For those who don’t live so close to the equator (we’re talking to those who can feel the winter chills, dry air and sharp winds), not only would you need to change up your wardrobe but also your skincare products. In Melbourne AUS, where we’re from, the middle of winter is numbingly cold. We’re talking close to 0°C mornings and nights with an average max of about 14°C.
The icy winds, crispy air and constant exposure to indoor heaters suck moisture out of our skin. They can even strip the oils which are essential for healthy skin barrier function. Without shaking up our skincare routine to adapt to the colder months, our skin will be more susceptible to skin sensitivity, redness and irritation. But don’t fret! You don’t need an entire overhaul. A few simple swaps and additions will do ya!
The first and most important step is to have a look at your skin and notice any changes - does it feel a little tighter? Can you see dry patches? Can you see more redness than usual? Once you’ve picked up on the changes, adjust or switch out the products accordingly. In general, a gentler cleanser and a richer moisturiser is usually all you need. Here are our recommended switcharoos or additions to facilitate the transition.
Opt for a balm, oil or cream cleanser
There’s a misconception that the foamier and bubblier a product is, the more effective. We forget that the foamier and bubblier a product is, the more drying it is to the skin. Cleansing creams, balms and oils are actually just as effective at cleansing the skin but don't strip too much oil or disrupt the skin barrier. Formulas today cleanse the skin and can also emulsify once they come in contact with water to prevent any oily after-feel. Just like Hanskin’s Cleansing Balm or Cleansing Oil. These are specifically great too for melting away makeup and sunscreen filters. These products are also suitable for oily, acne prone skin.
Add a good gentle exfoliator
When the skin is dehydrated and more sensitive, an abrasive exfoliator or a strong chemical exfoliant (AHAs) will just make it worse. Think gentle all the way or even pick up products that are suitable for sensitive skin. In these winter months we’ve been loving Earth Harbor’s Glow Juice Refining Enzyme. It contains fruit enzymes (instead of AHAs or BHAs), red seaweed, white willow bark and aloe leaf juice. Together, these ingredients help gently exfoliate, soothe and calm the skin. You’ll be looking glowy and bright all year round.
Switch to a slightly richer cream or introduce face oils
Winter time skincare is essentially anything extra to keep your skin hydrated and protected from the harsher conditions. As we mentioned before, our natural oils on our face take a toll, so it is our job to replenish the lost oils. A richer cream generally contains a higher concentration of emollients/occlusives. These include oils or waxes that can help form a protective layer on the skin to prevent water from escaping. Even oily, acne prone skin types can get dehydrated, especially in the winter. We've been loving HDB Precious Rose Concentrated Face Balm and HDB Replenishing Squalane & Argan Oil Serum. Remember, the more hydrated the skin is, the more flexible and stronger it is to act as the first line of defense. Also, don’t forget that your hands also take a beating, chapped hands can get very uncomfortable. Remember to always keep them hydrated - imagine having chapped hands and then applying hand sanitiser OUCH!
Use a humidifier
We’re getting a little extra but just hear us out. During winter, the humidity is fairly low (more drying) and artificial heat makes indoor air even more dry. A humidifier raises the humidity of an indoor space (the amount of moisture in the air). This can prevent the stripping of natural oils, dryness, eczema flaring. A humidifier is not just beneficial for the skin. It’s also great for hair, for when you have a cold, preventing a cold and of course indoor plants! (are you really a Melbournian if you don’t have indoor plants?)
Still use SPF
This is a no brainer. The sun takes no breaks. It still emits UV all day everyday even when it seems cloudy! How do you think you can see a winter day? Free radicals can still penetrate your skin and cause premature aging.