My Winter Skincare Routines for Dry Acne Prone Skin 2020/2021

Weather is in the negatives, the heat is on, and my face is feeling it! Come the colder, winter months, I need to adjust my skincare routine accordingly to prevent the uncomfortable feelings of dehydration and dryness.

Fortunately, it isn’t as crazy and elaborate as some would think; Once the colder months come around, I alter my skincare routines in the following ways:

  • Replace products
  • Use existing products differently
  • Add in more emollient products

The key points are that all steps of my skincare routines are gentle and/or leave an additional moisturizing film to my skin.

Before we continue on, please take a look at previous posts I have written which will provide more context for this one!

Skin type: Acne prone, normal to dry. Becomes easily sensitized from drying products or environment.
Skincare Focus: Acne control, hydration, barrier protection.
What my skincare addresses: Acne prevention and healing, hydration, barrier protection, promoting graceful aging, fade pigmentation, minimizing pore size, reducing redness and inflammation, improves texture, promotes collagen synthesis, skin thickening.


Products marked with * are PR Samples/gifts. This does not change my opinion of the product. My thoughts are honest, always *casts doe patronus*

All links are affiliate links. This means when you use the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to search a new link.


Breakdown of my Winter Skincare Routines

Below is the full list of steps in both my morning and nighttime winter skincare routines, including the optional steps.

Morning Winter Skincare Routine

  1. Morning Cleanse (OPTIONAL) – Water Rinse or Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser
    • On an as-need basis, when overnight moisturizing layers, fluff and sweat create too much build up
  2. First Hydrator – Naruko Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence *
    • More watery than the second hydrator, acts as a morning cleanse if I do not do the first step
  3. Antioxidant – Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum
  4. Second Hydrator – Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion *
    • More viscous and moisturizing than the first hydrator, will sometimes swap for something more emollient
  5. Acne Control Active – Aczone
  6. Moisturize – Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume
    • Will sometimes mix in an occlusive
  7. Sunscreen – Krave Beauty Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++

Nighttime Winter Skincare Routine

  1. Eye Makeup Removal (OPTIONAL) – Kiss Me Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover
    • On an as-need basis when I wear mascara
  2. Double Cleanse (OPTIONAL) – Purito From Green Cleansing Oil *, Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser
    • Will use a cleansing oil on an as-need basis when I wear face makeup or feel like I need it, otherwise I just use my current cleanser by itself
  3. First Hydrator– Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion *
  4. Acne Control Actives – Retin-A Micro and Aczone
    • Will use an OTC Retinol every other day on my neck and chest
  5. Second Hydrator – Jumiso Super Soothing Cica & Aloe Facial Serum *
    • Opt for a serum/ampoule that has more emollience than the first hydrator
  6. Moisturize – Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume
  7. Occlusive (OPTIONAL) – Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment
    • On an as-need basis if skin is feeling particularly chapped

Main Winter Skincare Products

AKA products I frequently use in my morning and nighttime winter skincare routines. The products featured are my tried and trues out of the rotation of items I receive from PR, gifts, and my own purchases. Each are purposeful and contribute to my skin’s overall health.

Kiss Me Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover

How I use it: Apply on a cotton round and rest on eyes to break down waterproof mascara. After a few seconds, I lightly move the cotton round through my lashes to remove as much as possible.
Why I use it: My eyes are quite sensitive – any oil-based cleanser I have used around my eyes for a few seconds burn them. I need to go in with something gentle, especially when I wear eye makeup. Instead of repurchasing my go-to Marcelle Gentle Makeup Remover for Sensitive Eyes, I decided to try out the Herone Make Speedy Mascara Remover that was recommended by my colleague. It easily removes waterproof and non-waterproof mascara and does not irritate my eyes.
Related Content: Skincare Favourites 2020
Where to Buy:
DokoDemo
YesStyle

Purito From Green Cleansing Oil *

How I use it: Dispense 2 full pumps and gently massage all over my face and neck. After 30 seconds or so, I wet my hands and massage my face and neck again to emulsify the oil. I do this for another 30 seconds and then rinse.
Why I use it: Sometimes, the copious layers of moisturizing products get a bit much and I sometimes feel some pilling action going on or excess build-up. Using a cleansing oil always does the trick in having a thorough cleanse. The Purito From Green Cleansing Oil in particular makes me reminisce of the original Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) where I would use a kitchen oil on my face, and take a damp cloth to remove it. The benefits of this cleansing oil is that it emulsifies and rinses off without the need of a cloth!
Where to Buy: YesStyle

Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser

How I use it: Dispense 2 pumps and lightly massage all over my face and neck.
Why I use it: Most of the time I use this as my stand-alone cleanser since I have not been double cleansing a lot lately. It is pH balanced around 5.5 (last time I checked), non-foaming, gentle, creamy, and it feels like it adds a bit of extra moisture to my skin.
Related Content: Skincare Favourites 2020
Where to Buy: Paula’s Choice Website

Naruko Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence *

How I use it: Apply on a cotton round and wipe face to remove a night’s buildup or fluff, and follow with another 2 nickel-sized layers.
Why I use it: Due to my problematic skin, layering something as light as a hydrating toner/essence/lotion really helps reduce my skin’s chance of becoming dehydrated without feeling congested. I also find hydrators make my skin just a bit plumper, brighter, more even, softer. I like using Naruko’s Jing Cheng Face Renewal Miracle Essence as the first step or “morning cleanse”; It has a light watery consistency that wakes up my skin, it also softens and subtly brightens. Perfect first and prep step!
Alternative: If my skin feels like it has too much build up in the morning from all the moisturizing layers the night before, I will rinse my face first before going in with the first Hydrator, maybe even use Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser if I feel it is necessary.
Related Content: Skincare Favourites 2020
Where to Buy:
Naruko Canada (not affiliate)

Geek & Gorgeous 101 C-Glow Serum

How I use it: Apply immediately while skin is still slightly tacky from hydrator step. Massage a full dropper all over face and neck and pat once evenly spread.
Why I use it: Mainly for photoprotection, and it’s nice that it maintains my bright and even complexion. Vitamin C is the most finnicky product in my routine – L-Ascorbic Acid oxidizes in 3 months and I can’t visibly tell if it’s working. I spoke with my dermatologist about it, and she’s pro-Vitamin C. I decided to keep it in my routine as an extra boost to the graceful aging aspect. Geek & Georgous 101 C-Glow Serum is my current go-to/Holy Grail because it is affordable and checks all the boxes of what I want in a vitamin C serum – low pH, right percentage of LAA, contains Ferulic Acid and Tocopherol, is gentle.
Related Content: Geek & Gorgeous Review
Where to Buy: Geek & Gorgeous Website

Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment Lotion *

How I use it: Apply a nickel-size amount in the palm of hands and massage all over face and neck. Follow with another 2 layers.
Why I use it: Due to my problematic skin, layering something as light as a hydrating toner/essence/lotion really helps reduce my skin’s chance of becoming dehydrated without feeling congested. I also find hydrators make my skin just a bit plumper, brighter, more even, softer.
Alternative: If my skin feels very dry and rough, I will use a more emollient second hydrator such as Laneige Cream Skin Refiner.
Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations
Where to Buy:
Wishtrend
YesStyle

Retin-A Micro 0.1% Tretinoin

How I use it: Dispense 2 pumps (pea size amount) and apply it all over my face and underneath my jaw. Because my skin is acclimated to it, I also bring it underneath my eyes.
Why I use it: It is the star ingredient that controls my acne. It works by normalizing my skin cell turnover so there is no buildup of dead skin, and reduces my skin’s sebum production. Tretinoin in particular is also the only FDA-approved ingredient effective at diminishing the signs of photoaged skin (pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines). I have also noticed it help refine my skin’s texture and minimize my pores, making my skin look overall clear and healthy. It is my Holy Grail active.
Blog Post: SKIN UPDATE #5: 0.04% to 0.1% Tretinoin, 6+ Months of Spironolactone, Professional Microneedling
PRESCRIPTION ONLY

Aczone Gel 5% Dapsone

How I use it: Apply a thin layer all over face and under jaw.
Why I use it: Helps reduce inflammation around any active acne lesions, also helps to control non-inflamed lesions. It also pairs well with my Retin-A Micro, Vitamin C serum, and chemical exfoliants.
Blog Post: SKIN UPDATE #5: 0.04% to 0.1% Tretinoin, 6+ Months of Spironolactone, Professional Microneedling
PRESCRIPTION ONLY

