Prevent Dry Winter Skin Part 4: Change up Your Skincare Products | WELL Aging Sun Care

Prevent Dry Winter Skin Part 4: Change up Your Skincare Products

Last but not least, our final part of our Tips For Dry Winter Skin Relief series is probably our most in-depth yet.

Scroll down to read more on each of these points to find out why it's important to change the skincare products you use in the winter to minimize winter dryness.

  • - Use Skincare Products with Emollients
  • - Avoid Overusing Certain Products
  • - Layer Serums and Creams
  • - Put Away the Powdered Makeup
  • - Switch to a Gentler, Moisturizing Cleanser

Change/Rotate Your Skincare Products

In case you didn't know this already, your body is an amazing machine! It knows how to repair itself, tell you what it needs (not always in a desirable way, but it does tell you!) and adapts easily to hundreds of thousands of things coming both at and into it every day, knowing exactly what to use and what to get rid of.

Just like you can develop a tolerance for things you put in your body, such as medications, caffeine or alcohol, you can also become acclimated to what you put on it. This means that the nutrients in the skincare products you use everyday can lose their effectiveness over time. Fortunately, that's an easy fix.

Since dry, cold winter conditions create a need for different, heavier moisturising products, it's the ideal time to switch things up.

By alternating your skincare products, you're regularly introducing new - or more/thicker/heavier - formulas to your skin. This will ensure the effectiveness of all the products you use.

Use Skincare Products with Emollients

An emollient is a moisturizing ingredient that works by creating a layer on top of your skin that traps water in. When your skin dries out (aka, doesn't have enough water), it flakes and cracks, creating spaces between cells, leaving your skin vulnerable to infections. Emollients pack those spaces with oily or fatty substances to smooth and protect your skin. Because the air is so dry in winter, you should be using products that have more emollient ingredients in them than you would in the warmer summer months.

To be clear, emollients and moisturizers are not the same thing. An emollient is an ingredient in a moisturizer. Other ingredients in a moisturizer will help to bring water into your skin, while an emollient ingredient works to keep the water in once it's there.

What are common emollient ingredients used in skincare?

Oils, butters, fatty acids, esters, and lipids are all considered emollients. They can be found in natural sources or synthetically derived. Since we're all about natural, those are what we'll focus on. Some naturally emollient ingredients include:

  • - shea butter
  • - avocado oil
  • - castor oil
  • - mineral oil
  • - zinc oxide
  • - beeswax
  • - squalene
  • - coconut, jojoba, olive, sesame, almond, and other plant oils

Our Moisturizing Face Creme with SPF contains 6 of these emollient ingredients: avocado, coconut, sesame, zinc oxide, beeswax and shea butter.

The last thing we'll say here on the subject of emollients is that, while they are wonderful for most skin types (especially those with eczema or psoriasis), if you have very oily skin they may do more damage than good. If you fall into this category, heavy, oil-rich emollients may clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Like with all skincare products, you need to know your skin before you use them - and it's always recommended to test new products before going all-in.

Which leads us to...

Avoid Overusing Certain Products

Some ingredients/products are just fantastic for your skin no matter what the weather. However! Sometimes just what makes them so effective, can also turn against you in the winter if you over-do it.

Hyaluronic Acid

Your skin naturally contains hyaluronic acid, which is a powerful humectant (draws water in - from either the air or from deeper layers in your skin to the top layer). The problem with adding too much of the stuff in the winter - or any very dry environment - is that, if there's no moisture in the air to pull the moisture from, guess where it's going to go find it? That's right - from the deeper layers of your own skin. This can cause your skin to lose plumpness and volume.

Too much of a good thing indeed!

Fun Fact:

Did you know, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!?


A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is skincare superhero. It’s been shown to stimulate collagen production and effectively plump and lessen the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

By expediting cell turnover, retinoids exfoliate the outer layer of skin, revealing newer, more radiant cells underneath, unclogging pores and reducing hyperpigmentation.

Despite all its wondrous capabilities, retinoids are hard on the skin. It can cause - or increase - dryness, redness, irritation and lead to flaking.

