Do
Whenever possible, avoid washing your face more than once a day. Yes, it’s good to remove dirt, makeup, and other debris from your face, but over-washing strips the skin’s natural lipid barrier. Wash your face at night, but avoid doing so in the morning, as this will reduce the skin’s innate ability to hydrate and protect itself. In the morning, opt to splash your face gently with tepid, not hot, water.
If colder days find you with chapped, dry, or red skin, cut back on scrubs, physical exfoliants, face brushes, and any harsh cleansing cloths. You may even want to stop using products with acids, as these can also remove top layers of the skin, leaving it more susceptible to damage from the elements.
Winter Skin-Saving Products
These are Feldman’s top picks for quick-fix and long-term winter skin salvation.:
- Alchimie Forever’s Protective Day Cream has SPF 23 and features signature ingredients like European blueberry, vitamins C and E, and edelweiss, all working together to prevent free-radical damage caused by winter weather.
- Good Skin Day’s Dewy Rose Face Spritz incorporates premium Moroccan Rosewater, which is “anti-inflammatory, reduces redness, and balances the skin’s pH, while the glycerin helps attract water to the skin throughout the day.”
- One Love Organic’s Skin Savior is a multi-tasking balm packed with nourishing and hydrating ingredients that gently seal the skin, locking in moisture and keeping out damaging cold. It’s the perfect fast fix for winter chafing, chapping, and redness, especially after (or during!) extended time outside.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.