Dermatologists agree, this is the ultimate winter skincare routine

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Looking to switch up your skincare routine in anticipation of the colder months ahead? We’ve asked the experts for their favourite winter skin saviours, and the results are in…

If you find that your skin freaks out in winter, you’re not alone. From the cold weather to fluctuations in central heating, our skin takes a battering in the colder months. The result? Dry, irritated skin that’s more prone to breakouts.

So how do you combat seasonal skin fluctuations? By adapting your winter skincare routine. We’re not suggesting you completely chuck away every skincare product in your bathroom cabinet, but by making a few small tweaks, you can really help to bolster your skin’s natural protection, leaving your complexion happy and healthy in the run-up to winter. 

What ingredients should you look out for?

Keeping an eye on your ingredient lists can help when knowing whether a product is really suitable for both your skin type, and the season in which you’re using it.

“Ingredients your skin craves in winter include nourishing omegas 3 and 6, ceramides, rosehip and squalene,” says Mark Curry, co-founder of The Inkey List.

But you don’t need a degree in chemistry to figure out which winter skincare products are right for you. 

“The focus should be on the prevention of dehydration,” says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. “You can do this simply by using a mild cleanser, a hydrating serum and then frequently layering a moisturiser on top.” 

Why do you get jawline spots in winter?

“A lot of clients get acne around the jawline and neck during the winter months” says Pamela Marshall, clinical aesthetician and co-founder of Mortar & Milk. “This is usually due to dirty scarves and jacket collars that constantly touch our face.”

“Make sure you’re cleaning these regularly. If you see make-up around the collar of your puffer jacket, it needs to be cleaned.”

Your foolproof winter skin routine 

No matter what your skin type is, we’ve asked the experts to recommend their must-have winter skincare routine products – that will help to protect and nourish your skin, all winter long. From the best cleanser for dry skin to the nourishing serums that will banish breakouts, we’ve got your winter skincare routine sorted.      

The best cleansers for winter skin

Look for creamy, mild cleansers that will thoroughly cleanse the skin, without stripping it of its natural oils. 

  • Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Cream

    “I would always recommend using a creamy cleanser, preferably with PHAs,” says Pamela Marshall. “My favourite is Exuviance’s Gentle Cleansing Cream. I would use this for all skin types.”

    Shop Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Cream at Mortar and Milk, £31

    Buy now

  • Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

    This award-winning cleansing balm is packed with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. The balm melts away dirt and make-up for comfortable, nourished and cleansed skin.

    Shop Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm at Boots, £46

    Buy now

  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser

    Dr Justine Kluk recommends this mild, gentle cleanser for sensitive skin types. 

    Shop Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser at Lookfantastic, £10

    Buy now

The best serums for winter skin

Layering a hydrating serum under your moisturiser can help with excess water loss. If your skin is sensitive, take caution with active ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy acids or retinol. Instead, try more easily tolerated options, such as peptides, bakuchiol or PHAs; these will help to give your skin a boost, without irritation.

  • Skinceuticals Serum 10

    Dr Kluk recommends this hydrating serum for sensitive skin types. It’s a blend of vitamin C and ferulic acid that helps prevent free radical damage and promotes a radiant, healthier-looking complexion.

    Shop Skinceuticals Serum 10 at Lookfantastic, £85

    Buy now

  • Medik8 Hydr8 B5

    Perfect for layering, Dr Kluk recommends this hydrating serum for dry skin types. 

    Shop Medik8 Hydr8 B5 at SpaceNK, £40

    Buy now

  • Herbivore Bakuchiol Serum

    This hardworking serum resurfaces dull skin without causing the peeling and irritation associated with retinol products. 

    Shop Herbivore Bakuchiol Serum at Cult Beauty, £45 

    Buy now

The best moisturisers for winter skin

A good moisturiser helps to lock in hydration, acting as a barrier against your skin and any environmental aggressors. 

