7 steps to glowing winter skin, from upping the retinoid ante to beating the redness

Stabbing winds, colder temperatures and the ravages of central heating (if you’ve allowed yourself that luxury) can wreak havoc on skin during colder seasons. All environmental factors can affect the look and feel of our skin, but winter presents a unique challenge as harsher conditions disrupt the skin’s barrier function. In response, our skincare regimen needs an update to combat the fluctuating climates. Fear not though, award-winning aesthetic physicians Dr. Sophie Shotter and Dr. Parisha Acharya share their seven tips for the best winter skin of your life.

The non-negotiable step


Even when it’s miserable outside, SPF is a must. “UVA levels in the winter are pretty much the same as in the summer months,” confirms Dr. Shotter, who believes in applying a layer of SPF after moisturizing (and before you put on your makeup).

“Sunscreen is your ultimate anti-aging product. It helps protect against skin cancer, precancerous changes and promotes skin health by preserving collagen and elastin which act as scaffolding for our skin,” adds Dr. Acharya, a facial aesthetics specialist based in London. Both experts recommend Heliocare 360. ​° Fluid Cream (3) (heliocare.co.uk; £28) on, but Teoxane Advanced Perfecting Shield SPF30 (teoxane.com; £52) and Horace’s Mattifying Face Cream SPF30 (9) (horace.co; £22) are great options too.As non-comedogenic formulations, they give excellent coverage without blocking pores and causing breakouts – meaning there’s no excuse to skip this step.

Choose your fighter


If there’s anything you want to tackle, from blemishes to dullness, now’s the time to do it. “In the summer we tend to be a bit cautious, as active ingredients can make us more sensitive to the sun,” says Dr. Shotter. Take advantage of the cloudy skies and introduce products with higher concentrations of active ingredients. But remember, use only one, not all at once, to avoid unnecessary irritation.

Farmacy’s Waterless 10% Vitamin C (farmacylondon.com; £48) will help heal blemishes, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum (theordinary.com; £10) will guarantee brighter skin, and Mantle’s recently launched Rebound Serum ( mantle .co.uk; £80) contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and CBD ingredients that promote glowing skin. Use daily at night after cleansing (but before moisturizing) for at least three months to see proper results.

Antioxidant serums are also a must in your skin care routine. “They help protect your skin from environmental stressors that cause free radical damage, such as UV light and pollution,” explains Dr. 91) or PCA skin vitamin B3 Brightening serum (pcaskin.co.uk; £105) once a day in the morning followed by your favorite SPF.

Be a skincare stripper

Winter skin care

“To maintain a summer glow in the winter, you need to exfoliate the dead skin cells from the surface,” says Dr. Shotter. The absence of strong sunshine also makes it a good time to increase the use of AHAs, which help strip away the skin’s surface so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells can emerge. Dr. Shotter recommends SkinCeuticals Glycolic Overnight Renew (skinceuticals.co.uk; £80) or Medik8’s Press & Glow (medik8.com; £28) for a gentler PHA-backed product. Ranvat Imperial Glow Facial Polish (4) (cultbeauty.co.uk; £45) contains finely ground rice powder and nourishing almond oil to leave skin smooth and refreshed. Or invest in a professional facial like Dr. Acharya’s GlowGetter SkinCocktail which uses a specialized 24 carat needle device to inject a blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants for deeper exfoliation.

Build that barrier

Winter skin care

“I’m a big fan of adding slightly richer ingredients to our winter regimens – ceramides and lipids are essential here,” says Dr Shotter. Try the Soho Skin Cream Cleanser (sohoskin.com; £55) for a super nourishing cleanser. The cream-to-foam formula is super hydrating thanks to a blend of oat amino acids and prebiotics, but still leaves skin squeaky clean. Then Kiehl’s Ultra Facial cream (kiehls.co.uk, £29) or Dr Barbara Sturm Face cream (drsturm.com; £50) and Oodee’s hero Nova Illuminating Moisturizer (8) (oodee.com; £55) are all great for retaining moisture and reducing trans-epidermal water loss. For those willing to splurge, Costa Brazil’s Óleo Para A Face Kaya Oil (7) (livecostabrazil.com; £115) is packed with barrier-building lipids. And for heavenly scented body lotion, try Byredo Body Lotion Mohave Ghost (2) (byredo.com; £47).

Up the retinoid ante

Paula’s choice

Winter is an excellent time to increase your use of retinoids. They are hailed as miracle products thanks to their all-round anti-aging, antioxidant and cell-renewing properties. “Retinoids increase our sensitivity to the sun, so some skin types struggle with them in the summer,” says Dr. Shotter. This winter, hit up Nóttnuit EVEN Radiance Face Serum (1) (nottnuit.com; £116), Soho Skin Renewal Serum (5) (sohoskin.com; £76) and Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment (paulaschoice .co.uk; £58). However, if you haven’t used retinoids before, it takes time for the skin to get used to it. Dr. Acharya says be gradual – apply the product once a week at night for the first few weeks, before ramping it up every other day to achieve amazing results without compromising your skin’s barrier function.

Beat redness

Evening standard

If you’re prone to redness during the winter months, Dr. Shotter to add a product like the SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer (skinceuticals; £65) or La Roche-Posay Rosaliac UV Riche Anti-Redness Moisturizer (laroche-posay.co. UK; £17.50). Both help to reduce blood flow to the skin and get rid of that winter flush

The Cicapair Tiger Grass Collection from Dr. Jart+ has become the brand of choice for fighting skin redness thanks to the holy grail ingredient Centella Asiatica (aka tiger grass). Derived from an herb that grows in the wetlands of Asia, the Korean range provides a soothing effect while also improving skin texture and forming a protective barrier. Their Color Correcting Treatment (drjart.co.uk; £16) and Tiger Grass Re.pair Serum (drjart.co.uk; £34) are TikTok cult favourites.

Take the lifesaving step

Check your moles regularly

/ rex

For dr. Shotter, a mole check should be part of your body’s annual maintenance regimen, and winter is the perfect time to do it. “Problem moles can appear anywhere on the body, from our scalp to our genitals, to the soles of our feet,” she says. “I like to get everything checked out professionally to make sure I have nothing to worry about, especially in an area I can’t see myself.”

Between annual appointments, a helpful guide to self-assessment of your moles is the ABCDE rule (asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolving), recommends Dr. Acharya, who agrees that if you’re worried, you urgently need to see your doctor or dermatologist.

7 steps to glowing winter skin, from upping the retinoid ante to beating the redness

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