A dermal clinician's top 4 rules for healthy skin this winter

Expert tips for making it out of the cooler months alive

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / March 08 2024

Much like our wardrobes, our skin care routines require seasonal overhauls.

During summer, the skin care ingredients we use and the facial treatments we try are all determined by the warm temperatures and sun exposure synonymous with the season.

Similarly in winter, the bracing chill and lack of humidity has visible effects on the skin, such as dryness and dehydration.

But in Dermal Clinician James Vivian's opinion, prepping your skin and adapting your skin care routine for the cooler months doesn't have to be an involved task.

In fact, the Viviology skin care founder swears by just four simple rules, which ensure the skin stays healthy during winter...

1/ Use skin care ingredients that replenish moisture levels

Vivian recommends seeking out ingredients that help to replenish the loss of moisture in the skin, which can occur due to dehydration from heaters and sensitive winter skins. He says that soothing and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, sodium PCA, and glycerine and low-dose AHAs and PHAs are all excellent choices in winter.

Try: Viviology Liquid Exfoliant ($55 from Adore Beauty) / The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($15.90 from Adore Beauty) / Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense ($108 from The Iconic)


2/ Be gentle with your skin

Although winter is a great time to incorporate treatments that require a bit of downtime into your skin care routine, Vivian says to pay attention to how your skin reacts, because being gentle where possible could be the defining factor that stops your skin from being dehydrated in winter. 

"Prevention is always better than cure, so prevent dehydration before it occurs by ensuring a healthy skin barrier," he explains.

You can do this by not ensuring you're not over-exfoliating or using active ingredients, which might irritate the skin.

"Ingredients such as ceramides, amino acids, omegas and shea butter help to act as a band aid, retaining skin moisture and reducing hypersensitivity that the harsh winter weather often brings," he continues. 

Try: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream ($30.69 from Chemist Warehouse) / Bioderma Sensibio Soothing Defensive Serum ($38.69 from Chemist Warehouse) / Laneige Cream Skin Cerapeptide Toner & Moisturiser ($50 from Adore Beauty)

3/ Wearing SPF isn't just a summer activity

"SPF is a 365 day proposition," says Vivian. "In fact, there is the potential for more sun damage to occur in the winter months as many of us relax on our application."

"UVA radiation penetrates through clouds and windows and can be just as strong during the winter months," he went on to say.

In order to protect yourself, he advises using SPF year round as a daily sun protection strategy and he's a big fan of a wide brimmed sun hat too.

"Wearing SPF is so much about future-proofing our skins so that we have less issues to deal with later on in life," the dermal clinician explains. "It truly is an investment in our skin's future."

4/ It's the perfect time to try a treatment that requires downtime

During winter we all tend to spend a lot more time indoors, which is why it's the perfect time to try skin care treatments that require a bit of downtime. Plus, it's a wonderful opportunity to invest in more invasive treatments where patients are advised to minimise sun exposure post-treatment.

"Common treatments undertaken during the winter months include stronger chemical peels and laser resurfacing treatments which improve skin texture and clarity, as well as laser treatments to target pigmentation and redness," says Vivian.

"[It's also] the best time to get a skin cancer check as ideally [faux] summer tans have faded," he continues as this can reduce the potential for early detection.

There's no better time of the year than winter to try an at-home face peel. Here are seven we really rate

Main image credit: @hoskelsa

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).