How to Change Your Skin Routine for Winter
by Freya Drohan
Growing up in Ireland, our mothers and grandmothers would often declare, “Ah, sure ‘tis great drying weather out there.” This was seen to be a good thing – the crisp, chilly temperatures were optimal for airing out freshly washed clothes and bed linens. However, living on the East Coast of America, I’ve come to fear “drying weather” as a different beast altogether.
While the cooler season brings with it many delights – lookin’ @ u, faux fur coats and spiked hot cider – the shift can also wreak havoc on our skin. Skin tends to be driest in the winter as temperatures plummet, and the reliance on central heating, roaring fireplaces, and hot, steamy showers can further reduce humidity in your skin as natural oils dry up.
The same grandmother who preached the importance of drying weather when I was a kid had no shortage of golden nuggets of advice up her sleeve. You know, sensible stuff like rubbing a gold wedding ring on sore eyes to calm them and using flat soda as a drinkable cure-all for any illness. One of her other pearls of wisdom was that I should never stay in the bath long enough to turn into a “wrinkly prune.”
While some of her questionable tips I still adhere to, I turned to Dr. Loretta Ciraldo MD FAAD, a Miami-based dermatologist and co-founder of Dr. Loretta skincare, to get a pro’s advice on how to handle winter skin woes from AM to PM.
When it comes to luxurious winter baths, Dr. Loretta says to avoid the urge to soak in scalding water, even if it’s cold AF outside. “Only bathe in tepid water. Warm and hot water dries you out much more.” Once clean, she recommends patting instead of rubbing yourself dry with a towel to avoid irritation and applying a moisturizing product while your skin surface still feels damp. You know that phrase “trap in the moisture?” This is how it’s done, folks.
“For your face, be sure to use a sulfate-free cleanser, and preferably one with hydrating essential oils and peptides,” she continues. “Then apply a water-trapping serum with a lipid-rich base to lock in moisture for at least six hours after a single application.”
Irritants and drying agents are also a no-no, according to Dr. Loretta. Instead, she recommends singling out “formulas that use hydrating essential oils, marine ingredients that have proven hydration boosting benefits, and bioidentical skin lipids which are the main moisture-trapping element in skin”.
Just like après soak, moisturizing is an essential part of your routine before you catch some Zzzs. According to Katie Sobelman, also known by her online alias The Organic Esthetician, skin is more permeable while we sleep, particularly around midnight.
“Your skin is also more dehydrated during the night due to elevated body temperature and moisture loss through perspiration,” she notes. “Using a richer moisturizer in the evenings ensures your skin is reaping all the benefits of this added moisture.”
Not all moisturizers are created equally, though, so she offered some tips on what ingredients to look for. First up, hyaluronic acid.
“Hyaluronic acid is great for skin that is dehydrated from heaters and cold, dry climates. This humectant holds up to one thousand times its weight in water; pulling moisture from your environment and locking it into your skin,” she says. “Look for low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, also known as hydrolyzed hyaluronate, as this offers a deeper, longer lasting hydration.”
Milk Makeup’s new glow-boosting Watermelon Brightening Face Mask, a solid-clay mask in a stick, contains this *wunderkind* ingredient, alongside watermelon fruit extract, Vitamins C and E, and Matrixyl, a biomimetic peptide, to help simultaneously hydrate and smooth while evening skin tone.
Sobelman also preaches the importance of regular, gentle exfoliation. This is something we should be doing “at least” twice a week.
“Dead skin tends to accumulate in the dryer, colder months – sloughing off dead skin allows for products to penetrate deeper and be more effective,” she says. “For those with more sensitive skin, opt for an acid rather than a scrub. The physical abrasion of a scrub, even a gentle one, can cause irritation and lead to broken capillaries.”
She recommends looking for products containing lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid which penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and increase hydration. “It’s fantastic for dissolving dead surface skin while also leaving it plump and dewy,” she adds.
When it comes to ~ scrubbing up your act ~ Milk Makeup’s new Matcha Detoxifying Face Mask should whet your appetite for a wellness moment without facing the ten-minute wait for a matcha latte.
In half that time, this mask delivers a fReSh complexion thanks to matcha green tea, organic cactus elixir, witch hazel, salicylic acid, and kombucha — because, hey, we did say it’s much a ‘moment’ as it is a mask.
Finish off with a slick of Milk Makeup’s new Kush Lip Balm, infused with conditioning, hemp-derived cannabis oil. This soothing and softening daily hydrating balm contains shea butter as well as jojoba and olive oils. In short, you can kiss your winter skincare woes goodbye.