Whether you’re facing the real feel of 12º in New York City or the below-freezing temps across the midwest, winter is surely in full swing across the nation. With the colder weather making its way into our day-to-day, our skin is definitely feelings its effects.
“As we all know, our skin can easily feel extra dry, itchy, or even irritated in the winter due to cold temps, frigid winds and over exposure to dry air and indoor heating,” explains Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD. “If you experience extra dry skin or irritation with your normal regimen during winter months, you may need to push pause on a few ingredients. Alcohols, AHAs and BHAs can all feel extra-drying or even irritating during cold months, so you may find it best to use them sporadically or eliminate them entirely if needed.”
While we associate the winter weather with dry, dull and irritated skin, and have long accepted that as commonplace, it doesn’t have to be the case. Believe it or not, simple skin-care swaps can make a huge difference in the look and feel of our skin throughout the colder months. If you’re looking to makeover your skin-care routine to combat the dropping temps, here are some skin-care swaps our expert derms are making this winter.
Switching to a Thicker Moisturizer
“During the winter months, I swap out my Senté Dermal Repair Creme ($113) for the Senté Dermal Repair Ultra Nourish ($179), which is a thicker version of the moisturizing cream with the same wonderful heparin sulfate analog in it,” says Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD. “It helps with evening out my skin tone and decreasing overall redness, while providing that extra boost of hydration you need in the colder months.”
“In terms of body moisturizer, I switch out thinner lotions like Eucerin and Lubriderm for the Aveeno creams and balms in the jar, because those are thicker and more moisturizing during the winter months,” adds Dr. Downie. Dr. Schlessinger, opts for LovelySkin LUXE Ultra-Rich Peptide Cream ($95) because “it deeply nourishes dry skin and addresses inflammation with argan and grapeseed oils,” and also includes “afaLUXE, a dermatologist-developed molecule, which provides exfoliation while also restoring the skin’s natural moisture balance.”
Leaving Behind Scented Products
“While I do love perfumes and scents, I swap out my scented body wash for the unscented Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash ($13) in the winter because I have eczema and I do not want my eczema to flare or me to start itching,” says Dr. Downie. Dr. Schlessinger adds that, in addition to unscented body products, “if your skin becomes very irritated, switching to a fragrance-free laundry detergent could help.”
Upping the Ante On Neck Care
While neck care is always a priority, Dr. Downie adds extra precautions in the winter months for added hydration and protection. “I use the Alastin Body Cream ($205) in the summer and I will add the ZO Skin Growth Factor Serum ($168) on top of that in the winter months as it is thicker and richer, and the skin on your neck is much more dry during the winter months, so that is less of a ‘swap out’ and more of an ‘add to.'”
Sticking With Sunscreen
“While you may be tempted to skip steps in our regimen during winter, specifically sunscreen, you shouldn’t,” begins Dr. Schlessinger. “While the sun may not be as strong in the winter, it’s important to remember that sun damage is cumulative and happens all year long. Switching out your summer sunscreen for a more hydrating version in the winter can be helpful, though. I recommend Revision Skincare Intellishade Clear SPF 50 ($84) because it combines hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid with anti-aging peptides, antioxidants with sunscreen actives for complete environmental protection.”
Exfoliate Without Over-Drying
“Gentle exfoliation is important no matter the season, but it can be especially helpful during the winter because it can help get rid of flakiness,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Just be sure to moisturize immediately after. Switching to an alcohol-free exfoliating treatment like SkinMedica Even & Correct Brightening Treatment Pads ($60) is a great way to keep exfoliation in your winter regimen without over-drying skin.”