Winter is no longer coming, it has officially arrived, and I’m ecstatic. I’m definitely not a summer person, and I unfortunately live in one of the hottest places in the U.S., so any time of the year I’m not a sweaty mess darting from one air conditioned room to another is my favorite time of year. My skin, however, doesn’t feel the same way that I do. I mean honestly, there’s never a time of year that it’s content due to how rapidly the weather shifts in my state, but I digress.
I deal with dehydrated skin all year, so fortunately (or unfortunately), this isn’t a new situation that I’m dealing with. But basically no humidity and temperatures averaging freezing at night combined with intermittent heater usage throughout the day brings levels of dehydration that my beloved humidifier cannot alleviate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doing a lot of good work, but some support is definitely needed. So here are some hacks and things I do to my routine to help my dehydrated skin get through the winter.
I deal with dehydrated skin all year, so while my humidifier is doing good work, some support is needed. Here are my skin care routine hacks for winter dehydration.
Add Boosters to Your Routine
I’m fortunate enough to take advantage of the holiday sales, and when I’m picking out all my skin care for the upcoming year (yes, I shop for almost the entire upcoming year; I am very intense about my holiday sales), I actually don’t go out and buy new products just for the colder weather anymore. I did this for a little while, but I just ended up with a ton of partially used products that I “put away for later” while I switch to the more moisturizing, richer products for winter. Spoiler alert: I always forgot about all these half-used products, and they ended up just going bad.
What I now do instead is buy products that can help beef up my current routine so that I can keep using my current serum or moisturizer until they’re finished. The first “booster” type products for me come in the form of two to four drops of facial oil in my current moisturizer to make a richer product that I can customize depending how my skin feels that day. This way I also avoid the risk of buying a moisturizer that just ends up being too heavy for my oily/combination skin and having nothing to keep my skin balanced while I look for a different product.
Another winter skin care hack I’ve had a lot of success with is mixing a serum with a creamy or lotion consistency with whatever watery/gel hydrating serum I’m currently using. Mixing these two kinds of products results in an almost gel-cream sort of texture that I can carry on using well into the spring if the product ends up lasting a good while. Using one or both of these types of products as a “booster” has helped me a ton by keeping my skin happy and ensuring that I’m not feeding into a cycle of half-used products that end up expiring.
Layer Your Current Products
If shopping for skin care just isn’t in the cards for you or you already have a drawer filled with product, another winter skin care hack is to utilize your existing products in multiple layers throughout your routine.
I’ve had many conversations with friends and clients where the concept of product layering in targeted areas is not only something that they hadn’t considered or heard of before, but something they worried could somehow harm their skin. With the exception of products that have exfoliating properties, retinoids, or some other type of active ingredient like a high percentage of vitamin C, there’s a good chance you can address any extra dryness and/or dehydration you’re experiencing by layering your products in a targeted approach.
Let’s use the current state of my skin, for example. The most dehydrated area of my face would be my cheeks, so after I use my normal hydrating toner and hydrating serum combo, I would go back in with another blob of my serum and layer it over my cheeks to give them the attention they need, but not apply more product into my T-zone that’s quite happy with one layer.
The area around my mouth is always a little drier than the rest of my face due to shaving multiple times a week, so after I get my initial layer of moisturizer down, I’d grab another tiny blob to layer over this lonely little dry patch on my face while leaving the rest of my face alone because just one layer is more than enough to make it feel comfy.
There’s a good chance you can address any extra dryness and/or dehydration you’re experiencing by layering your products in a targeted approach.
Pull Back As Needed
I know there are a lot of people who choose to rotate active ingredients like retinol in and out of their routine depending on the season. And while I think it’s always best to go by how your skin is feeling on any given week or day rather than making a decision based on several months of weather that can be very unpredictable, it’s worth considering pulling back on how frequently you use anything that could be contributing to that tight, uncomfortable feeling.
Any type of exfoliant, regardless of whether it’s a physical scrub, enzyme mask, chemical exfoliants, or anything else that’s going to be helping you shed those dead skin cells, can inherently lead to an uptick in dryness/dehydration. So scaling back on how often you’re exfoliating or swapping out for a gentler product can help curb some of those side effects that your skin may be more prone to this time of year.
I personally notice an increase in dehydration when I incorporate a vitamin C product or a retinoid, so if you’re using one or both of these types of products, it may be good to scale down the frequency on these types of products too. I actually decided to pull my vitamin C product out entirely, and I don’t feel like I’ve seen any negative changes in my skin at this point, and it absolutely helped tone down how dehydrated my skin has been feeling.
I hope that everyone is making it through the winter alright. It almost seems customary to comment on how this season is definitely an atypical one due to the state of things. Please remember to take care yourselves, and I’m wishing you all a happy New Year.