How To Build A Winter Skincare Routine

'Tis the season to switch up your skincare, friends. Indeed, when the temperature drops, it's time to add a little more hydration into the mix. Your skincare doesn't actually change in the winter, but the environmental factors — like cold weather and dry air — can affect your skin differently than in other seasons (via Lionesse). That means stocking up on some new skincare items and adding a few more items into your routine that you might not need in the warmer months. 

You'll be happy to know that it's not necessary to completely rebuild your skincare routine for winter. While dermatologists do recommend adding a few key items into the medicine cabinet, they also believe in listening to your skin and not just the weather (via Fashionista). Here are all the items that you should add to your skincare routine and a few that you can keep the same. Because at the end of the day, it's about protecting your skin, not overwhelming it. 

Start with a cream cleanser

While not every single skincare item in your routine needs to be swapped for the colder months, it is worth it to switch up your cleanser. According to Real Simple, a cream cleanser is ideal for the winter months because it's more hydrating to your skin. "Foaming or salicylic acid-based cleansers are great at removing dirt and oil, but contain sulfates that can be more drying than other types of cleansers," Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told the publication. "Cleansing creams, balms, and oils can effectively wash the skin while keeping the skin hydrated and not disrupting the skin barrier."

So if you're a fan of foaming cleansers, it might be time to switch it up to protect your skin during colder months. The Skincare Edit recommends Blume's Day Dreamer Face Wash, which goes on like lotion and is for all skin types. Or, you know, you could just run to your local drugstore and try out whatever catches your eye. The main goal is to add hydration to your skin, which is great no matter what your budget is. 

Add an exfoliator into the mix

If you're looking to hydrate your skin during the colder season, you should actually add an exfoliator into the mix. Many people think that hydration only comes from moisturizers, but that's not actually the case. According to Bustle, moisturizing your skin doesn't do anything if you don't get rid of the dead skin cells on top of skin. That means you'll need an exfoliator in your routine. It also means that you'll want to exfoliate your skin a bit more often as well.

Of course, you won't want to exfoliate every day. Birchbox suggests kicking your exfoliation routine up to two times a week in the winter, so you can make sure you're getting rid of all the built-up dead skin cells but not overdoing it. If you're worried about your exfoliating being too harsh on your skin, you could always opt for one of the top gentle exfoliators like the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads that are super gentle and do the scrubbing work for you (via Byrdie).

Listen to your skin when it comes to moisturizer

Hold onto your makeup bags, because this recommendation might shock you. It turns out that you don't actually need to get a heavy moisturizer for the winter season. According to Fashionista, you should moisturize your skin based on your skin type — not the season. "In the past, perhaps you may have seen a benefit by choosing moisturizers and cleansers according to the season," Dr. Joshua Zeichner told the publication. "Nowadays, however, with advances in cosmetic chemistry and product formulation, that's not always the case: With so many well-formulated products on the market, your choice is determined by personal preference rather than necessity."

So the moisturizer that you have in your drawer right now might actually be okay for your skin during the winter. The biggest thing to do is to make sure that you're listening to your skin. If you've amped up your exfoliator and switched to a cream cleanser, you might not need to make any changes to your moisturizer at all. That saves you some money, honey.

Add an under-eye cream and a lip moisturizer

If you're not using an eye cream or lip moisturizers in the colder months, this is your sign to try them out. There's a reason that people reach for their lip balm in the colder months. According to Vogue, the skin around your eyes and on your lips are some of the thinnest on your body and have little to no oil glands. That means they're the places that you need to protect the most on your body. The publication suggests using oils on that part of your skin.

Amping up your skincare items once a year really isn't too bad. Especially considering that some of your staples can stay the same. The main lesson here is to always listen to your skin — no matter what month it is. When you give your skin what you're needing, you really can't go wrong. Bonus points that this gives you an excuse to try out some new brands.