Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How To Take Your Skin From Winter To Summer

New, 1 comment
OJO Images/Getty

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

I treat my skin care routine like I do my hair care routine. I find the products I like, I use them the same way every single day, and then when they run out, I replace them. I rarely switch it up, even though sometimes I’m tempted to.

But is this something I’m doing wrong? By not taking things like temperature, humidity, and winter dryness into account, am I harming my skin? Should I — should we — be switching up our routines, our products, the times of day we wash, scrub, and moisturize as the seasons change?

"Changes in skin care routine should reflect each individual's skin type."

Not necessarily, Dr. Jessica Weiser of the New York Dermatology Group says.

"Changes in skin care routine should reflect each individual's skin type," Dr. Weiser explained. "While some skin will significantly ramp up oil production as the weather turns warm, this is not universal. Some people have dry skin year round and therefore will adjust their product regimen less drastically" as the months pass us by.

Ah. I have neither oily or dry skin, I explained, but lately, I’ve noticed I’ve been reacting to the environment more than usual. My face and legs have been drying out in the cold weather. When it gets warmer outside, the dryness isn’t so much a problem, but my makeup constantly feels like it’s sliding off my face into a puddle.

And if you think makeup plays a big role, think again.

Yet my skin care regimen remains the same, because my skin type, for the most part, remains the same.

Dr. Amy Weschler, also a dermatologist in New York City, agreed that finding that healthy marriage between your skin type and your environment is key to pre-empting how your skin will react to what’s happening outside your bathroom. Treating your skin exactly the same on oily days as you do on dry days may have more of an effect than you think.

And if you think makeup plays a big role, think again says makeup artist Donna Kim. It truly does lie in your skincare regime. But one tip, Kim says, is a must: When the warm weather finally arrives, give your skin a break by "skipping liquid foundations to avoid extra shine and grease and opt for a tinted BB cream with SPF and a mattifying powder on top."

Keep in mind that you can have oily skin during the winter, and dry skin in the summer. Life isn’t fair, man!

Dr. Weiser offered these two skin care routines — one for summer and one for winter. Or, more specifically, if you’re skin type is less consistent than you’d like it to be, one routine for your more oily days and one for your dry days. (Keep in mind that you can have oily skin during the winter, and dry skin in the summer. Life isn’t fair, man!)

"In very general terms," Dr. Weiser summed up, "cleansing can be increased up to twice daily in summer months, humectants (substances that retain water) can be decreased — but never eliminated — and sun protection should continue to be universal and of utmost importance" even in winter. Humectants, for the rest of us, are otherwise known as moisturizers.


When the weather outside is frightful, it’s key to moisturize. Again, while there is no "ideal" regimen because every skin type will respond differently, here’s an idea of what your winter routine — or dry skin routine — should look like:


1. consider a skin mist to awaken skin instead of morning cleanser

2. hydrating moisturizer (can also add hydrating serum or oil before moisturizer for particularly dry skin)

3. sun protection ("SPF 30-50 is the sweet spot," Dr. Weschler added. "Put on sunscreen before you put on your moisturizer or foundation.")


1. remove makeup and cleanse skin with either an oil-based cleanser, cream cleanser, or a micellar solution to avoid stripping oils from the skin

2. apply active ingredient-rich product such as an antioxidant serum or a light skin oil

3. add an extra layer of hydration such as a hyaluronic acid serum, ceramide rich product, or hydrating oil like rose hip oil

4. finish with a heavier weight cream or ointment to help replete a dry or irritated skin barrier; light exfoliation should be done twice a week to help encourage skin turnover and remove dead skin cells


"In hot weather skin has more of a tendency to become clogged and develop blemishes," Dr. Weiser says. "Oil glands tend to overproduce sebum to compensate for superficial dryness so it is important to hydrate the skin surface even during warmer months." Sebum, for the rest of us, means oily secretions.

Here is basic skin care routine for oily summer skin:


1. gentle cleanser to remove any sweat or excessive oils accumulated overnight

2. moisturizing sunscreen (can add a moisturizer or active ingredient before sunscreen if desired)


1. remove makeup and cleanse skin with either cleansing oil to remove debris and excess oils, foaming cleanser, or glycolic based wash to improve skin turnover as desired

2. apply active ingredient-rich product such as antioxidant rich serum or lightening agent to combat sun spots and pigmentation if necessary

3. lightweight emollient whether lotion, gel or oil to hydrate the surface