How to transition my skincare routine from summer to winter?
Many places have weather extremes such as humidity or dry heat in summer and dry cold air and snow in winter. These weather changes demand different requirements from your skincare. You may need a lighter moisturizer that helps fight off UV-related free radical damage without being too heavy or clogging pores in summer, and you will need a thicker cream or face oil that locks in moisture to prevent dry/irritated skin in winter. We'll break down the basics for transitioning your skincare routine from summer to winter so that you will be able to keep your dewy glow all year long.
Why does skin feel drier and look dull in winter?
During the cold winter months, our skin can become extremely dry due to frequent transitions from frigid outdoor temperatures to overly dry recirculated air produced by indoor heating systems. As temperatures cool down, so does the humidity. When you regularly expose your skin to dry air, it will pull the water out of your skin, making it dry and sensitive, which is why we tend to reach for more moisturizing products to lock in the hydration and prevent water loss during the colder months.
When should I change up my skincare routine?
Don't just rely on the outside temperature to decide when you should change up your skincare routine - check the humidity as well. Dry air is one of the main culprits of flaky winter skin. For example, you might notice that your skin feels a lot tighter after getting out of the shower or waking up in the morning. If you see this change, then it's time to switch up your routine by adding a moisturizing oil or cream that isn't water-based. You want to look for a cream or face oil rich in ceramides and fatty acids, as they help to rebuild the protective barrier (acid mantel) of the skin, which prevents further water loss and dryness. Don't forget to continue moisturizing all over your entire body. You have skin on more than just your face, and all of it deserves some love.
The most important aspect of winter skincare is to make sure you are adding both hydration and moisture to your routine.
What's the difference between hydration and moisture?
The most straightforward explanation is that hydrators bind water to the skin, whereas moisturizers create a protective barrier that locks in hydration and prevents water loss. Hydrators bring water to the skin through humectants, allowing the skin to hold on to water from various environmental sources or from the products you put on your skin. Moisturizers help lock in hydration and keep the skin from drying out. The skin has a protective lipid barrier consisting of natural oils. This barrier is there not only help keep water in your skin but to keep environmental toxins out. When the skin gets dried out, this protective barrier starts to breakdown and becomes unable to do its job, which creates dry, irritated skin with more pronounced wrinkles.
Dehydrated skin lacks water (usually caused by diet or environmental factors). You will need to rehydrate it with ingredients that help hold on to water molecules. Dry skin lacks oil because it produces less sebum, meaning it doesn't have enough fatty lipids to retain its protective barrier. You will need to replenish your skin with products rich in oils and ceramides. "Dry skin" is an actual skin type, while "dehydrated skin" is a temporary condition anyone can experience – even those with oily skin.
- Oil-free, water-based products.
- Hyaluronic Acid Serums and Glycerin are prime examples of good hydration products.
- Bind water to the top layers of the skin to plump the look of wrinkles.
All skin types need hydration.
- Oils or fatty lipid-based products that help lock in hydration and enhance the skin's protective lipid barrier.
- Lotions, Creams, Face Oils that are rich in ceramides and fatty acids
All skin types need a moisturizer – especially at night and in the winter months.
Will an oil-based moisturizer or face oil cause breakouts?
There is a common misconception that all oil-based products will automatically cause breakouts. Many natural plant oils contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that mimic the skins natural sebum, like the Squalane that we use in Lightspeed Hydra Glow C Serum. This oil can help regulate sebum production and ultimately balance the skin and prevent breakouts. If you have oily skin, you will need to be a bit more careful when selecting a moisturizing product that contains oils, but shouldn't be afraid to do so. The type of oil you want to choose depends on your skin type. Here is a list of our favorite oils broken down by skin type:
All Skin Types
- Argan Oil
- Moringa Oil
- Rose Hip Seed Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Sunflower Seed Oil
Our Lightspeed Hydra Glow C Serum is ideal for maintaining proper moisture balance during the cold winter months. Packed with Squalane and Sunflower Seed Oil, it balances sebum levels and provides long-term moisture without clogging pores. This face oil/serum hybrid contains an advanced form of Vitamin C (BV-OSC) that penetrates the dermis to stimulate collagen and lighten dark spots caused by summer sun exposure and utilizes a unique delivery system that increases the absorption rate for a non-greasy feel.
Should I exfoliate in winter?
Exfoliation is something that should be a mainstay in your skincare routine all year. As dry, dead skin cells build up on the top layer of skin, a sort of barrier develops, preventing the proper absorption of any hydrating and moisturizing products you apply. Untreated, it will lead to a cycle of drier and drier skin further irritated by the continuous buildup of dead skin cells, resulting in clogged pores and breakouts.
On the other hand, there is such a thing as over-exfoliating. If you exfoliate too often, you can damage your skin's protective lipid barrier, causing more dryness and irritation, which will stimulate your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to acne and breakouts. You can use gentle exfoliation products daily, but a safe rule of thumb is to exfoliate no more than three times a week. After, always follow up with your hydrating and moisturizing products.
For the ultimate at-home exfoliation treatment, check out Flash Forward Exfoliation Treatment. The hyper-clean formula is alcohol-free (to prevent over-drying). Packed with 10% Lactic Acid, Multi-Fruit Enzymes, Jojoba Spheres, and our Thermal Warming Complex, this treatment provides a deep exfoliation that evens tone and texture and helps prep your skin, so your leave-on treatments work harder for you.
For more about the best winter exfoliation strategy, check out our blog post here.
Is SPF still necessary in the winter?
You know what we are going to say here… YES! You should be wearing an SPF every day. It doesn't matter if you're just inside working on your computer – you are exposing your skin to free radical damage from UV rays and blue light from your computers and mobile phones. 80% of facial skin aging is related to UV exposure – and we're not even talking about the risks of skin cancer here. It is very simple: wear an SPF every day, 365 days a year.
Check out our Complexion Resurrection Duo for the ultimate in exfoliation and moisture to keep your healthy-looking glow all winter long. For more tips and tricks to winterizing your skin, check out this article.
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At Free Agent, our goal is to create fresh, effective, small batch skincare that is free from synthetic preservatives and is delivered to you at peak efficacy for fast results. Learn more about what Clean Skincare means to us.