It’s Time to Change Your Routine: Your Ultimate Winter Skincare Guide - PerriconeMD

It’s Time to Change Your Routine: Your Ultimate Winter Skincare Guide

Ah, winter. While there are a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings associated with the season—hot chocolate, sizzling fires, furry sweaters—the change temperature can really take a toll on your skin. If you’re like most of us, winter weather makes your skin feel dry, irritated, and particularly sensitive. And while you know to toss out your summer sandals and break out your winter boots when December hits, are you putting the same effort into adjusting your skincare routine?

Well, you should be. And if you don’t know where to start—you’re not sure what’s happening to your skin during these colder months, or you just don’t know what parts of your routine to swap out—here’s some conventional winter skincare wisdom from your friends at Perricone MD.

What exactly is happening to my skin during the winter?

If we tried to identify some root causes of why our skin changes when the seasons transition, we’d point to these three factors: humidity in the air, exposure to light, and temperature. In one way or another, these factors impact moisture levels in your skin, sun damage, elasticity, porosity, and more.

  1. Your skin’s barrier becomes compromised and more porous. The first thing that people notice during the winter months is that their skin becomes drier. To understand why that happens, let’s look at the mechanics of your skin. Think of your skin as a barrier, and water regularly takes a journey in and out of this barrier. Your skin is constantly respiring water—sometimes it’s really obvious, like when you sweat, but other times it’s less obvious, and happens in the form of evaporation.

The effectiveness of your skin’s barrier is basically defined in terms of how quickly water moves through your skin and evaporates. A great way to visualize how this works is to think of the impact a Band-Aid has when it’s been on your skin for some time. If you’ve ever peeled off a Band-Aid before, you’ve likely noticed that your skin underneath is very moist, soft, and wrinkly. That’s because it’s incredibly hydrated. The Band-Aid created a barrier that prevented water from evaporating out of your skin. Moisture essentially built up at the surface of your skin and was then trapped, resulting in incredibly soft, pliable skin. You don’t even have to leave a Band-Aid on for very long to notice this effect—this just goes to show how frequent and cyclical this process is.

Well, what happens in dry winter weather is that your skin’s natural barrier becomes more compromised and more porous. Water evaporates off of your skin really quickly, faster than the speed at which it can replenish it. This becomes a vicious cycle—your skin dries out, becomes more porous, which allows more water to evaporate, which then further dries out your skin, which causes your skin to become even more porous, leaving you with dry, cracked skin. This is why winter can be an absolute nightmare for some people’s skin, especially for people with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.

  1. Your skin’s pH levels rise. Another consequence of winter weather is that the pH of your skin tends to rise significantly when exposed to colder weather. People see about a 0.5 point rise in their skin’s pH, which is huge increase. Higher pH levels have been shown to be another contributing factor to disrupting your skin’s barrier.
  1. Your skin’s elasticity drops. Elasticity—your skin’s ability to bounce back in place—drops during the winter months. Over the course of the year, temperature plays a role in your skin’s elasticity. When it’s warm, your skin is malleable and stretchy, so it bounces back easily. In the winter time, your skin is less elastic, making it tighter and sometimes droopy.

How should I change my routine to accommodate for winter stressors on my skin?

Your skin needs some serious pampering in the winter time. If we could sum up our advice into one sentence, it would be this: Be really, really gentle and nourishing to your skin during the winter. Here are some concrete steps you should take.

  1. Switch to a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. Often times when your skin feels dry, you think that ineffective moisturizers are the cause—but in reality, cleansers are probably the harshest thing you could put on your skin. Yes, they clean dirt and makeup off of your face—but they also strip away important oils and disrupt your skin’s barrier. Since your skin is already so sensitive during the winter, it’s better to take extra precautions to protect it.

We recommend using our no-rinse Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment. It’s super mild, and doesn’t even need to be washed off! Just apply it with your fingers or dab it on to a cotton pad, and apply it to your face. The Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment does everything that a cleanser normally does like removes makeup and cleans your face. But, it won’t be strip away as many oils, and you won’t have to deal with the harsh surfactants that are found in traditional cleansers, like sulfates, which can really exacerbate irritation and compromise your skin’s barrier.

  1. Get yourself a gentle exfoliator. The increased porosity of your skin during the winter time doesn’t mesh well with harsh exfoliators. To combat redness, irritation, and inflammation, a gentle exfoliator is key. Make sure to avoid products with strong acids, like glycolic acid or alpha hydroxyl acid. We suggest using our Blue Plasma daily peel, a very mild, neutral pH daily exfoliator that you can also apply with a cotton pad. The dead skin cells on the surface of your skin will wipe off on the pad, and you won’t have to worry about strong acids, harsh surfactants, or even beads (which can have a very abrasive effect and leave micro-tears on your skin—ouch!).
  1. Switch to a richer moisturizer. Although lightweight moisturizers are often sufficient in the summertime, when your skin is naturally more hydrated, it’s important to switch to a heavier, richer moisturizer in the winter. A rich moisturizer is essential to helping your skin feel soothed, comfortable, and less irritated throughout the day, and is better suited to mitigate the effects of harsh weather. The rich texture of our Face Finishing Moisturizer will do just the trick—its antioxidant-powered formula will help decrease dryness and leave your skin feeling radiant and hydrated. Here’s to that winter glow!
  1. Use hydrating masks. Can you think of anything as luxurious and pampering as a hydrating mask? In our Band-Aid analogy above, you’ll recall that the Band-Aid acts as a barrier that traps water in your skin, allowing moisture to stay at the surface instead of evaporating away. That’s essentially how masks work, too. You’re creating an artificial barrier that lets moisture build up in your skin, hydrating the surface. When you take the mask off, your skin is softer and replenished.

For a fun, quick way to add hydrating masks to your routine, try our Pre: Empt Shower Mask. It’s activated by heat and steam, so apply it while you’re in the shower. You can use it as often as every other day, or once a week.

For a more luxurious, process-oriented masking experience, use our Cocoa Moisture Mask. The Cocoa-Enriched Microcapsules in this mask transform from off-white to a deep brown during application, and it’ll give you an intense boost of hydration, while making your skin feel firm, radiant, and renewed. Use it once or twice a week.

  1. Make Cold Plasma Plus a daily part of your routine. We saved the best for last, and for good reason. The beauty of our Cold Plasma Plus serum is that its powerhouse, multitasking ingredients work for every skin condition, every skin type, and every season. And, Cold Plasma Plus is clinically proven to improve loss of radiance, uneven texture, and uneven skin tone—and in these winter months, nothing is more important.

Think of Cold Plasma Plus as your essential multivitamin. Your skin’s needs change depending on the day, the week, or the year. We designed this product to meet all of those needs with every application. Your skin will take advantage of the ingredients—Copper Tripeptides, Vitamin C Ester, Omegas 3, 6, 9, and more—as it needs them. Trust us, your skin will thank you!

So, there you have it! Your ultimate guide to winter skincare. As December arrives and you trade in your summer wardrobe for a warmer one, take some inventory of your skincare wardrobe as well. Are you using a lot of foaming cleansers and harsh exfoliators? Are you lacking in hydrating masks? Make the switch to gentle, nourishing products now—your skin will thank you for it.

Ready to get a jumpstart on your winter skincare regimen? Take your first step with Cold Plasma Plus.