Men's Winter Skincare Essentials

A guide to what you should be doing to ace your skincare during the winter

man in snow forest
Words by Rebecca Loades
Nov 28, 2022 

Our skin can take an absolute beating during the winter. The wind, the rain, the freezing cold temperatures, the central heating; they all have a big effect on the health of our skin and we have to adapt our grooming routines to help protect and restore it. And in our busy lives, it’s easy to neglect our skincare. Now is the time to invest in some quality men’s skincare and really take care of it, before the damage sets in for good! That may sound dramatic, but our skin is fragile and if we don’t look after it, we’ll be paying for it later on. 

One of the main issues with changes in the colder seasons is the lack of humidity in the air. This causes a massive drop of intake in moisture which can lead to red, itchy, irritated skin: these are all symptoms of dry skin. If it’s not dealt with, skin can even crack and become sore. To compensate for the dropping temperatures, we tend to whack up the temperatures indoors (including the heat of our morning shower) which does the opposite, and actually draws the remaining moisture out of our skin. Even sitting by a lovely roaring fire can cause moisture to evaporate from the epidermis (top layer of the skin) - sad times! 

Skin in the winter can also just be dull and lacklustre due to the reduction in sunlight. Less sunshine means less vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for cell renewal and the skin’s immune system. 

Let’s get our skin sorted this winter - the sooner you start, the better. It's easy to get confused with what products you really need to be using, so we've made it simpler by picking out the absolute essentials for this winter. 

So, What Should You Be Using This Winter?

Serum - A serum is a highly concentrated liquid which contains specific ingredients to target different skin needs, and will deeply penetrate through the layers of skin. If you haven’t ventured into using serums yet, using one this winter would be a good way to start. You can use a serum on its own, but it will really boost your skin after cleansing and with a moisturiser added afterwards. Serums can be used to target acne and dark circles, as well as simply adding intense hydration and boosting dull skin - perfect for the winter! 

Moisturiser - This will be your best friend for your skin in winter. It is essential that you moisturise your skin (on your face and body) everyday. If you don’t you will probably notice a tightening in your skin, and that means your skin is drying out. If there is one product you need to invest in this winter, it is a high performing moisturiser. Make sure you use one which suits your skin type, but in the winter you will probably find you use something a bit richer as it will be more deeply hydrating. When moisturising your face, make sure you take the product all the way down the neck. If you aren’t sure about serums on your face yet, use a moisturiser straight after cleansing - even better if the skin is ever so slightly damp. Don’t forget to use it night and day.  

Cleanser - Choosing the right cleanser for your face is just as important as choosing the right moisturiser. Even though you might not be sweating as much as in the summer, or even just venturing outside in general, our skin still gets dirty and this is mainly due to the natural life cycle of our skin cells. If we don’t remove the build up of dead skin cells, our pores get blocked and start to overproduce sebum. Even if our skin is dry and dehydrated, this natural oil produced by our skin can build up and cause blackheads and breakouts. No one wants to be permanently wrapped up in a scarf hiding those nasty red blotches! Also, a good bit of advice is to use a facial cleanser which is unscented, especially for sensitive skin, as synthetic scents can dry the skin out. Products that contain natural plant extracts or oil are always a good way to go. If you suffer from sensitive skin, avoid any harsh cleansers, especially in the winter. 

cream product background

Exfoliator - We recommend exfoliating twice a week, all year round - as long as it is appropriate for your skin type. A good scrub can help to remove the build up that your cleanser might not reach. The trick with an exfoliator in winter is to not use something that is abrasive on your skin. Anything that literally feels like it is scratching off a few layers of precious skin should be avoided - it will do your skin no favours at all. If you have sensitive skin, perhaps avoid an exfoliator all together and swap it for a gentle toner

SPF - For some, it might be shocking to know that you still need to wear an SPF during the winter. In fact, just like moisturising and cleansing, we need to wear an SPF everyday of the year. The higher factors are more necessary for the hotter months, but the higher the factor, the more protected your skin will be. Those pesky UV rays unfortunately target our skin cells as soon as we step outside. So, after your daily moisturiser, whack on a bit of SPF and it will certainly help against the signs of ageing. Try and avoid an SPF that is heavy and tacky, as it can block your pores and cause unnecessary breakouts. 

Beard Care - Any facial hair needs plenty of nourishment in the winter. Your beards can dry out just as much as your skin! A frizzy beard can be avoided by using a hydrating beard oil, and if you aren’t blessed with a full beard but prefer to regularly shave, make sure you concentrate on your pre and post shaving routines. Using an oil before you shave, and a moisturising lotion afterwards, will make a huge difference to your skin. Look out for beard oils containing jojoba and avocado oil which are rich in vitamins and fatty acids to help improve the health of the hair follicles. 

Other Products To Consider

  • Hyaluronic Acid - is known as a ‘topical hydrator’ and also a humectant. A humectant means it will help the skin to hold onto moisture. An increase in moisture in the epidermis will plump up the skin and reduce the signs of fine lines. Hyaluronic acid is actually already present in our bodies, but as we age, our natural supplies dramatically decrease and so we have to help restore it.  
  • Vitamin C - introducing a high quality vitamin C serum into your skincare routine will add a healthy ‘glow’ to your skin. It can reduce the signs of sun damage, reduce hyperpigmentation, promote collagen production, and smooth out skin tone. 
  • Vitamin E - this works as an antioxidant for the skin and a humectant. It also works as an emollient (it traps water in the skin) which makes any product that contains it, extremely hydrating. Vitamin E can work well for skin conditions such as eczema as it reduces inflammation in the skin. To see if it is suitable for your skin, it might be better to try it out in a moisturiser that contains vitamin E, and then move on to a more potent serum.
  • Retinoid - skincare gurus swear by retinoids for resurfacing the skin, treating acne, boosting dull skin, minimising pores, and reducing the signs of ageing. Unfortunately, you can’t just buy a single retinoid without understanding what it’s really going to do to your skin, as they work in different ways and you have to build up a tolerance over time. It’s worth talking to a dermatologist about introducing a retinoid if you want to get serious with your skincare. 

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