Prepping your skin for winter

[This is not a sponsored post. The products photographed are gifted press samples.]

Gosh, it’s cold! I don’t know about where you are, but in London the weather has definitely tipped this week and Autumn is in full swing. Yes, the sweaters are out, the blinds are being drawn earlier every evening, and I finally caved and cranked the heating up this week. Bring on lazy weekends of blankets, Netflix and pug cuddles…

The changing seasons not only means we’re one step closer to the big C, but it’s also the time of year when skin flare-ups happen all too frequently, and I’ve seen so many posts online this week from people asking for advice on how to get things back to normal. In fact, I’m typing this right after showering, before I’ve moisturised, and my skin definitely feels tighter and drier than usual – which is completely normal, by the way.

Winter skincare | Carry On... Connor

As your skin fights to adapt to the ever-changing temperature, it needs to rebalance, which will be a slower process when the seasons begin to switch over. It’s totally natural, but with a few small changes to your skincare routine it can be made a whole lot more manageable, and you’ll hopefully be able to prevent some of the undesirable side-effects that can be brought on as a result.

As always, there’s not one blanket answer, and the changes you make will depend on your particular skin type. If you’re oily, try changing your cleanser and using a more lightweight moisturiser/serum, whereas dry skin typically needs more hydration. Either way, here are some simple changes to make to your existing routine that can help make the annual transition that bit easier.

Double up on hydration

Like I said earlier, during the first weeks on winter your skin is trying to rebalance and find out just how much hydration it needs. This can go both ways – too much or too little – but the whole process takes time. So, if you’re the kind of person who used a different moisturiser during the summer months, it’s time to revert back to the more nourishing kind.

The switch you make will be entirely dependent on what your skin can handle, and shouldn’t be too extreme. Think of moisturisers as being on a spectrum, from light- to heavy-weight:

  • Gel
  • Lotion
  • Cream

You really only want to jump up one step, but that extra bit of hydration can go a long way in helping maintain balanced, healthy skin while it naturally adapts. It may also mean you add a moisturiser to your routine – particularly if you have problematic skin and stuck with a serum through summer. Add a lightweight gel moisturiser on top of this to lock it in place and keep skin looking and feeling good. And anything with Hyaluronic Acid is a big yes – read more about that (and other must-have ingredients) here.

Switch to a gentler cleanser

A good cleanser will help remove topical dirt without upsetting the skin’s natural balance, however, some people like to use harsher foaming cleansers to help remove make-up. The problem here is, most people only have one cleanser on their shelf, and they’ll use the same harsh product with or without make-up – which can strip the skin’s natural oils and disturb the balance even more.

Click here for tips on how to maximise your skincare budget

Obviously, it’s vital to remove make-up at the end of the day before bed – that’s a given. But what you also don’t want to do is prevent one problem and instigate another. By switching out the foaming cleanser for the gel kind, you’ll be able to remove make-up effectively without disturbing your skin’s natural oils.

If you don’t wear make-up, cream cleansers are great for your daily cleansing routine, and will effectively remove dirt without causing further issues. I think cream cleansers get a hard time of it actually, probably because they were big in the ’70s and people assume not much has changed – but it really has, so don’t be afraid to take a punt and try one out. They’re great!

Exfoliate regularly

A lot of people are conflicted when it comes to exfoliating during times they may be experiencing problems with their skin, so I want to clarify. If you have a major breakout and your skin is noticeably bad, don’t do it – even the gentlest chemical exfoliant isn’t a good idea. However, cell turnover at this time of year will be more than ever, and you want to keep your skin as fresh as possible as it adapts to the changing climate.

Chemical exfoliants are great because they’re strong enough to remove dead skin cells but won’t affect the healthy skin underneath. This means that the living cells that are adapting won’t be damaged in any way by the products you’re using. It’s also miles better than using a scrub – which, let’s face it, no one likes anymore and for good reason. They’re just a no-no.

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There are three main approaches with chemical exfoliants – you can get daily washes, overnight creams or intensive masks. The method you choose will depend on your skin type, but as a rule, I’d say start with the mask and build up from once a week to 2-3 applications. I’m not entirely sold on exfoliating every day – I think its a bit overkill – but certainly a couple of times a week will help remove the dead cells and keep you looking and feeling good.

Make the most of longer nights

Following on from overnight treatments, the winter months are the best time to go hardcore with your nighttime routine, adding different ingredients that will work wonders while you’re dreaming the night away. Far from just chemical exfoliants, invest in a selection of hydrating and anti-ageing products (retinoids) to help rejuvenate skin back to its best.

I wrote a whole post about this a couple of weeks back, but when it comes to your nighttime routine, start it as soon as you walk in through the door. Especially at this time of year, you’re far better off washing away all of the dirt and pollution from outside, and starting off on a clean slate when you return home, with products that will help move the process along.

Remember, its the evening products that do the most work during winter – daytime is all about hydration. So prioritise the nights and give your creams, serums and lotions more time to do their thing while you put your feet up, slip into your PJs, and cosy up on the sofa with a Netflix box set.

…Ooh, now that’s an idea!



  1. 6th October 2019 / 1:31 pm

    I have definitely felt the difference in my skin the past few weeks already as we dip below zero and the cold winds have been coming in. I hadn’t thought of switching to a gentle cleanser. Will have to give that a try!

  2. positivelycultivated
    6th October 2019 / 1:33 pm

    Loved all of you winter skincare tips! I definitely need to add a chemical exfoliant into my routine. Great post!

  3. sarganser
    6th October 2019 / 2:12 pm

    Brilliant tips, my skin gets so dry in the winter.did I mention that with all the layered clothing for the cold seasons I feel like my body is always covered up and it`s like drying up even more? will have to try some of these products,I have used Cetaphil and just love it and with the affordable price, it`s just a must have.
    Thanks for sharing.

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