Winter can wreak havoc on your skin. Dry winter weather, brutal temperatures, the dryness of indoor heating, can all leave your skin with a greater need for some comfort and protection. Maybe your regular moisturizer isn’t the best winter moisturizer for your skin. Perhaps you could use a bit extra for the winter and some tips to get the best from your moisturizer so your face can be glowing, polished, and moisturized, even in the wintertime.
Why isn’t My Moisturizer Working in the Winter?
It may feel as though suddenly your moisturizer isn’t helping anymore. It’s not that the product quit working but the environment is changing your skin. Of course for your skin care you want the best. Winter moisturizer and summer moisturizer are typically all the same products, you are just being more selective about which one works better for your skin in the wintertime. Using the wrong one for the winter season will leave your skin feeling dry and tight or even itchy, or looking dull, flaky, and tired.
Dry winter air and cold temperatures work like a sponge. They pull the moisture from your skin leaving behind dry, tight, even chapped skin. Wind can make this even worse. Sometimes people stop using their sunscreen in the winter and this, too, can make the skin feel dryer while exposing it to the sun even in smaller increments can be tough on your skin.
Free radicals have more effect on your skin when it is shifted out of homeostasis and becomes unbalanced. These free radicals from the sun and the environment will cause your skin to age quicker, and to suffer damage that your skin has to work harder to repair.
In short, your moisturizer is working, but you may need a different moisturizer for your face in the winter months, especially if you live in a particularly harsh climate or spend any time outdoors. Note that the heater in your home is now running more and circulating dry heat throughout your home, which can also sap the moisture from your skin.
Tips for Getting More Out of Your Winter Moisturizer
You can buy a really good moisturizer for dry skin and still feel like it is not doing enough in the winter. It is not simply a matter of finding a moisturizer for dry skin; it is a matter of finding a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type while also addressing the needs of winter skin. Many people just run out and buy a moisturizer for drier skin than they have and think this will fix the problem. It’s not really that simple.
- Use the best moisturizer for your skin.
- Apply winter moisturizers morning and night, but also after showering or bathing.
- Exfoliate your skin so the moisturizer ingredients penetrate your skin better.
- Protect your skin when you go out into the winter weather with a scarf.
- Use sunscreen, even in the winter.
Check your ingredients
Moisturizers contain lots of wonderful botanicals, humectants, and chemical ingredients that work together to both hydrate your skin and add a layer of protection to keep your skin shielded from free radicals and pollutants. Some also contain sunscreen for an added layer of protection. Some ingredients are more helpful in the wintertime and you may want to check that the moisturizer you’ll be using in the winter has nourishing ingredients.
Your winter face moisturizer: Here’s what to look for:
- Antioxidants—Make sure your winter moisturizer is rich with antioxidants to help fight off harmful particles in the environment and keep your skin protected against environmental aging.
- Hyaluronic acid—YES you can still use your Hyaluronic acid in the winter though some information you will see out there says otherwise. The reason for the confusion is that Hyaluronic acid draws from the moisture in the air, binds it to collagen and therefore plumps the skin. Without moisture in the air it can draw moisture from the deeper layers of the skin to the surface, making skin feel drier. Use it with plenty of moisture and you should not have a problem. Drink plenty of water!
- Emollients such as argan oil and other plant oils are rich in oleic acid and can help to soothe winter skin.
- Humectants which work by moisturizing the skin but also by drawing moisture to your skin. Glycerin, Aloe Vera, Honey, Hydrolyzed wheat and rice are examples.
- Occlusives like lecithin and Cocoa butter which create a natural barrier for the skin. Stay away from petroleum-based products as they prevent the skin from performing some of the natural functions and, though cheap, are environmentally destructive to produce.
- Consider a moisturizer that contains CBD oil, which has great soothing properties and can help your dull winter skin to be more vibrant.
It is even more important to exfoliate in the winter months. Skin cells, especially when they are dehydrated, will slow a process called cell turnover. This is the process where new skin cells are developed in the deeper layers of the skin and are pressed toward the surface of the skin (the epidermis) and reveal newer, healthier skin.
When your skin is dry this process can slow down, creating a surface layer of dry, dead skin cells. Once sloughed off, this process is sped up and the skin looks much more clear, brighter, and more refreshed. It even keeps your pores more cleaned out and this means less breakouts and reduced appearance of large pores and fine lines. Your winter moisturizer will penetrate the skin much better when the skin is exfoliated, allowing the important winter moisturizing ingredients to work better for your skin. You can exfoliate once or twice a week with a gentle facial exfoliator.
Use a Serum that Has Peptides
Adding a serum to your routine can help to get the extra winter repairative care your skin needs. Consider one with peptides, which help to protect the skin, stimulate collagen, and soothe skin irritation. Peptides are proteins normally produced in the skin but may slow down as we age. Look for ingredients in your moisturizer that end in “peptide” or “palmitoyl.”
For the Best Winter Moisturizer--What Should I Use?
There are so many skin care moisturizers out there it may be hard to narrow down which ones are the best for your winter face. First off, your skin type is important. You want to evaluate your skin type with a clean face (no products) for a day or two and see what it feels like most of the time. Skin type can vary with the seasons and change as you age. Some people have dry skin in the winter and more normal skin other times of the year. But you need to know in order to choose the best moisturizer for your face in the winter.
Best Winter Moisturizer by Skin Type
Dry Winter Skin
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
- Neutrogena Hydro Boost
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Balm
- SkinBetter Science Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment
Oily Skin and Acne-Prone Skin Types
- Renee Rouleau Weightless Protection SPF 30
- Cetaphil Dermacontrol Facial Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin with Sunscreen SPF 30
- Eminence Organic Skin Care Thermal Spring Whip Moisturizer
- Farmacy Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya
- Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer
Sensitive Winter Skin
- Ghost Democracy Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer
- Cetaphil Redness Relief Facial SPF 20
- Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
Aging or Mature Skin
- Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
- Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream
- Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Whipped Cream
Younger and Normal Winter Skin
- Derma E Hydrating Day Cream
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer
- Elemis Superfood Facial Oil
This Winter for your skin…