Another (often temporary) side-effect that can happen is what’s called “skin-purging”. This is when your skin tries to compensate for the rapid skin cell turnover by bringing more sebum (oil) to the skin’s surface, which can lead to worse acne breakouts and clogged pores.

We’ve already established that cold winter air leads to dry, flaky skin, which is why too much retinol can exacerbate things.

That all said, there is an upside to using retinoids in the winter. Because retinol is so effective in rejuvenating your skin, it also leaves it quite vulnerable to UV rays. So it’s especially important to use sunscreen anytime you’re outside if you’re also using retinoids.

In the winter, however, the UV index is a fair bit lower than in the summer. Which is why, if your skin isn’t too dry, it can be a good time to use it. Again, we highly stress the importance of continuing to wear sunscreen! Even though the UV index is lower, those rays are still coming through!

No matter what the season, if you’ve never used retinoids before, it’s important to start small and let your skin build up a tolerance. Start by applying a pea-sized amount to your face, no more than twice a week. If you’re tolerating it well, you can work your way up to every other day, and eventually, every night.

Pro Tip:

Always layer moisturizer on top of your retinol. In the winter, or if your skin is feeling a bit drier than usual, try employing the “sandwich” method:

Apply moisturizer after cleansing, once it’s absorbed, administer your retinoid, and finally add another layer of moisturizer on top.

Another option is to try a newer ingredient called bakuchiol (buh-COO-chee-y’all). Bakuchiol is considered to be a safer, less irritating and more naturally derived retinoid alternative.

Layer Serums and Creams

Just like you layer your clothing during colder months, it’s a good practice to also layer your skincare products.

In the summer, you likely only need one good, light serum. Come winter though, your skin will thank-you if you add in a couple more serums under a generous layer of a nice, thick moisturizing cream and finally topped with a layer of natural sunscreen.

Look for serums that contain moisturizing and antioxidant ingredients like

  • - hyaluronic acid
  • - algae
  • - vitamin C
  • - vitamin E
  • - CoQ10
  • - alpha lipoic acid
  • ​​- retinol
  • - niacinamide
  • - argan oil
  • - aloe vera
  • - ferulic acid
  • - baicalin

Pro Tip:

Apply a heavier cream at night to repair your skin while you sleep. During sleep is when your body repairs itself, including your skin.

Put Away the Powdered Makeup

Powdered makeup may be nice to help absorb excessive moisture in the warmer months, but when it’s cold and dry, the goal is to keep that moisture locked in. Instead, look for cream-based tints, eyeshadows and blushes.

Mature skin tends to be drier anyway, so, depending on your skin, you may want to permanently switch to cream-based makeup anyway!

Try Protein-Rich Herbal Facials

Proteins and phospholipids can do wonders for the skin's protective barrier. Face masks containing honey and natural fruit acids can brighten, hydrate, and heal your skin - and especially soothing for windburns. You can easily make your own using natural ingredients you likely already have.

Switch to a Gentler, Moisturizing Cleanser

Look for a gel, oil or cream based cleanser as opposed to an exfoliating foam cleanser. While it’s good to continue exfoliating in the winter, too much can exacerbate your skin’s dryness.

If your skin is very dry, you may want to use an oil or cream based cleanser. If your skin is quite oily however, then a gel or light cream-based cleanser could provide just the right amount of cleansing and moisturizing, without clogging your pores.

Try to limit washing your face to only once a day - best done before bed so your body can work it’s magic while you sleep with a clean slate (pun intended 😉). This will help to prevent your skin from drying out even more.

Lastly, don’t use excessively hot water when washing your face in the winter. Hot water pulls moisture out from your skin. Instead, use a luke-warm temperature.

That ends things for our deep dive into our relief from dry winter skin mini-series. Of course, there is no “one-size fits-all” skincare solution. You have to know what works for your skin whatever the season. Just like life, it’s a journey and a process of trial and error.

We’d love to hear from you… what tips and tricks work for you? What are your favourite winter skincare go-to products? Let us know in the comment section below 👇

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