- In winter, skin can break down and become an entry route for acne-causing bacteria, a dermatologist said.
- Dr. Suchismita “Tia” Paul told Insider that she makes four changes in winter to keep her skin glowing.
- Paul always uses a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, but tailors her routine to her skin’s needs.
A dermatologist told Insider that she makes four key changes to her skincare regimen in winter to keep her skin clear, including using a thicker moisturizer and exfoliating less.
Dr. Suchismita “Tia” Paul, a board certified dermatologist at Newport Beach Dermatology and Plastic Surgery in Orange County, California, told Insider that she likes to keep her skincare simple. Paul always uses a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and then tailors her skincare regimen according to her skin needs — and the weather.
In drier, winter weather, the skin barrier can be easily compromised and dry, becoming an entry route for bacteria that cause infections and make acne worse, Paul said.
With that in mind, these are the changes Paul makes in winter. She uses products that are “mostly gifted or office samples” but that she said work for her skin and she isn’t paid to promote.
Switch to a hydrating cleanser in the winter
In the summer, Paul uses La Roche Posay Pigmentclar cleanser, which contains salicyclic acid, to try to “unclog” her pores. But in the winter, she switches to a more hydrating cleanser.
She said that during winter “salicylic acid is too drying on the skin,” so she likes to use “a very mild hydrating cleanser in the morning, such as the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.”
At night, Paul double cleanses because she believes it is a gentle way to remove make-up and sunscreen, as well as the dirt that accumulates throughout the day.
First she uses a cleansing balm, for example from Good Molecules, and then a water-based cleanser such as the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.
Use a thick moisturizer instead of a lightweight gel
Paul said that in the morning and night in summer she uses a “lightweight” water-based moisturizer that’s not greasy, like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, or Mineral 89 from Vichy.
But during the winter months she “steps up” her moisturizer and swaps it for a thick cream, for example the Ultra Repair Cream from First Aid Beauty, which contains oatmeal.
By using creams that contain ingredients like oatmeal, ceramide, or niacinamide — also known as vitamin B3 — “you’re just restoring that barrier and that’s why your skin will still look healthy and glowing,” she said.
Use a hyaluronic acid serum for ‘extra hydration’
Paul said that she likes to add a serum that contains hyaluronic acid to her routine in winter for “extra hydration.”
She regularly uses products containing vitamin C and a retinol alongside it.
For example, throughout the year in the morning she uses a vitamin C product, such as the formula from Urban Skin RX, and a retinol, like La Roche-Posay Effaclar, at night. In winter she adds hyaluronic acid serum from La Roche-Posay to her regimen in the morning and at night.
Another “thing that I do differently in the winter months is use the retinol every other night instead of every night because it can dry out your skin,” she added.
She doesn’t typically use hyaluronic acid serum during summer because her skin doesn’t need it.
Exfoliate less during winter than summer
Paul said that skin can get easily irritated in the drier weather during the winter, and this can be made worse by exfoliating too much.
“It can cause skin redness, peeling, burning, which are not signs of healthy skin,” she said.
Paul said that she exfoliates once a week, or once in 10 days, during the winter, compared to twice a week in the summer. She uses alpha hydroxy acid as an exfoliant.
Always wear sunscreen
Paul continues to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above throughout winter, even on “gloomy days,” to prevent sun damage from UV rays, which can cause wrinkles and premature aging. She currently uses Supergloop! Glowscreen SPF 40, but added that the product doesn’t matter as long as it’s SPF 30 or higher.
“Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, never skip the sunscreen even in the winter months,” she said.
Paul, who lives in southern California, told Insider that she will probably change her routine back to her summer one in March, but cautioned that skincare should be personalized and based on an individual’s problems and needs, which dermatologists can help to address.
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