- Winter weather can dry out your skin and even damage your skin barrier.
- It's best to switch out your normal products for gentler, more hydrating formulas.
- Experts also recommend you avoid harsh ingredients so your skin doesn't suffer.
There are so many great things about the winter: beautiful snow, yummy warm drinks, and cozy nights in. But the colder weather isnt always great for your skin.
"The decreased humidity, colder temperatures, and frigid breezes all work together to dry out skin and damage the skin barrier," said Papri Sarkar, a dermatologist based in Massachusetts.
"Once the skin barrier is damaged, it's easier for things that are supposed to stay out of the skin to get in and for moisture to get out. The combination of these things makes skin more likely to be dry, irritated, and itchy in the winter," she told INSIDER.
Of course, not everyone's skin acts up during the winter. Sarkar said that if your skin isn't protesting at all, its probably fine to keep your skin care regimen the same. "But in general, I like richer moisturizers, gentler cleansers, and less frequent use of actives in the winter," she said. "Once your skin is irritated, its harder to correct that than to prevent it in the first place."
So what should you steer clear of? Sarkar told INSIDER about six different beauty products you should avoid during the winter time.
You might not need to use soap on your entire body.
Is lathering up your whole body with soap a step in your shower routine? Turns out, it doesn't need to be and it shouldn't be during the winter since it can dry out your skin.
"Unless you're mud wrestling, you don't need to use soap all over your body," Sarkar said. "Instead, concentrate on the areas that actually need it, like the private areas and underarms."
Alcohol-based toners may dry out your skin.
Toners have been praised as a holy grail product for controlling oil and balancing out your skin. But Sarkar said that many of these toners contain a bunch of alcohol, which is pretty drying.
Her advice? "I like patients to avoid toners that are mostly alcohol to prevent stripping of the skin," she said. If you really love to use toner, there are hydrating ones on the market. Just make sure they don't have alcohol as a main ingredient if you want to use them.
Clay masks should be used sparingly.
As the weather changes, your skin care line-up should, too, especially when it comes to masks.
"In the winter, sometimes people tend to use the same old masks that they have been for a long time," Sarkar said. "If they already have dry skin especially, I ask them to decrease the frequency or use of clay masks because they can be drying."
Bar soap might be too drying for some people.
Love to kick it old-school by using bar soap to clean your face? Maybe take a break from that during the winter, Sarkar said.
"The pH of traditional bar soaps is quite high and is generally too drying."
Instead, Sarkar recommended gentle cleansers or even oil cleansers. Her best tip for the oil cleanser?
"You should massage it in when your face is dry and then use water to rinse off the cleaner, dirt, and makeup with it."
Exfoliating should be kept to a minimum.
Or, the overuse of exfoliators, to be more specific.
"I think it's fine to continue to exfoliate, but in the winter it's really easy to over-exfoliate and really damage your skin barrier," Sarkar said. "So if you're exfoliating, go slow and don't overdo it."
Sarkar said either physical or chemical exfoliants work just fine (though she prefers chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid) as long as you don't go overboard.
"People probably need to decrease how often they're using exfoliants in the winter to account for their drying effect in addition to how much drier it is in the winter," she told INSIDER.
Products with strong fragrances and essential oils can be irritating.
You may love your delicious-smelling cleanser or moisturizer or serum, but it can cause some issues when the temperature drops.
"When your skin is drier, it's more common to get an irritant reaction to something that didn't bother you before because the skin isn't as intact," Sarkar said.
"So fragrances and essential oils can suddenly be troubling even for folks who it wasn't troubling for before."
Her advice? Use them with caution and know what you're putting on your face because they can cause problems.
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