It’s the top of the year and we’re also stuck in the middle of some grizzly, cold winter months. Whether you struggle with sensitive skin or not, now’s the best time to go over your skincare habits and routine, and tweak some things that just may help your skin stay at it’s best and combat the effects of this colder climate.

Not sure if you’re dealing with sensitive skin? Well, there’s many signs. If you’ve recently noticed redness, itchiness, stinging or burning, flakiness, peeling or rashes – more than likely, you’re dealing with sensitive skin. Don’t be alarmed if this is a major change for you, as the winter months typically bring frigid temperatures, stress, travel and sleep deprivation. With these changes, it’s very common to also see changes in your skin. 

So how can we take better care of our skin in these winter months? Well, it all starts with taking stock of the skincare products that you have in your arsenal, as well as being more mindful of the skincare habits that you practice on a daily basis. Check out our checklist below!

  1. 1. Cleanse Less – Yes, You Heard That Right!

The key to keeping your skin at its best during these winter months is retaining its moisture, as well as its natural oils. It’s great to want to keep your skin clean, free of environmental toxins, and remove makeup but over-cleansing will “strip the skin of its natural barrier and fatty acids,” causing prolonged dryness and irritation. During the harsh winter months, it’s recommended that sensitive skin only be cleansed once a day (unless makeup needs to be removed) and cleansed with an ultra-gentle cleanser. 

  1. 2. Please Do Not Over-Exfoliate

Usually when we notice that our skin is flaky or peeling, we immediately run to exfoliate as a means to remove those dead skin cells as fast as possible. Be weary of over-doing this in the winter. Exfoliation is definitely essential because it also allows for our skincare products to penetrate deeper, but exfoliating sensitive skin more than twice a week is definitely not necessary. Also, keep in mind that you should be using a gentle “fine-grained” physical exfoliant.  

  1. 3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

The key to making sure that sensitive skin retains its moisture during the dry winter months is to moisturize daily. This will definitely keep the flakes and dryness at bay, also minimizing the need to over-exfoliate. Consider incorporating serums into your daily skincare routine that contain hyaluronic acid for moisture retention and omega fatty acids for restoring the skin’s barrier. Also be sure to always test any potential facial oils and serums you’d like to use, on a small spot on your face for at least three days to ensure that it will not lead to any major irritation, breakout or rash.

  1. 4. Opt for Fragrance Free

Another way to avoid any potential irritation or rashes on your skin is to opt for products that are fragrance free. Because fragrance is the most common ingredient found in most skincare products, it's usually the culprit behind any redness, itching, burning or dryness. Removing products from your arsenal that are strong in fragrance, and being mindful of only purchasing products that are fragrance free can do wonders for improving your skin’s sensitivity. It’s recommended to always read the labels on the products you’re considering purchasing, looking out for slogans that identify that the product is “formulated for sensitive skin.” A key tip to mastering this, is choosing the products that have the shortest ingredient label.

  1. 5. Try “Clean” Skincare and Makeup Products

If you’ve found that you’re someone who may need to start their skincare collection over, now’s your chance to make the process nice and simple by looking to “clean” skincare and makeup products. Products that are formulated “clean” usually feature less harmful additives and irritants, and more natural ingredients. “Clean” products are usually plant-based, cruelty-free, vegan free, dye-free, and are more transparent about the ingredients it incorporates while also being transparent about where they are sourced from. Utilizing “clean” products will leave you more confident about the ingredients you’re using on your face, and ease the effects of sensitive skin.