You may not love the biting wind and frigid temperatures this time of year, but you don’t have to let those harsh winter conditions affect you—or more specifically, your skin. The only way to help alleviate the
irritated and dry skin that we’re all prone to when the temperature drops is to develop a winter-specific skin care routine. So we chatted with Sara Whittaker, Clinique Canada’s national director of education, and Dr. Sharon Humphrey, a dermatologist with the University of British Columbia, about ways to
keep skin healthy and well moisturized all season.


Why you need a winter moisturizer
“Whenever the temperature or climate changes, skin’s balance can be thrown off, and certain mechanisms just don’t function as efficiently,” says Whittaker. What doesn’t help is that during the winter months, cold temperatures combined with indoor heating, wind, itchy fabrics, plus long hot baths and showers take their toll on our skin.

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“The skin’s barrier becomes compromised, which enables moisture to sneak out, while allowing irritants and free radicals to seep in,” she adds. This can contribute to accelerated signs of aging on the complexion. “Another major issue is that your natural exfoliating enzymes slow down, so rather than shedding off, dead skin cells cling, leading to flakiness and a dull complexion.”

Cold remedy: Well-moisturized skin

How to deal with dry skin? Swap out your lightweight summer lotion for a heavier cream. It’s not about piling more moisturizer onto the skin, but switching to a thicker formulation that’s suited to your skin type, says Humphrey. “If you were already using a face cream throughout the summer, then switch to an ointment,” she says, adding that the greasy texture will help protect severely dry skin.

It’s also important to apply moisturizer to the skin directly after a shower or washing your face for the best hydration—otherwise, moisture evaporates and skin is left drier than it was before. “It seals in moisture and improves the skin’s ability to retain it,” says Humphrey. While we’re all guilty of taking long, hot showers after spending the day in below-0 temperatures, avoid using extremely hot water, and opt for gentle cleansers over harsh scrubs, which can aggravate already sensitive and dry skin.


More winter skin care tips on the next page..

Your daily winter skin care routine

“Your daily regimen should include cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing,” says Whittaker, noting that it’s best to use fragrance-free skin care products. Look for ingredients that will help to build up a healthy, stronger moisture barrier. “These include things like sunflower seed cake, olive extract, barley extract and murumuru seed butter,” she adds about
skin-repairing ingredients that will help to retain water and restore well-balanced skin.

“The two key ingredients that you’ll definitely want to have included in any product are hyaluronic acid – which is proven effective in helping skin hold onto moisture for improved hydration, and glycerin— a well-known humectant that attracts moisture to skin,” Whittaker says. (For this, there’s the newly updated cult classic moisturizer, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion .)


Keeping up with your gentle daily exfoliating is key to maintaining a
healthy complexion by eliminating the buildup of dead skin cells, which not only dulls skin and causes flakiness, but prevents moisturizer from properly hydrating. Of course, follow up sun protection before heading out. “It’s important to protect against sun exposure in the winter,” says Humphrey. “Snow reflects the UV rays, which penetrates deeply into the skin and breaks down collagen.” This is what causes fine lines and wrinkles. Consider a broad-spectrum sun protection with SPF 30 (60 if you’re hitting the slopes all day).

At night. “If you feel you need an extra boost, try a soothing,
nourishing mask or a
night cream custom-fit for your skin type,” says Whittaker. “Skin is especially vulnerable to moisture loss during night time hours, so a penetrating formula that replenishes skin and actually strengthens its ability to lock in moisture can be a great idea.”

Read more:
Skin care: Your nighttime beauty routine

Skin care: Makeover your skin in 5 days

Dull skin boosters: Skin care and makeup tips

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