Winter Is Coming: Time To Switch Up Your Skin Care

As a wise, strapping warrior once warned: "Winter is coming." While you may not have White Walkers to fear while braving the elements, harsh cold can wreak havoc on your complexion. "As winter temperatures fall and the air gets drier, your skin pays the price," says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. In frigid conditions, he explains, the skin is less able to protect itself. "This can lead to cracks in the outer layer of skin, loss of hydration, and ultimately, inflammation," he says.

Many of us can benefit from a skin-care upgrade to combat the blustery months ahead. To counter the drying effect, Zeichner and Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, suggest using thicker moisturizers equipped to help protect the skin's barrier. Another skin saver? Kinder, gentler cleansers that hydrate (rather than harsh exfoliating or foam formulations), since skin irritation can increase along with dryness in winter months.

Finally, an effort to hyper-hydrate and soothe the skin should never come at the cost of ditching daily sun protection. Sure, you may not see as much of the sun during the next few months, but UVA rays — the aging and cancer-causing rays that penetrate through windows and clouds, and into the deepest layer of skin — are still kicking, all day, every day.

As you gear up to do battle with the elements, holiday shoppers, and other forms of winter warfare, here’s how to keep your skin glowing — even in the shortest and darkest of days.

Skin Type: Dry
Most people’s skin gets drier when temperatures drop. So, those with already dry skin should double down on the hydrating to keep skin looking luminous. Come winter, Dr. MacGregor advises those with dry skin to use a cream or oil-based cleanser that is designed to prevent moisture loss.

She also suggests upgrading your moisturizer to one with "nourishing ceramides and ingredients that protect the skin — like petrolatum and dimethicone — by trapping moisture inside."

In addition to looking for products with these skin-protecting ingredients, Dr. Zeichner also recommends that those with naturally dry skin look for "extra hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid" in moisturizers and serums.
This cream-to-foam cleanser has a rich texture that works to reveal your most supple skin yet.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser, $26, available at Sephora.
Boost your skin's strength and brightness with the addition of this hydrating, argan oil formula that can go right on before your rich moisturizer.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment, $56, available at Sephora.
It's nearly impossible for your skin to appear tired, dull, or dry with this hydrating cream that promotes a healthier complexion and radiant glow.

Renee Rouleau Glow Enhancing Cream, $69.50, available at Renee Rouleau.
Whether it's your radiator's unbearable heat or the rough winter winds outside, this eye cream will protect and treat every inch of the delicate area.

Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream with Echinacea GreenEnvy, $38, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Oily
The upshot of having oily skin? You can often skip moisturizer altogether in the summer and use light serums to hydrate and nourish instead. But, according to Dr. MacGregor, oily types can benefit from more moisture come winter. "Look for a light, oil-free lotion with sunscreen to protect against cold and wind in winter months," she says.

While some may gravitate toward trying milky cleansers when instructed to use more moisturizing products, Dr. MacGregor advises that those with oily skin continue to regularly use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and retinoids to help control oil production.

Finally, Dr. Zeichner suggests that those who naturally produce more sebum should turn to serums instead of creams for retinoid use, since they're lighter on the skin, and work AHAs into a winter regimen with rinse-away cleansers, since topical AHAs can be more irritating to skin in cold, dry months.
If you have oily skin, you might have had a major Regina George moment staring at your pores in the mirror. Ease your worries with this lightweight, noncomedogenic formula that can make those clogged pores refreshed and cleaner thanks to regular use of glycolic and lactic acid for prime purification.

Dermadoctor Picture Perfect, $42, available at Sephora.
Sebum and dirt can make your overall complexion greasy and your pores appear large and in charge. Instead of hanging your head over a hot pot of boiling water, it's time to decongest with this blended clay mask perfect for oily and acne-prone skin.

Fig+Yarrow Clay Mask in Black, $24, available at Fig+Yarrow.
Your skin may be oily, but it still needs a healthy dose of hydration. PSA: If you're using AHAs or a consistent retinol treatment, covering up with a strong SPF is super important to protect your sensitive skin.

Eve Lom Daily Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen, $90, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Combination
Those with both dry and oily skin know that foam cleansers can do wonders to regulate excess oil in summer months. But, now is the time for those with combination skin to switch to a cream or oil-based cleanser. "Skin is drier this time of year, so you need to be careful about potentially drying cleansers, like foam formulations," Dr. Zeichner says. Dr. MacGregor also suggests swapping your moisturizer for a more protective hydrator if your skin is looking dry or feeling tight. "Try using thicker (but oil-free) moisturizers with ceramides," she suggests. Ceramides improve moisture retention in the skin by helping to prevent evaporation of water and acting as emulsifiers (ingredients that allow oils and water to combine). While different types of cleansers and moisturizers may benefit this group in cold weather, antioxidant and retinoid use should remain steady, no matter what the season; they help counter pollution’s effects on the skin and trigger the skin to produce more collagen, respectively.
Finding a cleanser to break up and dissolve any dirt and makeup residing on your face is major for a nighttime routine. Additionally, it brightens the skin first thing in the morning and leaves you face feeling radiant and clean.

Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil, $30, available at Sephora.
Combination skin can benefit from a nourishing night oil that also protects and treats any problem. This blue bottle of magic is filled with a gentle retinol that enhances your skin's elasticity and fights mild acne. Don't be afraid when you hear the word "oil" either. This is rich and soothing, but also maintains an even skin complexion — never promoting added oil in your T-zone.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $105, available at Sephora.
A lot of lotions and creams can be hydrating, but when it feels as though the moisture is just sitting on top of your face, you might feel cheated. This one loaded with hyaluronic acid locks in moisture without any added oil in the formulation. Start of your day or go to bed at night with a softer texture.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion, $58, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Acneic
Those with blemish-prone skin have long known the virtues of exfoliation — after all, sloughing off dead skin cells can reduce future blackheads and breakouts. However, during this time of year, it's best to ditch the more robust exfoliators. "Come winter, acneic skin may require gentler exfoliation," says Dr. MacGregor. Now is also a good time to ease up on the targeted zit treatments. "Limit irritating acne prescriptions to three times weekly unless directed otherwise by your doctor," she says. "Instead, use more gentle exfoliation on your 'off days' by pairing your salicylic acid cleanser with a cleansing brush that has a gentle brush head."

Meanwhile, Dr. Zeichner points out that many in this group are often reluctant to moisturize because they fear that oil and water will further congest the skin. Au contraire. Grab an oil-free moisturizer and fear not. "Oil and water in the skin are separate issues," he explains. "You can be oily and acne prone, but still lack hydration." What’s more, Zeichner says, acne creams and treatments can cause more irritation in the winter when skin is lacking in hydration, which makes an even stronger case for daily moisturizing. Pick a lotion that’s gentle but also packs major hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
If you've got acne bacteria multiplying on your face, this cleansing gel will rinse it away with LHA, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid that will leave your complexion brighter than your LuMee case.

Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel→ Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, $40, available at Sephora.
A cashmere brush head sounds luxurious — and it feels that way, too. Instead of using your hands, opt for a dual-layer cleansing brush that not only cleanses, but massages your skin without irritation.

Clarisonic Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head, $30, available at Clarisonic.
This gel cream formulation packs on the hydration — where necessary — but will also calm and soothe any irritated, reddened, or oily zones.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, $39, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Dull
Sure, wind-chilled cheeks can radiate a rosy flush, but the accompanying cracking and drying elsewhere is enough to override that romantic aesthetic. Thankfully, Dr. MacGregor has a secret weapon for breathing life into dull skin: "My favorite trick for instantly brightening dull skin is to cleanse for one minute with a sensitive cleansing brush and glycolic cleanser," she says. "Immediately after, slather on moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. This smooths, plumps, and protects the skin."
Dr. MacGregor and Dr. Zeichner both recommend the use of retinoids help brighten up dull skin. "This will stimulate collagen and get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin," Dr. Zeichner says.
Dull skin needs to be buffed and polished so any patches of dead skin can be lifted away, leaving behind a glowing finish.

Clarisonic Delicate Brush Head, $27, available at Clarisonic.
This mousse cleanser works as a mild exfoliator to target uneven skin tones and hyperpigmentation, but don't overdo: two to three times a week is recommended.

Ren Micro Polish Cleanser, $30, available at Sephora.
All that scrubbing could cause irritation or added dryness, so soothe any areas of inflammation with this calming cream. Simultaneously, its deeply nourishing benefits include intense levels of hydration and restorative ingredients (sodium potassium, calcium, and magnesium) for tired skin.

Dr. Jart Cicarepair Tiger Grass Cream, $48, available at Sephora.
This best-seller is perfect for evening out skin tone. Once your pores are cleaned, this will maintain that radiant, clear complexion.

Philosophy Help Me, $49, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Aging
There are a lot of theories when it comes to what works in anti-aging skin care. But, the research shows that stimulating collagen growth is a great way to go, since it helps aging skin cells behave more like young, healthy cells. How can we trick cells into acting young? By using serums and creams pumped with retinoids and antioxidants. Along with peptides, these ingredients "send messages to your skin cells that cause them to rev up collagen production, ultimately helping the skin to maintain its elasticity," says Dr. MacGregor. Easy, right? But, here’s the wintertime rub: "In order to continue to use retinoids and antioxidants in winter, barrier repair with ceramide moisturizer is essential," she stresses.
This hypoallergenic cleanser is formulated with complexes that promote vibrancy and remove dead skin cells so you'll be able to maintain that youthful glow.

Restorsea Reviving Cleanser, $65, available at Restorsea.
This anti-aging serum targets wrinkles, fine lines, and dull skin to improve its overall luminosity.

Vapour Organic Beauty Visionary Advanced Solution Serum, $125, available Vapour Organic Beauty.
Looking for more organic options as your skin matures? Good, there's something for that. Skin will be plumped within a week of consistent use.

