The Top Ten Winter Skin Care Woes: Solved

Many of us, regardless of the conditions we have on our skin, like dryness, acne or sensitivity, often feel that our skin is bothered by the winter weather. If you feel like your acne is getting worse or your rosacea is flaring up or, if you’re like me and you have dry skin, you feel […]

Many of us, regardless of the conditions we have on our skin, like dryness, acne or sensitivity, often feel that our skin is bothered by the winter weather.

If you feel like your acne is getting worse or your rosacea is flaring up or, if you’re like me and you have dry skin, you feel like you look ten years older in the winter, you will  be  interested in solving some of the top ten winter woes of skin care. 

Oftentimes we see people that generally have a good grasp on their skin care routine come to the spa in the winter and suddenly wonder why their skincare is no longer working for them.

I especially see this with my acne clients and with those with dry and dehydrated skin.  

Whenever the temperature outside is colder than the temperature inside and we have to use heaters in our homes and in our car, it wreaks havoc on our skin and compromises our skin barrier function.  

Both of those skin conditions tend to be quite reliant on their skin barrier.   What  do we mean when we refer to the “skin barrier”?  Basically that term refers to the top layers of the skin that contain the acid mantle, and hydro-lipid layer.  It is a delicate balance of pH.  If your skin barrier is weak or compromised, it could mean your skin is either acidic or alkaline (unbalanced pH), your water and oil levels are out of balance or the protein fibres of your skin are weak or missing.  

Topical products can really help us rebalance all of those factors.  And that is why it is so important to use the correct product during the winter. 

What is happening in the winter to cause our skin to go crazy? 

The main thing is that we lose very vital hydration. Which is water. 

Our skin gets most of its moisture from the atmosphere. In the winter when we have synthetic heat and then we’re going from hot to cold constantly –  the moisture is literally being sucked right out of you because the air is so incredibly dry. 

On top of that, that temperature fluctuation causes stress in the skin.  You’ve got wind and snow whipping against your face when your outdoors and then potentially high hot heat that  makes you sweat (especially if you’re still in winter gear).  

There is also the sun factor.  In terms of sun exposure you’ve really got it twice – once through direct contact and then again as reflection off of the snow.

In the winter our skin is working triple time to protect us.   Whew!

For those of you who are questioning whether or not you really need topical skin care products my answer to you is, yes absolutely. 

Humans have been using topical skin care for thousands of years. It is a natural thing for us to do.  Like eating food is for your internal body, skin care is feeding your largest organ, your skin, from the outside. 

Your skin is your first line of defence against bacteria and viruses.  Yet another reason to take winter skin health seriously. 

In the winter when that line of defence is compromised you can develop  conditions like psoriasis or eczema more easily.  We are more prone to rashes and contact dermatitis also. 

And your skin can become itchy and irritated. 

Let’s get down to business and answer your winter skin care questions.  

  • Do I really need to switch my routine in the winter?

YES!  In the winter our skin is stripped of vital moisture.  You need to replace that loss with topical products.  Drinking water helps, but your skin is the last place to get it.    

A simple tip is to switch to heavier products in the winter,  for example, from a gel cleanse to a milk or cream cleanse.  From a light moisturizer to a butter or oil.  Our Fave’s at the spa are Eminence Organics Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm or the Camillia Glow Face oil. 

  • Should I wear sunscreen in the winter?  

YES!  You will get twice the sun exposure in the winter.  Once from the sun itself and then again reflected off the snow. 

  • I keep hearing I shouldn’t exfoliate in the winter.  Is this true?

This depends on your skin.  If you are using a mechanical exfoliation I usually suggest switching  to a gentler enzymatic one like the Eminence Organics Yam & Pumpkin peel.  I would still continue to exfoliate in the winter as long as you do not have red, irritated or rashy skin.   However, exfoliate once or twice a week instead of three.   

  • Why does my acne get worse in the winter?  And how can I prevent that from happening? 

There are many factors that cause acne but keeping your barrier function balanced is a big one.  In the winter anti-acne products may be over-drying or too harsh.  So it is important you balance that by switching it up in the winter,  for example, if you are using strong prescription retinoids or other prescriptions you may talk to your doctor about using them less frequently.  I would also highly recommend using a single ingredient oil at night like rosehip oil.  You can also use black seed oil during the day.


