Winter Skincare Routines – What do I need to change?

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

Let’s face it, if you live somewhere that experiences cold weather, your skin suffers. As soon as the temperatures start to drop from a moderately cold winters day to be so cold you have to double up on socks, your skin will let you know it needs a little extra love. As the temperatures drop and the air gets drier your skin pays the price – leaving it dull, dry and dehydrated.

So, how are we supposed to care for our skin in the cold dark depths of winter? Simply put, you need a skincare upgrade. A few tweaks to your routine will help to keep your skin protected from the elements and moisturised.
As you continue to battle the elements, here are the best ways to keep your skin glowing no matter your skin type.

If your skin is dry:

Most people’s skin gets drier as the temperatures drop, so those with already dry skin should double down on the hydrating to keep skin looking luminous. On cold days, reach for a cream or oil-based cleanser that is designed to prevent moisture loss as opposed to a foam-based cleanser which can dry out the skin.

Upgrade your moisturizer to one with a richer and thicker consistency, packed with ceramides and ingredients that protect the skin by trapping moisture inside. Along with this look for extra hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid in moisturizers and serums.

If your skin is oily:

Oily skin types benefit from more moisture during harsh weather. Look for a light, oil-free lotion with sunscreen to protect against cold and wind whilst also delivering essential moisture to your skin. Micellar waters are ideal for oily skin to remove anything left from your skin after cleansing and hydrating your skin.

What causes oily skin?

The one thing that should stay the same? Your exfoliating routine. Continue to regularly use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids to help control oil production. Just swap your exfoliating serum for an AHA cleanser, since topical AHAs can be more irritating to skin in cold, dry months. Here’s some skincare ingredients that work well with oily skin.

If your skin is combination:

Foam cleansers work wonders for combination skin in the summer months as it helps to regulate excess oil, however, in the winter, it is worth switching to a cream or oil-based cleanser, which will keep your skin hydrated. Moisturisers should be thicker (however ideally oil-free) with ceramides to prevent the evaporation of water from the skin. While different types of cleansers and moisturizers may benefit this group in cold weather, antioxidant and retinoid use should remain steady, no matter the season; they help counter pollution’s effects on the skin and trigger the skin to produce more collagen, respectively.


If your skin is sensitive:

No matter what time of year, those with sensitive skin can benefit by steering clear of foam cleansers (which can dry the skin) and harsh abrasive exfoliators (which can trigger irritation). Also on the ditch list? Skin-care products with alcohols, sulphates or fragrance, since they can not only irritate but dry out skin, too. Choose cream cleansing milk which will gently cleanse the skin whilst not drying it out.

During the winter months, as skin is more likely to irritate, it may be necessary for those with sensitive skin to reduce the frequency of evening retinol use to every other day, or trying non-irritating alternatives, like peptides. Finally, use ceramide moisturizers twice per day to restore the skin barrier during the cold weather season.

If you suffer from acne:

Those of us with spot prone skin have always been told the virtues of exfoliation to reduce blackheads and future breakouts. However, during the wintertime, it’s best to steer clear of the intense exfoliators and switch to a salicylic acid cleanser instead. Don’t neglect moisturiser, as your skin may already be dry from acne treatments it’s crucial to add moisture back into your skin. Reach for gel-based intense moisturisers that are oil-free and full of hyaluronic acid. Use this twice a day religiously along with an SPF.

 If your skin is hyperpigmented:

Like with other skin types, those with hyperpigmentation will likely need to boost hydration in the wintertime by choosing a gentler cleanser and more robust moisturizer. But, when it comes to treating the hyperpigmented patches themselves, the regimen doesn’t change with the season.

Vitamin C (which is sometimes listed on skincare products as L-ascorbic acid) is king, so look for gentle cleansers, masks, and serums that feature the ingredient. (It has been shown to break down discolouration by interfering with pigmentation pathways that occur in the skin.) Finally, invest in a daily SPF lotion that leaves your skin soft and protected.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.