How to Deal with Sensitive Skin During Winter

How to Deal with Sensitive Skin During Winter


Sensitive skin + the nipping winter cold = very, very bad combination. 

We all know that wintertime is one of the harshest periods for our skin. Even if your skin is not naturally predisposed to sensitivity, the dry, cold winds can cause irritation and redness for many people. Some of us might experience a bout of increased sensitivity during the cold winter months as temperatures fall, moisture levels in the airdrop, and the overall weather begins to change. We notice duller, drier skin, and more tightness and even flakiness. This is all exacerbated by holiday traveling — airplanes are notoriously bad for the skin — and changes in climate if we travel to a nice hot tropical island only to return to the blistering cold. 

Well, not this winter! This winter we are going to give you the best tips for beating the cold and preventing your skin from the typical flaking and discomfort for a much merrier and joyful Christmas season.

Make sure all your products are fragrance-free

Sneaky, hidden fragrances are one of the biggest culprits of exacerbating sensitive skin by causing itchiness, dryness, and even burning sensations. The best way to ensure that your products are fragrance-free is to give the ingredient list a close read. It can be hard when many products nowadays have up to fifty different ingredients and most of them have scientific names we cannot identify. One good rule of thumb is to choose products that have fewer ingredients as this reduces the chances of there being ingredients that can potentially irritate and cause inflammation or redness in the skin.

Use a gentle cleanser and don’t over-cleanse

Cleansing is obviously super important for us, as it gets rid of the gunk and toxins that might have built up over the day, as well as removing the makeup and products we have put on our faces. But if you have sensitive skin, and especially during the cold, much drier wintertime, it will be a good idea not to over-cleanse and choose a gentler cleanser. Too much cleansing can strip the skin of the fatty acids that make up a natural barrier on the skin. This barrier is crucial for preventing moisture from escaping the skin which can lead to drying out and hence irritation and redness. If you have sensitive skin, get a super gentle cleanser during the wintertime and pick one with no sulfates. Sulfates are usually found in cleansers that can foam up and lather, so try to steer clear of them. Micellar water is another good option for removing makeup gently. Sensitive-skinned individuals should only cleanse once a day in the wintertime, at night after a whole day out because that is when the most build-up has been accumulated.

Have a habit of exfoliation, but don’t over-exfoliate

Exfoliation is a very important step for anyone, and especially so for people with sensitive skin in the wintertime. Wait a second, won’t exfoliation exacerbate and worsen the irritation even more if I already have sensitive skin? Not to mention the dryness of the weather? The key here is to be super gentle and careful with your exfoliation. Exfoliation is necessary as you still need to get rid of the dead skin cells that build up on the skin surface so that your products can work better and penetrate more deeply. Choose a very gentle exfoliator with very fine grains or beads, and don’t ever scrub your face as that will definitely lead to irritation! Massage very gently and carefully, and don’t press too hard. If you have flakiness on your body, you can even try a chemical-based exfoliant such as a gentle alpha-hydroxy acid like lactic acid to slough off the dead skin cells that accumulate from dryness.

Get serious about your moisturizer

It should be pretty obvious why you need to double up on moisturizing in the winter. It is absolutely essential that people with sensitive skin douse their faces in moisture and hydration, otherwise you will almost definitely see the effects of slacking off when your skin starts to peel and look dry and sallow. The most effective way to give your skin that added boost of hydration is to get a potent moisturizing elixir, and of course, a serum with the gold-standard hyaluronic acid to really pump in the hydration. Hyaluronic acid is a magic ingredient that will retain up to 1000 times its weight in moisture, making it absolutely essential for the wintertime when you need all the moisture and hydration you can get. But don’t stop there. Add a facial oil to your winter routine, one that is full of nourishing omega fatty acids which are so necessary for maintaining and enforcing that skin barrier. The final step is to lock all that moisture and goodness with a non-comedogenic moisturizing cream that will really lock in all the moisture into the skin. Emollient bases are better than water-based moisturizers here because water bases tend to evaporate off the skin faster.

Opt for natural, clean beauty products

It might be very tempting to reach for a heavy coverage foundation or concealer to cover up the redness that your sensitive skin is causing. However, this will only add to the irritation and dryness by trying to cover it up. Furthermore, many commercial beauty products have lots of unknown substances and chemicals that are not ideal for sensitive skin, and can often cause more irritation. The best products you can reach for are clean, natural beauty products that are not formulated with chemicals and other nasty stuff. You should also opt for lighter coverage and avoid packing on the product as that will not do your skin any favors.


Having sensitive skin in the wintertime can be a real pain to deal with. But you don’t have to endure the holiday season with dry, tight, flaking skin! These tips are all meant to help you maintain fresh, glowing, and hydrated skin all the way through the winter and into the new spring season.

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