Simplify your routine!!  Check your ingredients and make sure they do not contain, or contain little, exfoliating ingredients.  

Do not over cleanse!  Switch t o a more gentle cleanser, perhaps an oil  based  one or a gentle gel cleanser.  

Use a barrier cream when outdoors.  This is a  cream that is thicker and literally creates a barrier on your skin. 

Mask more frequently!  This step is so overlooked and it is  so great for acne clients.  Find a creamy soothing mask – something that reduces inflammation.  The one I love is the Calm Skin Mask by Eminence. 

Apply toner throughout the day.  This is great to do if you wear mineral makeup.  It will refresh it and  add  a  dewy look BUT it will also add hydration and  possible anti-inflammatory properties.  

  • Why is my skin itchy?

Itchy skin could be from several factors.

Dead skin not sloughing off properly and severe dehydration often leads to itchiness. 

Avoid super hot showers

Take shorter showers

Do not use electric heating blankets.  Use hot water bottles instead. 

Have a regular gentle exfoliation routine for the entire body.  Try dry brushing.

For the body use a hydrating lotion daily, like the Eminence Stone crop lotion and then at night use an oil like Eminence Wildflower Oil or Apricot Oil.  

Check the ingredients of your  laundry detergent and fabric softener.  Fragrance is very drying.  Avoid synthetic fragrances..  Look into natural solutions when it comes to your clothing care. 

  • I have flaky skin on my body.  Help!

See above about exfoliating the body!  

Do not use body wash. It normally contains Sodium lauryl sulphate which is very drying.   Use a natural soap bar. It will cost you a bit more but definitely avoid the cheap stuff.   Look for a natural glycerin soap, goat milk soap or authentic african black soap.

Wash your hair less frequently.  Shampoos are often laden with SLS and other drying ingredients and when you rinse your hair they affect the skin.    Again, be mindful of what you are using on your hair and try to use natural products.  We have natural soap bars at the spa that are fabulous. 

Apply lotion to the body twice a day.  Yes.  Twice a day.  Morning and night! 

Try ayurvedic body oiling with mustard seed oil.   Apply the oil before your shower.  This practice is wonderful and perfect for the winter.   

  • What is the best routine for your face in the winter?

This totally depends on your skin type and conditions but a good basic winter facial routine would be this:



  •  Gentle cleanse with Oil cleanser
  • Spritz Toner.  
  • Anti-inflammatory or anti-acne serum
  • Rosehip  oil or Eminence Recovery Oil
  • Massage!


  • My hands are so freaking dry they look like they are 90 years old.

Wash with good soap!  Avoid all liquid soap if possible.  Use hand sanitizers sparingly.    Try Dr. Bronner’s natural sanitizer we sell at the spa. 

Have hand lotion on you at all times!  In your purse, pocket, car and beside the bed.   At night apply a hydrating serum and then a rich cream over top.   We have a lot of options for you at  the spa!   You can also watch this video for a DIY hand treatment. 

  • My lips seem to shrink in the winter.  What’s up with that?

Dry lips lack  hydration and can  show fine lines or deeper wrinkles, this makes them look smaller and less colourted.  Treat your lips just as you would your entire face!  Weekly Exfoliation, plumping serum, lip mask and plenty of hydration.  The Three Ships lip treatment kit is perfect!  Eminence Citrus lip balm throughout the day works as a great barrier and adds a beautiful shine.  My new favourite product of all is the Eminence Lip plumping serum.  It is amazing!!

  • In the winter my makeup looks flaky especially around my breakouts

I highly suggest switching from heavy foundations and powders to tinted moisturizer in the winter.   Less really is  more when trying to cover up with makeup. On darker spots you can  use a cream concealer  applied with a concealer brush.  

You can make your own tinted moisturizer by mixing a few drops of foundation in your cream.  

If you wear mineral powders, set it with a toner and spritz throughout  the day. 

The above information is generalized.  However we are all unique and our skin demands are just  as unique.   For personalized care come into the spa or book a virtual 1:1. Click this link to do so.   

With a little extra care you can  avoid skin woes and irritations and have a glowing complexion this winter. 

If you have specific questions email us at