Transitioning Your Skincare Routine for Seasonal Changes: A Dermatologist’s Guide

Just as our wardrobe changes with the seasons, so should our skincare routine. Transitioning from summer to winter or vice versa requires adjustments to accommodate the unique challenges each season brings to our skin. In this post, we’ll delve into many science-backed reasons for switching skincare product types when the seasons change, and how to do it effectively for healthy, radiant skin. 


Understanding the Impact of Seasonal Changes on Your Skin:

Our skin is remarkably adaptable, but it can still be affected by seasonal shifts in temperature, humidity, and UV radiation strength.

Here’s why switching up your skincare routine is ESSENTIAL to skin success: 


Humidity and Moisture Levels: 

Summer: increased heat and humidity can lead to lots of excess oil production on the skin, which can–among other things–cause breakouts

Winter: cold, dry air can strip the skin of its much needed moisture; this can lead to dryness and flakiness


UV Radiation:

Summer: stronger levels of UV radiation means a higher risk of sunburn and skin damage; on top of that…we’re all in the sun for a greater period of time in the summer

Winter: although the sun may not seem as intense during the winter months, UV rays ARE still present and CAN cause cumulative damage over time 


Skin Barrier Function

Summer: sweating and sun exposure can, overtime, weaken your skin’s natural barrier, leaving it more susceptible to irritation; while sweating is the body’s natural mechanism to release heat and other impurities, it also has the potential to clog up pores, leading to breakouts and other forms of irritation

Winter: harsh, chilly winds and indoor heating mechanisms can compromise the skin’s barrier, leading to irritation, sensitivity, and redness


Now that we have a better understanding of the biological impacts of the environment on the skin, let’s explore how to adapt your skincare routine effectively…


  • Summer: opt for a gentle, foaming cleanser to combat excess oil
  • Winter: switch to a hydrating, cream-based cleanser to lock in that moisture



  • Summer: choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to prevent clogged pores
    • Consider gels and lotions
      • Gels are good for oily skin, with their high water content, they are lightweight and better for summer
      • Lotions have a higher oil content than gels and they are also generally lightweight and great for summer applications
  • Winter: opt for a richer, emollient moisturizer to combat dryness and maintain that skin barrier integrity
    • Consider creams and ointments
      • Creams have a higher oil content than gels and lotions, but more importantly, they have a much lower water content, locking in moisture and preventing transepidermal (lower skin levels) water loss
      • Ointments are very occlusive and don’t let out that water, which is perfect for the dry, arid, humidity-free winter air


  • Summer: continue using a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen daily; reapply every two hours, especially if you are sweating or outdoors (click here to see our blog post on the science of sun protection for more information)
  • Winter: don’t skimp on that sunscreen in the winter…the rays are here to stay! 



  • Summer: use lightweight serums with antioxidants (like vitamin C) to combat free radical damage that comes from the sun’s harsh rays
  • Winter: switch to serums that contain ceramides to lock in that moisture


Adjustments for Sensitive Skin:

  • If you have any concerns, seek out a licensed dermatologist who has been trained to understand skincare routines that are right for YOUR specific needs


Taking it Home! 

Skincare is seasonal–it’s as simple as that! Just as nature adapts to the changing seasons, so should your skincare routine. By understanding the science behind those seasonal skin changes and making informed product choices, you can maintain healthy, radiant skin all year long. Remember, consistency is key, and consulting with a dermatologist can provide you with the solution to your unique skin needs. Embrace that seasonal shift, protect your skin, and be ready to confidently tackle the world around you no matter the weather! Join us at Scar Healing Institute to find the right solution for you!

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Scar Healing Institute is committed to developing the most effective treatments for scarring. Our team of scar revision specialists are continually inventing the latest technologies and formulas to deliver the best results for our patients.