At The Maas ClinicTM, we follow a simple principle that skin care at any time of the year consists of four steps: cleansing and exfoliation, treatment, hydration and protection. These steps can and often should be given different priority during different seasons — your products and routine should change depending on your skin’s needs based on the weather, atmosphere and your lifestyle. Your winter routine should be carefully constructed to combat the cold, dry air and account for the accompanying loss of moisture in your skin. This guide can help you understand what kinds of products you might need to accomplish this, and how your winter skin care should differ from your warmer weather routine.

Cleansing and Exfoliation

Keeping your skin clear of dirt, bacteria and dead skin cell buildup will leave you refreshed, glowing and blemish-free. But cleansers and exfoliators can be drying — in removing unwanted particles, they sometimes strip away protective oils and barriers. In the winter, your skin needs any protection it can get to retain moisture and prevent chapping. Winter cleansers and exfoliants should be selected carefully and used in moderation. Avoid physical exfoliants like scrubs or textured creams and cleansers — these can be particularly harsh on dry skin. If you use a chemical exfoliant like glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid on a daily basis, consider reducing the frequency to every other day or even once or twice a week. When it comes to cleansing, look for a mild, soap-free and alcohol-free formula that won’t peel away natural oils and leave your skin dehydrated.


This step provides extra nutrients that can give a necessary boost to your skin’s health. At The Maas ClinicTM, we focus on recommending vitamins A and C as active treatment ingredients. Vitamin A treatments, called retinols or retinoids, can have numerous benefits for your skin because of the way vitamin A interacts with your skin cells. In the winter, though, the stronger versions of these products can be quite drying — if you are using a prescription-strength vitamin A product like Retin A or tretinoin, you should consult with your dermatologist to see if you should lower or discontinue use. Vitamin C treatments, on the other hand, can be an excellent addition to a winter skin care routine. Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant that can brighten the complexion and reduce inflammation, calming irritated winter skin and helping you keep a healthy glow without drying you out. If you are using vitamin A, though, vitamin C treatments can interfere with its effectiveness — talk to your doctor before combining these two ingredients.


Hydrating and moisturizing your skin is unquestionably critical to winter skin care. A rich moisturizing routine should be your top priority when you are choosing your winter skin products. You may want to make this a two-step process, especially if you live in a climate where winter is cold and snowy — a humectant lotion or serum in combination with an emollient moisturizer can help your skin gain and retain moisture even in chilly winter weather. Humectants are substances that attract and hold water molecules, ensuring that your skin is fully hydrated — hyaluronic acid is a very popular humectant typically available as a serum. But the winter air will cause these water molecules to evaporate out of your skin if you don’t follow your humectant with a protective emollient or occlusive. These ingredients, like shea butter, mineral oil, squalene or silicones, form a barrier over your skin that locks in hydration, keeping your skin fully hydrated, volumized and bouncy.


Protection from the cold is one aspect of winter skin care, but sun protection should also be a priority. While winter clouds and shortened daylight hours may help keep you out of direct sunlight, UV rays can still reach and damage your skin without a good sunblock. Studies show that sun damage is the number one cause of skin aging — using SPF daily, even if you don’t intend to be sunbathing, can stave off wrinkles and sagging better than any other skin care product.

At The Maas ClinicTM, we recommend sunblocks with physical ingredients like zinc or titanium oxide for full protection. Your sunscreen should also contain avobenzone to ensure protection from the full spectrum of UV rays. If you are prone to acne or breakouts, choosing an oil-free sunscreen or a multipurpose sunscreen and moisturizer can help prevent this step from becoming too heavy or clogging your pores. At The Maas ClinicTM, we know that good skin care is the best thing you can do for your appearance. When your skin is glowing and youthful, you can truly look as healthy as you feel. If you want your winter skin care routine to keep you feeling confident this season, contact us to schedule a consultation with Corey S. Maas MDTM — after a full evaluation of your skin, he can help you find the perfect products for your skin care needs. We also offer signature skin care products available exclusively at our San Francisco and Tahoe locations. Call us today at 415-567-7000 to learn more.

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