As the seasons change, so should your beauty routines. And so, it’s time to select the best winter skin-care products that work to keep skin healthy while it battles the colder temperatures.
“I always recommend introducing different products into a routine during the winter as this is when skin tends to be a bit more dry and dehydrated,” says New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss. “Skin lacks moisture in cold, dry climates; therefore, you want to load on all the hydration you can get. However, one constant you should always have in your routine no matter the season, is sunscreen.”
In order to successfully transition to a new routine, Dr. Corey L. Hartman, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama, recommends you swap serums and lotions for oils, emollients, creams, and ointments. “These vehicles help to strengthen the skin barrier to lock in moisture and hydration and prevent transepidermal water loss.”
“Decrease the use of harsh soap and reduce the temperature of the water used to cleanse. Incorporate a humidifier indoors while sleeping to add an extra level of hydration while you sleep,” he adds. He also cautions against harsh or excessive exfoliation, making sure to pair cleansers with moisturizing ingredients like squalane, glycerin, and ceramides. “Be mindful of the active ingredients like retinol, hydroxy acids, astringents, and alcohols, which can cause dryness and need to be moderated during the winter months. Just because your skin can tolerate them during warmer seasons doesn’t mean they can be used in the winter.”
To aid your next skin-care haul, four beauty experts walk us through the best products to add to your routine this winter, based on your skin concern.
If You Have Dryness
Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel
“The Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel is a unique formulation that gives the finish of a body oil in a thicker vehicle that is easier to spread and less messy,” Hartman explains. “It’s the perfect final seal for an impaired skin barrier during the harsh winter months when transepidermal water loss increases and skin becomes dry and irritated.”
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242
“SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242 is a dream cream that’s an easy sell even with its higher price tag,” Hartman says. “It contains free fatty acids, cholesterol, and glycerin, but is not heavy or greasy. It provides hydration and skin barrier repair as it absorbs into the skin, making it look and feel instantly brighter and smoother.” Idriss says this “is great for more mature skin types needing hydration, as it includes essential lipids within the formula.”
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5
“The La Roche-Posay Ciclafate B5 is an excellent addition to any winter skin routine as it is perfectly formulated to soothe the skin, [and] repair the skin barrier while adding moisture,” said dermatologist Dr. Alexis Stephens.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Cleanser
“You also want to switch your cleanser over to [something] more hydrating that won’t remove your natural oils or disrupt your skin barrier,” adds Stephens, who recommends the La Roche Posay Hydrating Cleanser in lieu of winter skin-care products.
Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Barrier Repair Moisturizer
Rachel Roff, esthetician and founder of Urban Skin Rx, recommends the Even Tone Barrier Repair Moisturizer from her line to treat dry, winter skin. “This new product contains squalane and ceramides for hydration and skin repair,” Roff says.
Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Moisturizer
“The Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Moisturizer is helpful for dry skin because the squalene penetrates skin on a cellular level, helping to lock in moisture,” Roff says.
If You Have Skin Sensitivity & Irritation
Avène Antirougeurs Calm Soothing Repair Mask
“This Avène mask has a green tint to neutralize redness and soothes irritation using a hydra-nourishing complex,” Hartman says. The formula is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic, meaning it’s gentle on skin, and won’t clog pores.
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
“The First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that uses aloe and allantoin to soothe the skin,” Roff says of this creamy formula.
Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum
“Versed’s Press Restart Retinol Serum is specifically formulated for sensitive skin, using bakuchiol and encapsulated retinol,” Roff explains. Basically, add this to your winter skin-care routine if you’re hoping to gently improve skin texture.
Vaseline Original Unscented Petroleum Jelly
“Vaseline includes 100% pure petroleum jelly, so it helps with extreme dryness, chafing, and any wind burns during the winter months,” Idriss says of the timeless formula.
If You Have Hyperpigmentation
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum
“The SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum is a great brightening serum that targets hyperpigmentation and is powered by niacinamide and tetrapeptide-30, to help brighten while supporting a healthy skin barrier,” Idriss says.
Urban Skin Rx Advanced Even Tone Day & Night Treatment
“The Urban Skin Rx Advanced Even Tone Day & Night Treatment uses niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, and bakuchiol to fade the appearance of dark marks and even out skin tone,” Roff explains.
Topicals Faded Serum
“The Topicals Faded Serum combines tranexamic acid, niacinamide, azelaic acid, and kojic acid into one moisturizing cream anchored with jojoba seed oil and shea butter to combine a mean and mostly natural lightning punch,” Hartman says.
Murad Vitamin C Glycolic Brightening Serum
“I recommend Murad Vitamin C Glycolic Brightening Serum during the winter months as it includes vitamin C and glycolic acid to help with hyperpigmentation and dullness; however, it is gentle enough for sensitive skin types,” Idriss says.
If You Have Dull Skin
Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%
“Revision C+ Correcting Complex is a do-it-all vitamin C that eliminates irritation and can be used by a variety of skin types,” Hartman explains. “The lightweight formulation packs an antioxidant punch that brightens the skin and restores a more even, youthful skin surface.”
Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum
“The Sunday Riley C.E.O 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum is a great product because of the strong percentage of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to your skin, so it’s protected against free radicals and appears brighter,” Roff explains.
If You Have Skin Texture & Congestion
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Moisturizer
“Dr. Dennis Gross’ Pore Perfecting Moisturizer is oil-free and powered with alpha and beta acids to reduce the appearance of pores and speed up the natural cell turnover,” Roff says. Furthermore, it is packed with ceramides, squalane, and benzoyl peroxide to refine pores and strengthen the skin barrier.
Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum
According to Hartman, “Heraux Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum contains a specialized ingredient called HX-1 that acts as a guardian against stress molecules, thus shielding stem cells from the harmful effects of oxidative stress. It has a silky and lightweight texture, a pleasant, light fragrance and it absorbs into the skin quickly.”
Skinbetter AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads
“Skinbetter Science AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads are great for the colder months since they are not so harsh on the skin as they include a unique technology that is made up of a combination of a retinoid and an alpha hydroxy acid, along with a triple-acid blend of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid,” Idriss says.
Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray
“The Tower 28 Daily Rescue Facial Spray is one of the nicest products out there because of the size of the hypochlorous acid,” Idriss says. “Spray it on your mask throughout the day or even directly on your face as it can help any breakout while hydrating.”
If You Have Aging Skin
SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
“SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum contains growth factors that teach the skin how to “think young” again. It is on the pricier side, but contains not only growth factors and peptides, but also an antioxidant blend to show improvements in the skin tone and texture in the first four weeks,” Hartman says. “It’s the closest thing to a do-it-all serum.”
L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum
“L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum is a potent form of retinol, great for aging skin; however, it still includes soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to help with sensitive skin during the colder months,” Idriss says.
Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream
“Skinfix Barrier + Triple Lipid Peptide Cream is deeply hydrating and aids with fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, and loss of firmness and elasticity,” Roff says.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Retinoid Night Oil
“Layer [the Skinfix cream] over Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil—a gentle retinol night oil that reduces the appearance of wrinkles and redness, and [also] hydrates,” Roff says.