Fashion & Beauty

Winter Skincare Routine for Different Skin Types: Customizing Your Regimen

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During the winter, moisturizers and lotions seem to fly off the shelves. The cold, dry air means plenty of people struggle to keep their skin from getting dry and itchy. The good news is that a winter skincare routine can significantly affect how well your skin withstands the weather. 

It can also help you keep an eye out for potentially serious conditions that affect your skin.

So, what’s the best way to keep your skin healthy?

It depends on your skin type. 

What Are the Different Skin Types?

The American Academy of Dermatology sorts skin into five general types: 

  • Dry skin: Skin is rough, dry, and itchy
  • Oily skin: Greasy, shiny skin
  • Combination skin: Skin is dry and rough in some areas and greasy in others
  • Sensitive skin: Can react with stinging, burning, or rashes after using certain products
  • Normal skin: Clear, non-sensitive skin

It’s important to note that some people can have sensitive skin that is oily, dry, or a combination of both. And normal skin still needs extra TLC in the winter, even if it isn’t prone to dryness, oiliness, or rashes. 

Winter Skincare Essentials 

Woman putting facial oil on her face out of the shower

We’ll dive into the basics for different skin types in a moment. But no matter your skin type, there are a few things you can do in the winter to keep your largest organ healthy. 

First, avoid taking long, hot showers that dry out your skin. Keep the showers quick and warm. Wash your face with a gentle, moisturizing facial cleanser that’s free of alcohol, as that can dry your skin out. Clean your body with a moisturizing cleanser, too—bonus points if it’s thick, creamy, and fragrance-free. 

Apply a thick moisturizer to your body right after you towel off, it will lock the moisture into your skin.

If you spend time outside in the winter, make sure you put on sunscreen! You can definitely still get sunburned in the winter. This is especially true if you live in a snowy area, as the snow reflects the sun’s rays. Dermatologists recommend wearing a moisturizing SPF 30 sunscreen whenever you venture outdoors in the winter. 


Winter Skincare Routine for Oily Skin

Your skin might produce less oil during the winter months, but there’s still excess oil to take care of if you want to avoid acne breakouts. 

We recommend washing your face twice a day with a gentle facial cleanser. Exfoliate your face up to three times a week, but not more—you don’t want to overdo it. Use an exfoliating brush to mechanically remove dead skin cells, or use a mild chemical-based exfoliant per the package instructions. 

Finish off your winter skincare routine by gently towel-drying your face, applying a water-based moisturizer, and topping that off with SPF 30 sunscreen.

Winter Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Winter can be a challenging time for those with dry skin. Staying on top of your cold-weather skincare routine is key to avoiding the dryness and irritation that blows in with the winter wind. 

Stick with washing your face and skin once a day with a highly moisturizing and gentle cleanser. After you get out of the shower, gently pat yourself dry and apply a cream-based lotion to the skin below your neck—the thicker, the better. 

Exfoliate once a week or so using a hyaluronic acid or lactic acid-based exfoliator. These ingredients can remove dead skin without stripping away too much moisture. 

Make sure you use a gentle yet thick lotion for your face, too. End with a layer of sunscreen on any part of your skin that could get exposed to the harsh winter sun. 

While it’s tempting to layer on anti-aging products during the colder months, anti-aging and anti-acne products like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol can actually strip your skin of moisture, leaving it even more prone to dryness. Consider minimizing how often you use these products during the winter. You can ramp back up in the spring when the air has more moisture in it.

Tips for Sensitive and Combination Skin in Winter

If you have combination skin, you probably already know which areas are prone to dryness and which tend to get oily. Use lighter lotions and thrice-weekly exfoliation on the oilier areas, heavier creams, and once-weekly exfoliation on the dryer patches of skin. 

Now, let’s talk about sensitive skin. When your skin seems to get irritated by everything it touches, you’ll need to take extra care to keep it healthy in the winter. 

Use a cleanser formulated for sensitive skin no more than once per day. Avoid hot, scalding showers and stick to lukewarm temperatures. Protect your skin with thick creams that act as a barrier to lock moisture in and keep dry air out. 

And no matter what skin type you have, drink plenty of water and talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. Many people become deficient in vitamin D during the winter months.

Skin Sensitivity and Health Conditions

It’s also key to pay attention if your skin seems abnormally itchy. The skin can be a good indicator of your overall health. If you notice any new rashes, bumps, or severe itching, see your provider as soon as possible. 

A wide range of conditions can cause severely itchy skin, including: 

  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Thyroid and parathyroid problems
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

Some of these conditions might seem unlikely to cause itchy skin. But take hyperparathyroidism (HPT) symptoms, for example. HPT happens when your parathyroid glands make too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). Since the parathyroid glands help balance the calcium in your blood, excess PTH throws off that balance.

Hyperparathyroidism patients can have high blood calcium levels. If left untreated, the skin tissue can even become calcified. This condition—calcinosis cutis—causes white, severely itchy bumps to form over your joints. Who knew there was a connection between hyperparathyroidism and skin conditions?

If you think your itchy, overly sensitive skin might be a parathyroid symptom, your provider can point you in the right direction. The same goes for any other potentially serious conditions associated with dry, itchy, irritated skin.

Winter dryness can mask these problems. By implementing a skincare routine in the winter, you can keep a close eye on any unusual symptoms and help keep your skin—and your whole body—healthy.

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