Jumiso Super Soothing Cica & Aloe Facial Serum *

How I use it: After prescription topicals have set, apply 4 drops or a dropper full all over my face and neck.
Why I use it: During the colder months, moisturizing layers are key! With this serum in particular, it has a ton of barrier-strengthening ingredients in a very soothing base of Centella and Aloe extract, and has a more emollient finish. A great item to comfort and add more moisture to my skin, especially when my Retin-A Micro prescription strength increased and my skin was feeling more sensitive.
Blog Post: REVIEW: Jumiso Super Soothing Cica & Aloe Facial Serum
Where to Buy:
StyleKorean
YesStyle

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume

How I use it: Apply once Aczone has settled. Massage a full pump all over face and neck.
Why I use it: After applying layers of supplemental moisturizing products, it is important to seal all of it in with a moisturized barrier. Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume is a cost-effective moisturizer with ceramides, zinc pca, sugar molecules as humectants and various emollient oils. It always leave my skin feeling comfortably moisturized without feeling congested. Calms my skin, softens it, and leave a non-greasy residue on my skin. I have repurchased this moisturizer many times and is my Holy Grail moisturizer.
Alternative: If my skin is feeling particularly chapped before I apply my moisturizer, I mix a small amount of Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment to make it more occlusive.
Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations
Where to Buy:
Dermstore
Well.ca

Krave Beauty Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++

How I use it: Apply once moisturizer has settled. Shake up bottle and pour a generous amount in the palm of hand. Lightly massage all over face, ears, and neck.
Why I use it: Due to my nightly use of Retin-A Micro and other actives, as well as wanting to prevent and prolong, sun protection is a must. Applying a fairly high UVA/UVB sunscreen in the proper amount has made a difference in my skin’s health. It has helped to further prevent pigmentation from lasting on my skin, I rarely have irritated skin or an uneven skin tone, and in pair with my prescription topicals my skin texture seems softer. I am currently revisiting Krave Beauty’s Beet the Sun SPF50+ PA++++; I remember liking the texture and various UV filters in this sunscreen. I had my sister purchase some for me before she came back from South Korea.
Related Content: Krave Beauty Matcha-Hemp Hydrating Cleanser, Kale-lalu-yAHA, Beet the Sun – Brand Review
Where to Buy: Krave Beauty Website (not affiliate)


Skincare Products in Rotation

The following products are my go-to’s that I occasionally use in my skincare routine when I find necessary.

Laneige Cream Skin Refiner

How I use it: Apply a dime-nickel size amount in the palm of hands and massage all over face and neck. Follow with another 2 layers.
Why I use it: I will swap out the Rovectin Skin Essentials Activating Treatment for the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner when my skin feels like it needs something richer in moisture, more emollient. It is a watery texture yet sets on the skin like you applied a cream!
Where to Buy: YesStyle

Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol Mini

How I use it: Every other night I apply 2 pumps all over my neck and chest after using Retin-A Micro on my face.
Why I use it: I want to start taking care of my neck and chest area more, so I decided to use an over the counter retinol for prevent and prolong benefits. I started with Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment and am slowly working my way up to tretinoin.
Where to Buy: Paula’s Choice Website

Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment

How I use it: AM will mix a bit in with my moisturizer, PM I will massage a dime-size amount all over face and neck in a separate layer after moisturizer.
Why I use it: I reach for Eucerin Aquaphor Healing Ointment if my skin is feeling particularly chapped that night and is in need of more TLC. It is mainly petrolatum, a skin protectant that prevents 98% of trans-epidermal water loss, mixed with other goodie moisturizing ingredients like mineral oil and Glycerin, as well as soothing ingredients Panthenol and Bisabolol.
Related Content: Moisturizing Skincare Recommendations
Where to Buy: Well.ca


And that’s it, folks! As you can see, my winter skincare routines are quite similar to my summer ones, but with an emphasis on moisture! Be sure to check out my summer skincare routines to get the full picture on what the differences are:

xo, M

3 thoughts on “My Winter Skincare Routines for Dry Acne Prone Skin 2020/2021

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