How to look after skin in winter is a part of seasonal living. What worked for your skin in the summer might not cut in the cold, when all you want to do is snuggle under blankets with a steaming cup of tea. Our skin, much like our lifestyle, adapts to the seasons. The good news is, as we tune into how we feel, we can give our skin some extra TLC as the colder months draw in.
Why is skin ‘worse’ in winter?
Your skin protects your body from the elements, and winter isn’t its favourite season. Think for example of cold, dry weather and icy winds outside, and cranked up heating and dehumidifiers indoors. It’s a recipe for your skin to flare up, leaving you with that familiar dry, tight feeling, and maybe even flakiness or redness. Similarly, the NHS says cold weather and even woolly jumpers can contribute to winter eczema.
Even if you naturally have oily or combination skin, you might find your skin getting drier in winter. I’ve been there, trying to balance out that shine all summer, then finding myself in midwinter with dry eczema around my jawline!
And remember, your skin, body and mind are all connected. Therefore how you feel and the way you live will show up in your skin. As Dr Gabor Maté writes, ‘It’s all one.’ So, how to look after your skin in winter will be personal to you. If you have a specific skin issue on your mind, start with curiosity.
Hydrating skin in winter
You wouldn’t think it on rainy days or with slushy snow about your boots, but winter has a knack for dehydrating your skin. The easiest way to take care of winter skin is to make hydration and moisturisation your friends.
Hydration can be as simple as drinking more water and eating healthily. You can also hydrate your skin from the outside by applying skincare products that contain water. Even a relaxing bath with a dash of bath oil can help – but don’t make it too hot! Moreover, look out for humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerine in your skincare. They act like magnets, pulling in water to keep your skin hydrated.
But here’s the catch: winter air is often dry, so your skin loses water faster. On the driest days, or with heating and log fires, beware. Your skincare humectants might even draw water from deeper layers of your skin. That’s why you need to moisturise.
Moisturising is about topping up your skin’s natural oils with plant oils and butters. When you moisturise, do you notice how your skin becomes smoother with a slight shine? That’s an occlusive layer. It’s a barrier created by oils which helps to protect your skin from the elements and, importantly, keep that hydration in.
A good winter moisturiser will do both: hydrating and moisturising your skin. If you find your skin’s drying out with your usual moisturiser in winter, consider switching to a richer one, adding a few drops of facial oil or even going for a balm.
Moisturising matters even more if you have eczema as your skin’s structure means it can’t retain as much water. Along with skincare, you can adjust your routine by lowering your heating temperature, opting for a lukewarm shower over a scalding one, and moisturising right after you bathe to lock in that extra hydration.
And if your skin feels drier than the Sahara, check your dehumidifier isn’t pushing your home’s humidity below 40-50%. In my experience, keep it out of your bedroom and open windows for fresh air when you can. Your skin will thank you.
How to cleanse your skin in winter
Choose a gentle, moisturising cleansing cream in winter. It’ll help you cleanse away dirt and excess oils without stripping away the natural oils your skin needs, especially in the cold. If you’ve ever used a cleanser that left your skin feeling dry and tight, that’s a good indicator you might want to rethink your skincare.
Cleansing creams work by blending oil and water-binding ingredients to cleanse your skin while keeping it moisturised. For example, we’ve created our Way of Tea Cleansing Cream with organic jojoba oil to mimic your skin’s sebum and organic castor oil, affectionately known as a ‘dirt magnet.’
Sun protection: even in winter
The winter sun may seem shy, but UVA radiation stays the same, even on cloudy days. It’s worth wearing SPF, with a rating of 30 or higher, either in your moisturiser or on top of it. Trust me, I learned this the hard way as a student in the Alps in France. Sporting a 5 o’clock shadow tan below my ski goggles was not a good look. For my skin’s health, I cringe to think!
Your skincare ingredients can help too. Ectoin, Vitamin C, and the antioxidant polyphenols in oils like apricot kernel can all lend a hand (that’s why they’re in our serum), but they’re complements always to your SPF. Make sure you wear it.
Winter skincare products
For winter skincare, remember this golden rule: be gentle. I asked AI to phrase it for me, ‘Dry skin is like a baby unicorn, fragile and in need of extra love.’ I can’t disagree!
When thinking about how to look after skin in winter, consider dialling back on retinoids and exfoliators like glycolic acid if your skin’s feeling irritable. And when you change up your skincare routine, do it one product at a time so you can see how each is working for you. Your skin takes 40-56 days to regenerate, and this gets longer as you age.
Here are the sustainable and refillable skincare products we’ve created and how they can support your skin this winter:
Strength & Ease Moisturiser
Our Strength & Ease Moisturiser might surprise you with its rich, yet lightweight, texture. It’s the perfect duo for keeping your skin both hydrated and moisturised, thanks to organic mango butter, jojoba, camellia, pomegranate, soothing calendula oils, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and an upcycled barley extract. Just remember to add SPF in the morning.
Think Again Facial Serum
A winter wonderland for your skin, our Think Again Facial Serum contains Ectoin. Derived from microorganisms living in extreme environments, it’s a powerhouse ingredient bringing anti-pollution, blue-light protection, anti-inflammatory, long-term hydration, and skin barrier repair properties. As a bridge between cleansing and moisturising, this serum makes your routine that bit extra with Vitamin C and upcycled blueberry oil to support your skin’s natural defences.
Way of Tea Cleansing Cream
Gentle enough to remove eye makeup, our Way of Tea Cleansing Cream does double duty: it cleanses and moisturises your winter skin with organic shea, mango, castor and jojoba oils and butters. We’ve blended this with a base of soothing organic rose water and antioxidant green tea hydrolat to take care of your complexion. Not just a cleanser, you can take this cream with your as a moisturiser for light packing on winter stays.
Conclusion: How to look after your skin in winter
Winter might never be your skin’s best friend, or your favourite season, for that matter. But armed with a bit of knowledge and a touch of experimentation, you can tailor your winter skincare routine to your skin’s unique needs.
Remember, keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised is at the heart of skincare this winter. With drier days, it helps to understand your skin might be feeling sensitive. Winter is traditionally a time for hibernation, and it’s worth leaning into this where you can. Take it slow and experiment with sustainable options one at a time. Far from New Year’s Resolutions, winter is really a time to release yourself from expectations. And less stress, we all know, means happier skin.
Thank you for reading this blog post. I’d love to know what you think! Are there any winter skincare tips you’ve found that work for you?