Tweakment Finder TWEAKMENT



Do You Need To Change Your Skincare Every Season?

10th October 2023

As a beauty and aesthetics journalist with specific training in cosmetic science, I get asked a lot of questions about skincare; specifically the best ways to build a successful and cost-effective routine. So, as autumn creeps towards winter, the query I’m hearing about most right now is whether you actually need to change your skincare every season. The short answer: there’s no need to invest in tons of new products, but here are the simple swaps to try as winter approaches… 

What does your skin need in the winter?

To speak broadly, winter weather brings a colder climate and often rougher winds. This environment – one of cold (dry) air and low humidity – leads to a lack of moisture in the air, which tends to pull moisture out of the top layers of your skin, compromising your skin barrier. In turn, this makes your complexion more prone to dryness, irritation and redness. Unfortunately, as we age, our skin also tends to become thinner and drier, so you are more likely to feel the consequences of colder wintry weather.

What’s more, your skin is likely to have felt the effect of the sunnier summer months too. Your skin can tend to be a little dehydrated, caused by poor hydration and (hopefully not) sunburns, while increased UV exposure may have accelerated key concerns such as fine lines and sun spots, especially if you have been less than rigorous with your SPF application.

So, do I need a winter moisturiser?

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise – that tends to be the repeated refrain of winter skincare routines, and it’s true – up to a point. If you are prone to a dry, inflamed complexion, richer emollient creams, with occlusive ingredients such as petrolatum, waxes and most oils and butters, can be an efficient way to protect against winter’s cold, dry air pulling moisture out of your skin. That’s because they act like physical barriers, locking in moisture to prevent excess water loss, while also supporting the skin barrier. Personal favourites include Aveeno’s Moisturising Cream (it’s fragrance-free for more sensitive complexions) and Oskia’s Rest Day Comfort Cream.

At the same time though, you don’t just want to slap a plaster on the problem – or exacerbate breakouts if you’re prone to them. This is why focusing on your individual skin concerns can be better than just choosing seasonal skincare. For oilier complexions, for example, you can keep your skin moisture levels topped up with lightweight creams packed with hydrating humectants – such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid – as well as lower concentration of occlusives to then lock this hydration into your skin. Try Trinny London’s Bounce Back or Beauty Pie’s Super Healthy Skin.

Do I need a new cleanser for the winter? 

Although it’s not the ‘sexy’ step in your skincare routine, you should absolutely see your cleanser as its firm foundation. After all, as many a skin expert will attest, you can’t expect your more exciting serums to work effectively on a dirty face. Yet, it’s also true that, if you’re not careful, the very action of cleansing can strip your skin of its natural oils, exacerbating winter dryness.

For that reason, it can be helpful to opt for a more hydrating cream or oil-based cleanser in the winter, especially those packed with ceramides and lipids (which are naturally present in your skin), to keep your complexion both moisturised and clean. By all means, continue to use a cleanser of this texture if you have one already, but if you need recommendations: Cerave’s Hydrating Cleanser is an award-winning and affordable option, while La Roche Posay’s Effaclar H Cleanser is specifically formulated for oily skin, so you can boost hydration without clogging pores.

What specific active ingredients do I need in the winter?

A change in season can be a brilliant time to check in with your skin in the mirror and work out what goals you’d like to focus on next – whether that’s reducing the appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation or breakouts. However, that’s likely to be a little different for everyone (we all have different skin types, concerns and budgets, after all), so it’s better to focus on finding a product that tackles your specific needs, rather than choosing actives purely based on the weather. What’s more, don’t necessarily race to buy something new. If you already have a favourite serum or cream that’s working, there’s no reason to spend more money on a ‘winter version’.

Similarly, many people like to consider starting retinoids during the winter as these can increase sun sensitivity – which seems like more of a summer concern. This can be an effective way to reverse signs of photoaging, such as hyperpigmentation and fine lines, by increasing skin cell turnover, but ultimately, you don’t need to only use retinoids in the winter if you use them sensibly. These ingredients can also be drying or irritating – which may actually exacerbate your winter skin concerns – so ensure your complexion is suitably balanced and moisturised before you dive in. Brands with retinoids we trust include No7, Medik8 and Caroline Hirons’ Skin Rocks.

Anything else I need to know about my winter skincare routine? 

Skip the super hot showers

I know it sounds tempting, but your long, hot shower after battling the wintry elements is not good news for your skin; hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, and exacerbates redness and dryness. In particular, avoid washing your face in the shower and especially in hot water. Instead, turn the temperature down at least a couple of degrees, and indulge in some winter pampering instead, with a moisture-replenishing body wash or cream. My personal favourites include Naturium’s Multi-Vitamin Daily Nutrients Body Wash and Garnier’s Body Superfood range.

Don’t forget SPF 

Finally, if you are serious about protecting the overall quality of your skin whatever the season – don’t skip your daily sunscreen, even in the winter. It’s the best way to protect against the number one skin ager – UV damage – and you won’t get the best results from your other skincare without it. Find out favourite sunscreens here.

    To shop the products mentioned, click below. 


    Video Hub

    Find a Practitioner


    Practising for

    0 years


    3 miles


    Didn't find what you were looking for?

    Post a Question

    Please enter your name, email address and question for Alice.

     Post Anonymously

    Tick this box to hide your name on answers page. We will only print your initials.


    Hello, how can we help?

    Hi, I’m The Tweakments Chatbot.

    I have been designed to help you get information and advice on your concerns. I am currently in training. In case I am unable to answer your question, I would like to ask for some details, so that Alice or one of our team can contact you and ensure you get all the advice you need.

    Thank you for using The Tweakments Chatbot. We would like to know how was your experience with us today. Can you spare a minute to share your feedback?

    Was the chatbot helpful in finding what you were looking for today?

    Yes No

    In few words could you please tell us why, so we can improve your experience in the future.

    Would you use the chatbot next time you visit the website?

    Yes No

    In few words could you please tell us why, so we can improve your experience in the future.

    Overall, how would you rate your experience using The Tweakments chatbot.