’tis the season for dry, flaky, irritated skin. as temperatures drop and heating systems kick in, most of us find ourselves in serious need of hydration *spoiler alert: layering on an extra heavy moisturizer is not going to do the trick*

cold weather is not your friend. as seasons change, certain adjuments need to be made in order for your skin to adapt. the reason you experience dryness during winter months is due to a lack of moisture in the air. as temperatures drop, so do humidity levels, which causes the air to become dry. even turning on your heating system robs the air of moisture, so it’s critical you’re going the extra mile to protect your skin from becoming dehydrated

while every skin type is different, these are our go-to winter skincare recommendations…

USE A HYDRATING SERUM

when it comes to adding hydration/water back to the skin, hyaluronic acid is the gold standard. it’s a powerful moisture-binding acid that can hold 1,000x its weight in water to restore and replenish the skin. it’s naturally found in the human body but dramatically depletes with age, causing your skin to thin and look dull. you should implement this serum into your routine during all seasons, but especially so during winter months
*apply as the last serum before your moisturizer*

USE AN OIL-BASED MOISTURIZER

regular moisturizing reduces the risk of water loss by adding an extra layer of protection to what’s known as your lipid barrier (the outermost part of your skin). your lipid barrier is responsible for maintaining hydration and preventing external irritants from penetrating the skin. aging, over-exfoliating and using harsh products depletes and removes lipids, which leads to a damaged barrier AKA water loss. oil-based products create a protective film over the surface of your skin to help boost your natural barrier function. remember, because oil and water don’t mix, water can’t get through a layer of oil, which is why it should be applied last in order to seal in hydration

CONSIDER SWITCHING YOUR CLEANSER

if you’re currently using a gel-based face wash, it may no longer suit you during winter months. instead, opt for a gentle, creamy cleanser. that squeaky clean feeling after you wash your face is actually a sign of your skin crying for help, because it’s been stripped of its natural oils. when you strip your skin of its protective oils, you’re disrupting your barrier function, making the problem worse

*hot tips*

exfoliate less: because your skin is extra vulnerable in the winter, you don’t want to further strip its protective barrier when you need it the most. this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exfoliate, just turn it down a notch to avoid irritation

avoid hot water: always stick to lukewarm water when washing. hot water is very harsh on your skin and will strip it of its natural oils

use a humidifier: to combat indoor heating systems of robbing the air of moisture

apply products to damp skin: your skin is in its most vulnerable state post-cleansing and will start to dehydrate within 60 seconds, so don’t wait for it to dry. by applying products to damp skin, you’re ensuring maximum hydration by locking in the moisture on the surface

use a hydrating sheet mask 1-3x/wk (depending on skin type)