Photography via Youngoldman/iStock

Winter Is Officially Over, But The Lingering Cold Weather And Our Flaky Skin Is Saying Otherwise

You can do it all: cleanse, exfoliate, apply serum and face oil and then top it all off with moisturizer and eye cream. Yet in the morning, as soon as foundation or concealer comes in contact with your face, a plethora of unsightly flakes emerge from the woodwork, making your thoroughly moisturized skin look like the cracked surface of an arid desert landscape. You’ve completed a beyond basic skincare routine and you’re still flaky. What gives?

“It really has to do with the fact that the climate is so dry and so cold,” says Dr. Roni Munk, director of MunkMD, a dermatology clinic in downtown Montreal. As well, the same ingredients that can do our skin a world of good—like popular anti-agers and exfoliants like retinol and glycolic acid—also have the potential to cause harm when our moisture barriers are more challenged because the temperature still won’t crawl past zero. “Most people don’t even realize they’re over-drying their skin,” he says. “If you just cut some of those harsh exfoliating ingredients, you could really improve it.” Another common culprit of stubborn flakiness could be the ingredients hiding inside your everyday formulas, from your daily cleanser to your go-to coverup. “Even in makeup, there are some preservatives—like, for example, propylene glycol—that can irritate the skin.”

Regardless of what your skincare lineup looks like, Dr. Munk stresses the importance of switching up your regimen from season to season. “In the winter, I always advise that less is more. Just up your moisturizer and try to limit things that have the potential to irritate the skin.” Instead of exfoliating daily, Dr. Munk recommends scaling back to twice a week in chillier months, while taking steps to make sure you’re replenishing the skin’s moisture. “One molecule I always recommend to patients is hyaluronic acid because that’s something that helps not only add moisture but also retains your own water in the skin,” says Dr. Munk. “It’s going to moisturize from the outside but also improve the inner moisturization of the skin.”

Here’s five products that will up your moisture game, many featuring the star molecule Dr. Munk suggests: