How to Transition to a Winter Skincare Regimen


winter skincare tips

The recent drop in temperature (seemingly overnight) has done a number on my skin, and I’ve had to quickly transition to a suitable winter skincare regimen to combat redness and flaking! You can’t win in NYC; when you’re walking around outside the wind is whipping your skin raw, and when you’re toasty warm indoors, the heater is drying out your skin. What’s a girl to do? Here are some of my tips to help your skin stay hydrated and glowing throughout the winter season.


Remember: Humectant + Moisturizer = Hydration

Your skin needs that extra boost of hydration, so I recommend adding a hyaluronic acid base before you put on your moisturizer. The HA works as a humectant, helping your skin absorb and retain water. Let’s face it, your skin needs that extra help during these cold nights! I have the Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel and the Vichy Mineral 89 on repeat. One protip: after putting on the HA, don’t stop there! If you do, the HA will actually draw moisture out of the skin; I noticed this when I first started using it and my face felt even MORE dry. Follow the HA with a rich moisturizer to get the full benefits. Your winter night cream ideally should be extra nourishing and moisturizing to combat the dry climate. Right now I’m using the Skinceuticals triple lipid restore (bring on the ceramides to repair my skin barrier!) nightly; a more affordable alternative to this is the Glossier priming moisturizer rich. Both have a lovely light lavender scent that helps me relax too.

My full reviews for the Triple lipid store is here and for the Glossier priming moisturizer rich here.

Practice good skincare habits

I am the worst with this one because I LOVE hot showers, so hot that the whole bathroom is steamy. But hot showers strip your body of moisture, leaving it prone to patches of dryness, redness, scaling, and irritation. Take lukewarm showers ~5-10 minutes long – my attending says when you come out of the shower your bathroom mirror should not be fogging up. Try using creamy soaps like Dove or Jergens, and do not vigorously scrub. Once you’re out of the shower, gently pat dry, don’t rub. Then immediately follow up with a jar-based lotion all over the body. Lotion that is thin enough to go through a pump bottle isn’t good enough!

An extra pearl shared by Dr. Kassardjian on IG: if you’re working out, apply moisturizer to anywhere where your skin has creases (arms, legs etc) because as the sweat collects there, it can actually irritate your skin!

Add a face mask

face mask Extra hydration never helps, and the occlusion with a face mask helps the serum penetrate deeper. If I’m going to use a face mask, I forego the triple lipid restore (that’s the good stuff that works on its own!) and instead, I use the Nature Republic steam cream (shea butter based), which is a little less rich. Right now the face mask I’m digging is the Cremorlab Herb tea blemish calming mask – I wake up the next morning with glowing dewy skin that lasts all day!

desert skin

Don’t let your skin look like this dry cracked desert!

Go light on the retinoid and exfoliants

Retinoids help to speed up skin cell turnover and exfoliants help remove dead dry sky. Sounds great, but in the winter, you may want to go easy on these ingredients if you’re noticing more redness and peeling than you usually have. I recommend cutting down exfoliant to once a week and retinoids as tolerated (if you can tolerate daily use, then go for it!)

*Quick note on this: My skin can’t handle retinoids because of my rosacea and now I’m starting to try Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5; if you saw my IG story you know I’m starting to get real red and scaly and kind of scary looking. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going! If you want more information about how I treat rosacea, click here for that blogpost.

Invest in a humidifier

Miso Smile Rabbit Personal Ultra-compact Air Humidifier - Cool Mist (PINK)

Miso Smile Rabbit Personal Ultra-compact Air Humidifier

OK ok I haven’t done this yet either but man these heaters are STRONG! My skin feels like a wrinkly dried prune sometimes when I wake up in the mornings. My friend Christine swears by her humidifiers, one for home and one for travel. In fact, she told me that before a big event she will keep the steamer going on all night while she sleeps for one week so her skin is extra plump and glowing. Her cool mist humidifiers were purchased at the recommendation of her allergist. She recommends the Holmes cool mist humidifer as her permanent one at home, and a small cute Korean  one for travel. The smaller one is great, because you can use any water bottle as the water tank.

Don’t skip sunscreen

Just because it’s arctic weather outside doesn’t mean you can skip your sunscreen. You don’t want sun spots and wrinkles right? Trust me when I say, keep using your SPF 30 sunscreen day in and day out to block those UV rays. My personal favorites are the La Roche Posay mineral ultra fluid tinted sunscreen (full review here); I use this instead of foundation since the tint is enough to cover up some dark spots and imperfections. I also love the EltaMD Clear Tinted Sunscreen, which contains power ingredients like niacinamide (vitamin B3) and hyaluronic acid, great for sensitive rosacea-prone skin or skin that breakouts often. If you need some extra moisturizer and don’t need tint, I recommend the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30 (my hubby uses this one daily).

Do you have any tips? Let’s all try to combat dry and flaky skin this winter!

3 Comments on How to Transition to a Winter Skincare Regimen

  1. Sera
    December 5, 2017 at 2:05 am (2 weeks ago)

    I am always confused by this so maybe you could help out! Am I supposed to wear a moisturizer and sunscreen? Do I put on the sunscreen before or after? Some moisturizers have sunscreen in them, is that enough?

    • Joyce
      December 8, 2017 at 4:31 pm (1 week ago)

      Hi Sera, moisturizer first, then sunscreen! And it’s fine to use a dual product; I use Cerave AM facial moisturizer with SPF and it works well. What I would be careful about is using makeup with SPF because we don’t typically use enough of the product to get the full spf benefits!


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