There are a few surefire signs that winter has arrived: that moment you finally turn on the heat in your home or reach for a blanket to keep you warm on the sofa, and your coffee order turns into a foam, festive latté situation. One beacon that’s never failed to signal the start of the season? That’s right, dry skin. And not just dehydrated (that’s actually a completely different thing), but a flaky dryness that zaps my skin of any glow. It’s a sign of the season, but it also serves as a not-so-subtle reminder that it’s time to transition to a winter skincare routine.

The main objective of any cold-weather skincare regimen is moisture, moisture, and then more moisture for good measure. But there’s an art to how you layer in those hydrating ingredients. So, I tapped a professional, Dr. Lara Devgan, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Dr. Lara Devgan Scientific Beauty, to explain what ingredients to look for (and avoid) as well as a step-by-step routine to help fine-tune your winter skincare lineup.  

Dr. Lara Devgan
  • Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
  • Instagram

Dr. Lara Devgan is a top board-certified New York City plastic surgeon and the founder and CEO of luxury medical-grade skincare line Dr. Lara Devgan Scientific Beauty. Dr. Devgan’s training maintains an exceptional understanding of the complexity of the skin and how to heal, treat, restore, and regenerate the soft tissue. She lives with her husband and 6 young children on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

When to Transition to a Winter Skincare Routine

Your skin will likely let you know when it needs something different, but a good rule of thumb is to clock the moment you catch a chill. “As soon as you feel the dryness in the air, start adding more hydrating products to your routine,” Dr. Devgan says. Cold air carries less moisture than humid, warmer temperatures, so skin requires a bit more manual moisturizing to keep things balanced.

Key Ingredients for a Winter Skincare Routine

While summer is all about lightening things up, cooler temperatures require a few more hydrating ingredients to lock in moisture and protect the skin.

  • Hyaluronic Acid. “This is great for instant and prolonged hydration,” Dr. Devgan adds. “It gives the skin an extra boost of collagen while locking in moisture.”
  • Niacinamide. One of the two major forms of vitamin B3, the hero ingredient calms inflammation, supports collagen production, and helps create a healthy skin barrier to keep your complexion glowy even in harsh temperatures.
  • Ceramides. Ceramides are lipids help make up our natural skin barrier. Replenishing the ingredient topically with a moisturizer can make all the difference for those dealing with dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis.
  • Lean on cream. Consider swapping your lightweight go-to for a balmy or creamy cleanser. Your moisturizer could use a rich cream upgrade too.
  • On the other hand, consider cutting down on AHAs and BHAs. “They are incredible ingredients, but they tend to dry out the skin and make it more sensitive to redness,” Dr. Devgan shares.

The Best Skincare Routine for Winter

To help you fine-tune your own routine, Dr. Devgan highlights a few of her best-selling products—and I share a few of my tried-and-true beauty editor favorites—to step up your own winter lineup.

Start with a cleanser that prioritizes moisture…

Dr. Lara Devgan Advanced Revitalizing Cleanser

Enriched with peptides and hyaluronic acid, Dr. Devgan’s cleanser gets the job done without stripping skin of vital moisture.

Dr. Lara Devgan Advanced Revitalizing Cleanser, $65

Facile Bare Necessity Gel Cleanser

What I love about this cleanser is how simple and gentle it is. After all, cleansers are for cleansing, not for stripping. This cleanser is a soap-free, low-foaming gel that deep cleans pores without drying thanks to hyaluronic acid.

Facile Bare Necessity Gel Cleanser, $26

Next up, a hyaluronic acid serum….

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier

A personal favorite, this potent product feels like a cool drink of water after cleansing the skin.

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, $100

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

For a budget-friendly option, CeraVe’s serum is a favorite among beauty editors.

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, $16.99

Follow that with an antioxidant serum...

Dr. Lara Devgan Vitamin C+B+E Ferulic Serum

Containing vitamin C and hydroquinone, Dr. Devgan’s advanced formula protects the skin from free radicals and helps heal any hyperpigmentation caused during the summer months. 

Dr. Lara Devgan Vitamin C+B+E Ferulic Serum, $145

Naturium Vitamin C Super Serum Plus

Supercharged with vitamin c, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and salicylic acid, this antioxidant-rich serum will help to brighten, smooth, firm, and target the look of fine lines while shielding skin from environmental stressors.

Naturium Vitamin C Super Serum Plus, $25

If you’re applying your routine at night, the next step is retinol to encourage cell turnover.

