My skin used to really struggle throughout Canadian winters. I would wake up with such dry skin that I thought my face cracked. My skin would naturally try to quench it’s thirst to the point that my face looked shiny by the end of the day and my acne worsened. If your routine is not working like mine wasn’t, winter may be accelerating skin aging. I now know the importance of winter skincare steps, product quality and ingredients. You don’t need to suffer through until Summer to have goodskin!
Here is a detailed list with links to the products that I found brought harmony to my skin, which is combination type (sensitive + oily + dry). If you are unsure what type of skin you have, take my Skin Type Quiz.
Step 1: Cleanser
SALICYLIC ACID: My favourite BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that helps turnover dead skin cells and gently exfoliates to bring hydration to acne-prone skin.
Step 2: Serum
My daytime serum is Eminence Citrus & Kale Vitamin C Serum. After washing my face, I pat my skin dry with a towel, apply 4 drops of the serum to my face (one on my forehead, L cheek, R cheek, chin) and then lightly press into the skin with my fingers.
VITAMIN C: A game changer for my acne scars and hyperpigmentation without aggravating sensitive skin areas.
My nighttime serum is Bioassance Squalene & 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. I worked my way up to 2 pumps / night applied to my T-zone (forehead/nose/chin), lower cheeks and jawline. This product is basically like doing a low-grade peel every night rather than an overly aggressive peel once and a while with an esthetician. Slow and steady is always my preference with skin!
SQUALENE: Squalene is basically a gentle retinol (miracle-worker for anti-aging and anti-clogged pores).
LACTIC ACID: A gentle but powerful exfoliator so that you wake up with radiant skin.
Step 3: Moisturizer
I was looking for a daytime hydrator that would also keep my acne-prone skin from feeling oily and would be a good primer for makeup. My mom introduced me to Eminence at a young age for it’s effective yet natural ingredients but it wasn’t until this Fall that I discovered Eminence’s Firm Acai line.
HYALURONIC ACID: Plump it up! This is the main component in cosmetic fillers. When applied topically, will increase epidermal water content and smooth out fine lines.
I love facial oils overnight. Sometimes I mix a bit with my daytime moisturizer. I normally use the facial oil that I use with patients during Facial Acupuncture, but this winter I switched it up. I was pleasantly surprised with rotating two facial oils from Fitglow: Vita Youth Oil and Cloud Collagen Oil. I apply a thin layer to my entire face and décolleté (never forget your neck!). If you don’t have a high-quality facial oil and you’re over the age of 25, it’s time to invest in one!
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH FACIAL OILS: First of all let’s bust this myth, high quality facial oils won’t clog your pores. Overnight facial oil is extremely anti-inflammatory and repairs the protective skin barrier that was lost during the day. I love to treat myself to gua sha or a facial roller for lymphatic drainage with facial oil as a base.
Step 4: Eye Cream
During the day, I find my Eminence moisturizer is enough to keep the skin around my eyes hydrated all day, probably because of the hyaluronic acid. However, at night I dab the outer corners and under eye area with Eminence Lavender Night Eye Cream. This cream feels super luxurious and the aromatherapy puts me in the mood for a nice deep sleep, something I take very seriously!
PUFFY PROBLEMS: If you experience genetic dark under eye circles or morning puffiness, you need a more active product than ones on the shelf. For my patients with this issue, I’ll make them a customized eye cream compounded with ingredients like EGCG, caffeine, sodium hyaluronate. etc.
Step 5: Lip Care
My biggest issue in the winter is chapped and painful lips! This happens from extreme weather conditions (ice cold wind), dry central air heat in my condo and, you can’t forget, the irritation these masks are causing on our delicate lips all day long. It’s super important to me that any lip care product I use is EWG-certified clean since any thing you put on your lips enters your mouth. To start, I use Epic Blend Lip Scrub in Mojito (comes in Salted Caramel too) to slough off dead skin cells and invigorate my lips by increasing blood flow.
AM Lip balm
Hurraw Sun Lip Balm in Tangerine Chamomile has SPF and feels creamy soft on my lips. I use it in the summer too. This is my favourite flavour out of the brand’s line.
PM Lip Serum
Fitglow Lip Night Serum is my top winter skincare must-haves. Seriously, you need to try this… nothing compares! I put a thick layer on overnight and I wake up with the nourishing oils still lingering. Last night, I walked the dog in extreme snow storm and my lips were totally protected (normally they would burn and dry out after a walk like that).
Add on: Weekly Mask
My favourite face mask of Winter 2020-2021 has been the Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Mask by Naturopathica. This one is packed with lactic acid which gives your pores a deep clean but not too much to where it strips your skin barrier and flares sensitive skin. Your serums will sink in better after using an exfoliating mask.
BEST PART ABOUT THIS PRODUCT: Makes your face smell like freshly baked pumpkin pie.
Most importantly: Humidity
Two winter’s ago I was at an anti-aging medicine conference in Miami. I met a lady who had the most glowy, hydrated, youthful skin. When she told me she was in her forty’s I honestly did not believe her. I asked her what her secret was to which she replied, “Florida humidity”. If you live in the northern hemisphere, like me, you can spend all the money in the world on skincare products but if you don’t have humidity in your environment, your skin is aging faster than the rest. Humidity keeps your moisture locked in and prevents the dermis from drying out. Make sure you A) Drink enough water B) Get a humidifier for your bedroom and even your office if necessary. After trying a few expensive brands, my favourite & very affordable humidifier is linked here, $79.99.