Skincare ingredients you should use for winter
Suddenly, somehow, it’s winter. The days are short, there are Christmas decorations everywhere, and if you live in a part of the country that requires you to turn your heat on – your skin is dehydrated. We’ve written many times about ways to combat dryness (invest in a humidifier ASAP if you haven’t already), but did you know you should change your skincare routine with the seasons?
In the colder and drier months (through at least March), I swap out my daily and nightly moisturizer with something thicker than I wear in the summer months. This often looks like a rich creme that would cause you to sweat profusely if you wore it on a hot day in August.
Below we highlight four ingredients to look out for when shopping for a winter moisturizer. Many of these ingredients fit into the category of emollients or humectants. Emollients are skin “softeners” or “smoothers,” and humectants are ingredients that draw water from the air or deeper in the skin to combat dryness.
1. Hyaluronic acid
This is one of the most powerful and popular ingredients found in moisturizers – and it’s so potent that many people incorporate it into their skincare routines standalone. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally in the body and is partially responsible for keeping the skin smooth and supple. As we age, the body produces less hyaluronic acid naturally, so adding this synthetic ingredient to your routine is essential (your body won’t know the difference). Like some of the other ingredients below, it’s less thick or tacky than other moisturizers and can be good for all seasons. Find hyaluronic acid complex in LaserAway Beauty Drenched Peptide Enriched Moisturizer.
Like hyaluronic acid, this is a naturally occurring substance in human tissue (and also animal and plant tissue). Its inclusion in a moisturizer will help keep your skin barrier strong to prevent dryness. Most glycerin in skincare products comes from plants like soybean. It has a similar effect to hyaluronic acid but can be thicker and more potent, so it’s a great ingredient to look for when targeting an especially dry spot. For example, the highly-effective and very inexpensive Vaseline Intensive Repair Lotion contains glycerin.
3. Aloe vera
You may have historically used aloe vera for sunburns (or minor scrapes and razor burn), but the same reason it’s effective in combating sunburn is why it’s a great ingredient to look for in a winter moisturizer: the ingredient, which is derived from aloe vera plants, is rich in antioxidants, minerals, amino acids and comprises 99.5% water. Like glycerin, it’s a relatively inexpensive ingredient like glycerin and can be found in basic lotions and moisturizers such as Jergen's Soothing Aloe Lotion for under 10 bucks.
4. Shea butter
This is among the thickest and most potent ingredients on the list. Shea butter is a powerful moisturizer and makes skin smoother, so powerful, in fact, that it could lead to breakouts if used on the face. It’s a better ingredient to look for in body lotions unless you’re incredibly dry and not acne prone. Shea butter is easily absorbed into the skin and creates a barrier that seals in moisture and can last for hours. The best time to apply it is right after a shower to seal in moisture (as opposed to right before a workout, preventing you from sweating and causing you to overheat). One of the most loved shea butter products on the market is Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter.
5. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)
One of these things is not like the other. You may think of AHA products in the context of scrubs and peels, but AHAs such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid actually do draw in moisturize. They also help the body get rid of dead skin cells (which is why they are likely an ingredient in one of your favorite peels). The shedding of dead skin is essential in winter when your skin is dry and flakey. Look for it in a product like SkinMedica's AHA/BHA Cream, which is thick and rich, but also a brightening agent – the lactic, glycolic, and malic acids (plus salicylic acid) exfoliate, firm, and ultimately moisturizer the skin with the addition of aloe vera (see above!) and squalane oil.
Create a solid SkinFitness™ skincare routine this winter and beyond consisting of a high-quality sunscreen, gentle cleanser, and moisturizer formulated with peptides and ceramides. Check out LaserAway Beauty to learn more about dermatologist-tested and developed top-of-the-line skincare products.
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.