Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter Skincare

Often, as the seasons change, so does our skin, and sometimes so should our skincare. Generally, skin becomes much more dehydrated and irritable in the colder months. Personally, I use prescription tretinoin (Retin-A) year round, so I'm prone to flakiness as well as dehydration as my skin's moisture barrier is compromised by the drier air.  Rather than completely change every product I'm using, I just add in a few things to try to keep my skin balanced.

Here's my skincare line-up for the winter months:

Cleanser:  Olay Regenerist Micro-Purifying Foaming Cleanser -- I use this year-round.  It cleanses well and makes my skin feel clean without stripping.  I still have oily spots on my skin that need a non-creamy cleanser. (It is possible to have dehydrated skin with surface oil.  Dry is different than dehydrated.)

Toner: Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray (review) -- A soothing, hydrating toner with good anti-irritants.

Face Oil: Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil -- I use this pretty much year-round (a little less in the summer).  It soothes and hydrates the skin without feeling heavy.

AM Treatment: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum -- A serum full of antioxidants, peptides, hydrators, and cell-communicating ingredients.  Another product I use year-round.

PM Treatment (3-4 times a week): Prescription Tretinoin (generic Retin-A) -- The gold standard anti-acne and anti-aging cell-communicating retinoid.  I use this after my Josie Maran Argan Oil and with nothing else.  Retinoids don't play well with other products with active ingredients.  Another year-round item.

PM Treatment (3-4 times a week): Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment (review) -- This has salicylic acid and glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin. Exfoliating the skin helps moisturizer and other treatments sink into the skin better.  I use this on the nights I don't use tretinoin.  I also use this year-round.

Moisturizer Without Sunscreen: Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer for Dry Comination Skin -- A moisturizing cream full of cell-communicating ingredients, antioxidants, and humectants, and it's fragrance-free!  This is something I start using when the weather starts to change.

Moisturizer With Sunscreen: Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40 -- High SPF is especially important when using a retinoid and/or glycolic acid.  This has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the sunscreen, hydrating oils, and antioxidants.  I do use this year-round, but more often in the winter because I use my Stila Tinted Moisturizer less and a cream foundation more (Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse) that doesn't have sunscreen in it.

Specialty: Aquaphor -- I use this petrolatum-based skin protector when my skin gets extra flaky or irritated and I need an occlusive ointment type treatment to really hold in moisture.  It also has glycerin and panthenol to hydrate.  Also great on cuticles and lips.

Lips: Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rose Kiss (review) -- This stuff is so smooth and soft.  I like using it throughout the day if I'm at home and not wearing lip color.

Another thing I like to do is to moisturize while my skin is still damp.  This helps to trap and hold in the moisture that is already on the skin.

I obviously don't use all of these everyday.  I pick and choose what I need for that day depending on how my skin is feeling.

It's important to keep the skin's moisture barrier in tact in the winter to minimize irritation and inflammation.

Does your skincare change when the seasons change?  Any favorite products?


  1. I hope you don't mind me asking, but how long have you been using Retin-A? Did your skin freak out when you first started it? I've read a lot of great things about Tretinoin but the stories about "purging" scare me a little bit.

    1. I've been using Retin-A for several years. I had used it when I was younger (teens to mid-twenties), but quit using it for several years for some reason. When I started back on it, my skin took maybe 5-6 months to adjust. It wasn't exactly breakouts, but my forehead was bumpy. From what I remember, the rest of my skin was fine breakout-wise, but it did get flaky (it still does sometimes, which is how I know I've used too much). After the adjustment period my skin totally smoothed out. It was worth the six months of bumpiness, in my opinion, since I know using it provides so many benefits. You could work up slowly to a prescription retinoid by first using an over the counter product with retinol in it for a few months. I found the key with Retin-A was to be patient and persistent.

    2. Hmm, OK. Thanks for the advice! I may try an OTC retinol and see what happens from there.

    3. You may find an over the counter retinol does everything you want and you don't need to bother with Retin-A.

  2. So many lovely, nourishing picks! The Clinique Super Rescue sounds fab :)


    1. Thanks Jen! That Clinique moisturizer also comes in a lighter formula for oily skin that I think I want to try during the warmer months.