First thing first: why is my skin more sensitive in winter?
Cool air outdoors, coupled with dry indoor heat, can exacerbate skin sensitivity. “Itchy, dry and scaly skin stems from a weakening and cracking of the skin’s protective barrier, which makes it less able to repair itself and more vulnerable to product-induced irritation,” explains Lilli Gordon, CEO and founder of First Aid Beauty. “Unless you treat it fast, it can become a vicious cycle.”
Barrier defense: If your otherwise normal skin tends to feel more sensitive this time of year, you’re not alone. “When moisture is depleted from skin, this causes tiny cracks in the barrier and allows irritants to enter more easily,” explains Gordon. “A healthy skin barrier is your first line of defense, so enrich the outer layer with antioxidants, fatty acids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin.” Try bareMinerals Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream, $55
“Moisture is the holy grail of skincare – if you moisturize once a day in summer, do it twice a day in winter.”
The ingredients to love - and those to leave behind
YES: colloidal oatmeal (soothing and protecting), allantoin (conditioning) and shea butter (maintains healthy skin barrier). Try Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver, $70, Simple Regeneration Eye Cream, $19.99, L’Occitane Shea Light Comforting Cream, $56.
NO: alcohol, fragrance or artificial dye.
Do I need to change my skincare routine throughout the year? “Yes, because your skin reacts differently to different weather,” says Gordon. Cooler conditions can increase tissue sensitivity and leave skin looking and feeling tight, dry, and flaky.
Did you know…
- Moisturising your body immediately post-shower, while skin is still damp and pores are open, helps seal in moisture. Try Aveeno Sheer Hydration Daily Body Lotion, $12.99
- Foaming face washes can be drying, so switch to a milky formula, like Nivea Cleansing Cream Wash, $9.97
- Dry skin still needs to be exfoliated, but skip the harsh scrubs and go for chemical exfoliants like lactic and glycolic acids, found in First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $28
Woken up with a flare? If you’ve ruled out rosacea (which may require a trip to a dermatologist), here’s what to do.
Right now: Apply a redness-reducing treatment, like REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask, $53, and go easy on the make-up.
Tonight: Slather skin with a hydrating and sensitive-skin-specific moisturizer, like La Roche-Posay Toleraine Ultra Overnight, $39.95, and pare back your routine to its most basic version until the redness subsides.
This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of marie claire.