Do You Really Need To Switch Moisturizers For Winter?

01_Look_001_0836_WFS_V21Photographed by Geordy Pearson.
When it comes to our faces, we don’t rely on just anyone to tell us what our skin needs to get that ever-elusive glow. Instead, we turn to skin-care veteran (and celebrity fave!) Renée Rouleau, who knows it takes more than the right products to get radiant. Each week, she’ll be serving up her expert tips to keep your complexion in tip-top shape.
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With plummeting temperatures, snowstorms, and brisk winds, winter is officially here. Winter can wreak havoc on skin leaving it parched, red, and flaky. The cold, dry winter weather makes it more important than ever to use the correct moisturizer for your skin type. With all the moisturizers on the market, it’s difficult to know which is right for your skin this winter. Ahead, I breakdown what you should be looking for based on your skin type, both for day and night, to ensure you have glowing, radiant skin all winter long. Buh-bye, winter dehydration!
Oily Skin
First things first, those with oily skin must use a moisturizer — no matter what. Oily skin still needs water just not oil. Dehydration can make skin oilier (which leads to breakouts!) by causing skin to produce more oil to compensate. In the winter, look for something lightweight that won’t leave a greasy residue, perhaps one that is oil-free and formulated for oily skin types. For the daytime, look for a moisturizer with sunscreen (yes, you still get damaging rays even in the winter!) and apply it to the face and neck. I recommend a moisturizer with zinc oxide, a broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredient that works well for oily skin.
At night, use a moisturizer that will repair and rejuvenate the skin. Look for products with sodium hyaluronate, hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA, aloe barbadensis gel, and ascorbyl methylsilaonol pectinate (vitamin C), as these will all deliver lightweight hydration to thirsty skin cells. Avoid any moisturizer with SD alcohol 40 or denatured alcohol. Though not very common, these can be found in some oily skin moisturizers, and are very dehydrating. Additionally, mineral oil, petrolatum, isopropyl myristate, and isopropyl palmitate may encourage clogged pores and congestion, so avoid those ingredients as well. Bottom line: Make sure that it doesn't leave a greasy residue and that it does contain a sunscreen for use in the daytime.
Dry Skin
Those with dry skin should look for a moisturizer with barrier repair and lipid-rich oils. The skin has a moisture barrier made of natural lipids that retain moisture in the skin and keep irritants out. When this barrier is damaged (which is common in dry skin types with minimal oil production), it creates tiny, invisible cracks in the skin that allow moisture to escape, causing dry, flaky skin. For daytime use, look for a moisturizing cream with high-performance emollients and broad-spectrum sunscreen. Key ingredients to look for include sunflower seed oil for barrier repair and caprylic/capric triglyceride, an emollient to smooth and soften dry skin. At night, your skin is in repair mode fighting hard to rejuvenate the skin after the day's wear and tear. When choosing a moisturizer for dry skin, choose a formula with one or more of ingredients like borage oil, carrot oil, cranberry oil, ceramides, squalene, shea butter, sunflower oil, and jojoba oil. It's not just about making the skin "feel" moist, but actually repairing the skin so it is truly moist with long-term hydration. The result is a youthful, radiant glow.
Web2Photo: Courtesy of Renee Rouleau.
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Combination Skin
Combination skin types will want to use a moisturizer that is oil-free since the T-zone produces oil. However, ingredients that also hold water-based moisture deep within the skin are important to leave it feeling balanced and comfortable. Combination skin types need a daytime moisturizer that protects from the damaging rays of the sun and gives water-based hydration, but that won't feel heavy or greasy. Look for products with micronized zinc oxide — a broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredient that works especially well for combination skin types due to the thin, sheer feel it can leave on the skin. Look for a nighttime moisturizer with sucrose polysoyate, tocopherol acetate, or panthothenic acid, which brings hydration to keep cells healthy and moist, or glycosaminoglycans, which increases hydration deep within the skin.
Sensitive Skin
The wintertime is especially hard on sensitive skin. Sensitive skin types are prone to having a damaged moisture barrier, which can create tiny, invisible cracks in the skin that allow moisture to escape and irritants to enter more easily. This is why sensitive skin can be itchy, red, and inflamed in the winter. Calming, gentle ingredients and lipid-rich, barrier-repairing oils are beneficial to reduce redness, calm inflammation, and reduce symptoms of sensitivity. Sensitive skin responds favorably to zinc oxide, the gentlest UVA-protecting sunscreen available, so be sure to find a daytime moisturizer with this ingredient. Soothing ingredients such as white or green tea leaf extracts also provide anti-redness benefits. At night, when skin is in repair mode, look for a product with sunflower oil to correct and repair the skin’s lipid moisture barrier, and phospholipids: fatty acids that replenish the skin’s intercellular matrix to keep sensitive skin looking fresh. I also love sea whip extract, which is a soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredient. It’s very important for people with sensitive skin to avoid synthetic fragrances.
This winter moisturizer guide should make it easy to find a product that’s right for you. Just remember that all skin types are not created equal, so be sure to use a moisturizer that is compatible with your skin type. Also, always listen to your skin. Your skin will let you know when a product is the right fit, or not, so if something is making your skin irritated, dry, excessively greasy or tight, this means that you’ll want to seek out another option.
Have any questions? Leave them in the comments, and I'll be happy to respond!
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