Dr. Lara Devgan Retinol + Bakuchiol Serum

Dr. Devgan’s bestselling formula promotes rapid cell turnover, improves texture, and repairs the skin from hyperpigmentation.  

Dr. Lara Devgan Retinol + Bakuchiol Serum, $300

CosMedix Serum 16

For an over-the-counter option that’s a bit easier on the wallet, CosMedix offers a greaat retinol for beginners and those with sensitive skin.

CosMedix Rapid Renewel Serum 16, $80

A hardworking moisturizer is key…

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242

Featuring pure ceramides (a dry skin essential) and fatty acids, this popular cream is a personal go-to when my skin needs quenching in the wintertime.

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242, $130

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense 72H Lipid-Replenishing Hydrator Moisturizer

A blend of ultra-moisturizing lipids and hyaluronic acid, this workhouse moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated for hours on end.

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense 72H Lipid-Replenishing Hydrator Moisturizer, $41

Don’t forget the neck…

Revision Skincare Nectifirm Advanced Neck Firming Cream

If tech neck is your concern, Nectifirm is your answer. The derm-approved product has been my go-to for years.

Revision Skincare Nectifirm Advanced Neck Firming Cream, $134

RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest, Neck & Face Cream

RoC has a reputation for delivering great results without breaking the bank (their Correxion Eye Cream is a retinol dream). This all-in-one hero features SPF and super moisturizing glycerin.

RoC Multi Correxion 5 in 1 Chest, Neck & Face Cream, $23

Every good anti-aging, winter skincare regimen also needs to address the eyes…

Dr. Lara Devgan Peptide Eye Cream

Dr. Devgan’s hyaluronic acid-equipped serum hydrates the area around the eyes while reducing the appearance of fine lines and dark circles. 

Dr. Lara Devgan Peptide Eye Cream, $215

Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment

This beauty editor-favorite cream looks as gorgeous sitting on your vanity as it does abolish dark circles.

Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment, $48

Even in the winter, cap things off in the morning with a solid SPF…

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Tinted Mineral Sunscreen

My favorite mineral SPFs also come with a tint (and plenty of derm-approval), for a dewy, protective glow.

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, $70

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40

It’s one of the most popular sunscreens for a reason. It’s totally invisible, weightless, and scent-free, not to mention a great makeup-gripping daily primer with broad-spectrum SPF 40 protection. What more could you want?

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40, $34

Better yet, let your makeup double as sun protection...

Dr. Lara Devgan SPF 50 Concealer

Dr. Devgan’s easily blendable concealer protects the area under the eyes from UV rays while reducing the appearance of dark circles. 

Dr. Devgan SPF 50 Concealer, $80

Trinny London BFF Eye

This buzzy, affordable eye serum is worth the hype. Equipped with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, the product (which comes in a variety of hues) also doubles as a concealer.

Trinny London BFF Eye, $35

Dr. Lara Devgan SPF 50 Dusting Powder

Dustable Zinc SPF makes it easy to apply protection on the go, even over makeup. Dr. Devgan’s formula offers a gorgeous mattified look.

Dr. Lara Devgan SPF 50 Dusting Powder, $80

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

This sheer mineral sunscreen swipes on like a dream.

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder, $32

And finally, a skincare step that works while you sleep.

Canopy Humidifier Starter Set

The device that convinced me sexy humidifiers existed, Canopy’s nightstand-friendly product works hard at night to kill bacteria and keep your complexion glowy.

Canopy Humidifier Starter Set, $150

And as a special winter bonus…

Dr. Lara Devgan Platinum Lip Plump

An often overlooked part of your sun-ready routine, lips receive a healthy dose of SPF 30 with Dr. Devgan’s cult-loved product, while staying protected from the dreaded winter chap.

Dr. Lara Devgan Platinum Lip Plump, $50

Make Beauty Serum Lip Balm

It’s a serum and a balm and a lip gloss all in one. Providing instant hydration, this serum lip product softens, smooths, and plumps with a long-lasting shine and cushion.

Make Beauty Serum Lip Balm, $26

Emilie Heathe Lip R&R Exfoliating Lip Balm

A unique scrub-to-balm formula that gently exfoliates lips with dissolving sugar beads and a silicone scrubbing tip. I promise you’ll want one of these in every handbag!

Emilie Heathe Lip R&R Exfoliating Lip Balm, $42

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