  • The Inkey List Ceramide Night Treatment

    This clever ceramide treatment offers intense overnight hydration, making it the perfect final step in your winter skin routine. Combining 3% SK-Influx ceramide complex with 2.5% hyaluronic acid, the nourishing mask plumps and penetrates deep into the epidermis for multi-layered hydration, ensuring a fully nourished skin barrier.

    Shop The INKEY List Ceramide Night Treatment at Lookfantastic, £14.99 

    Buy now

  • Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

    There’s a reason why every beauty editor loves this face cream. Formulated by Professor Augustinus Bader, one of the world’s leading stem cell experts, The Rich Cream utilises the patented ‘Trigger Factor Complex’ to strengthen the skin, delivering deep hydration and a protective shield against extreme climates.  

    Shop Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream at SpaceNK, £125 

    Buy now

  • Polaar The Genuine Lapland Cream

    This vitamin-rich moisturiser is packed with nourishing Arctic rhodiola – a flower that grows in the extreme conditions of Siberia and effectively repairs dryness and sensitive skin caused by environmental aggressors – making it perfect for seriously dry, winter ravaged skin.

    Shop Polaar The Genuine Lapland Cream at Sephora, £32

    Buy now

  • Lancôme Advanced Genefique Repairing Night Cream

    Enriched with a complex of prebiotic and probiotic extracts, this rich night cream intensely hydrates while nourishing the skin’s barrier function.

    Shop Lancôme Advanced Genefique Repairing Night Cream at Lookfantastic, £65

    buy now

The best SPF for winter skin

Yep that’s right, SPF is important all year round. Not only does SPF protect against UV rays (which are still present on gloomy winter days) they can act as a barrier against pollution, city smog and grime. 

  • Bioderma Photoderm AR SPF50

    Dr Kluk recommends this budget-friendly SPF for everyday use – it’s perfect for sensitive skin types, too. 

    Shop Bioderma Photoderm AR SPF50 at John Bell & Croyden, £17

    Buy now

  • Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Camo Drops SPF 35

    A brilliant option for those with rosacea or pink-toned skin, this TikTok viral serum not only provides SPF 35 but expertly works to reduce redness and discolouration. 

    Shop Dr.Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Camo Drops SPF 35 at Boots, £35

    buy now

The best face masks for winter skin

Face masks are a great way to treat your skin to some at-home TLC during the winter. From mega-hydration to boosting your glow, these are our tried and tested favourites. 

  • Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask

    This nourishing face mask is enriched with avocado oils, Swiss glacier water and hyaluronic acid. It leaves your skin super smooth, plump and mega-hydrated. 

    Shop Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask at Lookfantastic, £24

    Buy now

  • Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

    If the winter weather causes your skin to look dull, this resurfacing face mask can help. The deeply cleansing pomegranate enzymes together with pink clay and brightening willow bark helps to speed up cell turnover, leaving your skin glowy and fresh.

    Shop Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask at SpaceNK, £57

    Buy now

The best lip treatments for winter skin

The skin on your lips is super thin and prone to dry out, quickly. “The best ingredient to look for is an essential fatty acid that can prevent transdermal water loss,” says facialist and founder of Quantum Botanika, Nataliya Robinson. Look out for lanolin: a thick emollient that’s ideal for locking in moisture, keeping the lips nourished and protected. 

  • Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment

    The OG lanolin product, this 100% pure medical grade lanolin balm holds 200% of its weight in moisture and contains no artificial fragrances, parabens, etrolatum, mineral oil or sulphates.

    Shop Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment at Boots, £10.89    

    Buy now

  • Quantum Botanika The Lip Cure

    This natural blend of beeswax, sweet almond oil, shea butter and lanolin leaves lips soft and replenished. 

    Shop Quantum Botanika The Lip Cure, £38

    Buy now

  • Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Repairing Lip Balm

    Blue lotus wax, cocoa extract and organic cupuassu butter work to repair the skin, moisturising, soothing and protecting. Apply a thick layer overnight and your lips will feel softer and less chapped by morning – guaranteed. 

    Shop Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Repairing Lip Balm at Boots, £20

    Buy now

Images: Getty; courtesy of brands

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