NYR Organic Frankincense Intense Concentrate, $105, available at NYR Organic.
If you're using powerful ingredients on your skin, you're making it more susceptible to sun damage — and encouraging dark sports to stick around — so swap in a strong SPF sunscreen that not only provides protection, but major hydration.

SkinMedica TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer SPF 20 Sunscreen, $92, available at SkinMedica.
Skin Type: Sensitive
No matter what time of year, those with sensitive skin can benefit by steering clear of foam cleansers (which can dry the skin) and harsh abrasive exfoliators (which can trigger irritation). Also on the ditch list? Skin-care products with alcohols, sulfates or fragrance, since they can not only irritate but dry out skin, too. Dr. MacGregor says that during the winter months, as skin is more likely to irritate, it may be necessary for those with sensitive skin to reduce the frequency of evening retinol use. Dr. Zeichner suggests reducing retinoid use to every other day, or trying non-irritating alternatives, like peptides. Finally, Dr. MacGregor advises that this group, “use ceramide moisturizers twice per day to restore the skin barrier,” during cold weather season.
Sensitive skin can't be neglected, so don't start minimizing your routine because you're afraid of what might happen. Switch to a cleanser formulated with soothing and calming rose ingredients instead. This balm cleanser is especially beneficial because it still removes makeup, refreshes skin, and protects.

By Terry Cellularose Nutri-Pure, $68, available at Space.NK.apothecary.
This alcohol-free toner will make every sensitive skin type out there happy about using a toner again. It's like those ones you used in middle school minus all of the irritating side effects.

Fresh Rose Floral Toner, $40, available at Sephora.
Inflamed skin will instantly feel calm and rejuvenated with this fast-absorbing cream.

It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Transforming Moisturizing Super Cream, $48, available at Sephora.
Sensitive skin can easily be irritated by harsh, external stimuli. This hydrating gel ensures a plumped complexion that looks and feels healthy. It's also created with anti-aging peptides and collagen.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, $36, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Reddened
Whether your skin tone turns pink around the center of the face or you suffer from a more severe case of rosacea, winter air can be particularly triggering. "Rosacea can flare in winter, necessitating skin care regimens with anti-inflammatory ingredients," Dr.
MacGregor says. While most people with active rosacea need prescription topicals to control flare-ups, products with added anti-inflammatory ingredients — like adenosine, niacinamide, and licorice — can help.
Got a sweet-tooth in tandem with noticeable red patches? This calming cleansing cream will satisfy all your needs with marshmallow (its natural sugars help ease skin aggravations) and a no-fuss formula.

Boots Botanics Ultra Calm Gentle Cleansing Cream, $7.49, available at Target.
An even and balanced complexion is a thing of dreams for redness-prone skin types. But with this calming corrector made with SPF 20, your skin will quickly be back to it.

Omorovicza Complexion Corrector, $155, available at Omorovicza.
If your eye area is suffering from redness (and dry skin), this lightweight cream blends seamlessly over the skin without feeling greasy. Its antioxidant-rich blend contains beeswax to reduce any bit of inflammation so you're set morning and night.

Fresh Crème Ancienne Eye Cream,$ 155, available at Sephora.
Skin Type: Hyperpigmented
Like with other skin types, those with hyperpigmentation will likely need to boost hydration in wintertime by choosing a more gentle cleanser and more robust moisturizer. But, when it comes to treating the hyperpigmented patches themselves, the regimen doesn’t change with the season.

"My favorite cocktail for brightening pigmented skin includes using a broad-spectrum sunscreen in the morning, and a combination of brightening topicals with retinoid, antioxidants, and resorcinol in the evening," Dr. MacGregor offers. For this group, Dr. Zeichner says vitamin C (which is sometimes listed on skin care products as L-ascorbic acid) is king, so look for gentle cleansers, masks, and serums that feature the ingredient. (It has been shown to break down discoloration by interfering with pigmentation pathways that occur in the skin.)
A cleansing milk infused with vitamin C? Sign us up. Every sign of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone will be targeted at this first step in your daily routine.

Avalon Organics Vitmain C Hydrating Cleansing Milk, $10.99, available at Target.
Brightening ingredients like vitamin C are always essential for any sign of scarring or hyperpigmentation. This oil nourishes those frustrating spots with anti-inflammatory benefits and preventative essential fatty acids to ward off future damage.

Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil, $45, available at Sephora.
It's time to switch to something a bit more powerful with every brightening complex needed. Think hydroquinone, hexapeptide-2, and glycolic acid to lift away dead skin cells and lighten pigments.

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum, $60, available at Sephora.
Brightening treatments need to fit into a routine with the addition of strong sunscreen. If you're not protecting these sensitive pigments, it's only making the removal harder. Pair your new routine with this moisturizer SPF 15 that offers up a a bit of radiance, hydration, and protection.

Origins VitaZing SPF 15 Energy-Boosting Moisturizer with Mangosteen, $37, available at Sephora.
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