In the colder months, our skin needs more intensive hydration, says Sam Bunting.

In the colder months, our skin needs more intensive hydration, says Sam Bunting.
Getty Images/ Dr. Sam Bunting

Low temperatures, central heating and wind in autumn and winter can weaken the skin barrier.

A dermatologist says small adjustments in your skin care routine can help keep your skin clear.

Sam Bunting talked about four common mistakes people make with their skincare routine during fall and winter.

This is a machine translation of an article from our US colleagues at Business Insider. It was automatically translated and reviewed by a real editor.

As the seasons change and we enter the fall and winter months, low temperatures, wind, lower humidity and central heating present new challenges for our skin.

During this time, a transitional regimen can help protect the health of the skin’s outer layer — the skin barrier — and prevent dryness, sensitivity, and irritation, Sam Bunting, a London-based dermatologist and founder of skincare brand Dr. Sam’s, told Business Insider US.

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“How we feel about ourselves depends to a large extent on how well this part of our skin is cared for,” she said. But finding a solution to one’s skin problems can be difficult these days. Especially because there is so much unfiltered information and a constant supply of new products, she said. That means people can make mistakes.

Bunting told Business Insider US about the biggest mistakes she sees when transitioning from hot to cold weather.

First mistake: Not considering the after-effects of summer on the skin

Summer can be tough on our skin. Spending more time in the sun and applying self-tanner can clog pores, which contributes to acne, explains Bunting. Sun exposure can also darken acne spots.

At the same time, sleeping in air-conditioned rooms and swimming in chlorinated pools can weaken the skin barrier. The skin becomes dull, flaky and looks red. It is tight and feels itchy, says the dermatologist.

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However, before using active ingredients like retinoids, which can initially irritate the skin, you need to strengthen the skin barrier to avoid making problems worse, she says. “In this condition, the skin is likely to be more prone to breakouts, and it is definitely more difficult, if not impossible, to use corrective actives in skincare when the barrier is compromised,” she explains.

To heal the skin barrier, Bunting recommends temporarily reducing your skincare routine to a gentle cleanser and barrier repair cream until your skin returns to a hydrated, smooth texture and normal color.

Second mistake: Not applying a separate sunscreen

When it comes to sun protection, Bunting says it’s not enough to simply use a foundation or tinted moisturizer with sun protection factor (SPF) during the colder months. You don’t need the SPF this time of year to protect yourself from sunburn, but because of the harmful UVA rays. “Those are the rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and actually cause the damage when it comes to aging,” says Bunting.

Sunscreen should be applied to the face in a generous, even layer 365 days a year. That way the whole face is protected, she confirms, but people use it too rarely. “They use a little on the T-zone, where they have some redness, and not typically around the eyes, so it’s not really fit for purpose,” she said.

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Third mistake: Not enough moisturizing

Because winter causes skin to become dry due to indoor heating, harsh outdoor winds and lower humidity, most of us need to resort to a more intensive moisturizer, confirms Bunting.

She tends to use products with more modern ingredients that are used in Korean skin care products, such as ectoine, squalane and madecassoside. They “are very effective, but provide a less oily, greasy finish,” she said.

Fourth mistake: Using the wrong lip balm

Most people suffer from dry lips when the weather gets colder. But a common mistake is reaching for a lip balm that contains ingredients that irritate the delicate skin of the lips. Bunting says, “It’s amazing how many lip balms do this.”

Bunting advises avoiding any products that contain fragrances or dyes if you have dry lips, as these often cause further irritation after initial relief. “You end up applying more and more lip balm and becoming more and more irritated,” she said. Bunting recommends using a simple lip balm that will strengthen the lip barrier over time. She personally likes lanolin-based balms.

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