Winter can be tough on your skin. Our winter skincare guide will help you banish signs of dryness, irritation, and dullness during the colder months.
Winter Skin Concerns
The main cause of skin issues during winter is a lack of moisture in the air.
This, coupled with time spent in heated indoor spaces, can cause your skin barrier (the outer layer of skin known as the stratum corneum) to become damaged.
Your skin barrier is made up of skin cells and the lipid matrix which is composed of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterols. Lipids act like ‘glue’ to hold the skin cells together.
When the skin barrier is strong and functioning properly, there are minimal ‘cracks’ in the surface. This means moisture is sealed into the skin while irritants and bacteria are kept out.
On the other hand, the surface of a weakened skin barrier is damaged and cracked.
This means moisture seeps out easily, skin is more vulnerable to bacteria and other irritants and signs of ageing are accelerated.
Seasonal changes and rapid temperature fluctuations (moving from warm indoor heating to the cold air outside, for example) have been shown to damage the skin barrier.
One of the most common skin conditions to come along with cold weather is dry skin. Even if your skin type isn’t naturally dry, chances are you’ll experience drier, flaky skin during winter.
If you have a dry skin type, you need to be extra vigilant with winter skincare as cold weather can exacerbate your skin issues.
If you don’t get your winter skin care routine right, skin can quickly lose its glow and become dull. It’s usually a result of dehydration - both on the inside and outside.
Loss of hydration in the dermis and the lower levels of the epidermis results in a decrease of skin thickness. This leads to skin looking dull and lacklustre.
You may notice your skin has become more sensitive seemingly overnight when cold weather hits. Signs of sensitivity include reactivity - one minute skin seems fine and the next it’s breaking out in a rash, red bumps, or flushing. Itchiness and dryness are also signs of sensitivity.
Your Winter Skincare Routine
Just like you swap your summer wardrobe for a winter one, you should be switching up your skincare during winter too.
There are two key goals for your winter skincare products - a) minimise moisture loss and b) increase hydration.
Remember, a damaged skin barrier means moisture in the skin is lost at a quicker rate through the ‘cracks’ in the surface. Your winter skincare routine should include products and ingredients aimed at repairing cracks and strengthening the barrier to minimise moisture loss.
Ceramides, emollients, fatty acids, allantoin, and niacinamide (vitamin B3) are some of the best ingredients to help seal in moisture and repair the skin barrier.
You also need to boost the amount of hydration skin cells receive. You can increase hydration topically by using humectant ingredients in your winter skincare products. The hydrating superpower of humectants is their ability to draw moisture to the skin.
Our winter skin care tip for washing your face? Steer clear of traditional foaming cleansers.
The chemicals used to create the ‘lathering’ effect can be harsh and very drying for the skin barrier. Avoid cleansers containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and synthetic fragrances too - these chemicals can exacerbate dryness and sensitivity.
Mild cleansers are a must for winter.
Choose a gentler, plant-derived formulation that provides a deep cleanse without ingredients that make winter skin issues worse.
We recommend: The Uncomplicated Cleanser
Gently removes all traces of foundation and impurities with a double cleanse while calming and protecting skin with aloe vera and camilla leaf extract.
Add a serum to your winter skincare routine before moisturising for an extra dose of hydration.
One of the best ingredients to look for in a hydrating serum is hyaluronic acid. It draws water to the cells and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water.
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is also effective at restoring the skin barrier to guard against moisture loss and dehydration.
We recommend: Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum
The ultimate skin hydrator, this quick-absorbing serum fights dehydration for hydrated, plumper, and repaired skin.
The colder months call for a richer moisturising formulation than you might use in summer.
Facial oil makes an excellent moisturiser for dry skin in winter. Oils contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants which help seal in moisture to keep the skin hydrated.
Suggested winter skincare oils include rosehip oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil.
Rosehip in particular is a wonderful skin repairer, brimming with tissue and cell regeneration fatty acids plus antioxidants to hydrate and heal damaged skin.
Squalene is also an excellent ingredient for dry skin. Non-irritating with antioxidant and moisturising properties, squalene is suitable for all skin types.
We recommend: 24K Gold Nourishing Oil
Non-greasy, it’s perfect for combination to dry skin as a moisturiser to address dryness, dehydration, ageing, fine lines, and wrinkles
The right exfoliator will refresh tired-looking winter skin.
The cold air outside combined with dry indoor heating means skin cells dehydrate and die quicker during this time of year. A gentle exfoliator will buff away dead cells to reveal fresher looking skin without drying it out.
We suggest using a mild chemical exfoliator containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) rather than a physical exfoliator to dissolve dead skin cells without damaging the skin barrier.
Lactic acid is the most gentle AHA and ideal for sensitive skin types.
We recommend: Detoxifying Exfoliating Charcoal Serum
Gently detox and purify congested skin for a clearer, smoother complexion.
Leaving on a rich, nourishing treatment overnight (skin is more permeable at night time) allows the ingredients in your winter skin care regime to soak in and maximise results.
We recommend: Ultra Nourishing Booster Mask
Ideal for dry skin types in need of nourishment to reduce fine lines, inflammation, uneven skin tone, and heal damaged skin.
If you need help with winter care for your face book a free consultation with an esmi Skin Minerals Consultant. The team at esmi is always here to support you on your skin journey!