Beauty journalist, Claire Coleman, quizzes expert dermatologists on how to look after our skin during the colder months

Dr Mary Sommerlad on Black skin

Black skin has higher levels of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the rate at which skin loses water; and lower levels of ceramides, fatty substances that help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier and moisturise skin. This is thought to be because those with ancestry in equatorial areas needed to keep cool efficiently and increased TEWL, which unfortunately also removes some of the ceramides, does just that. Black skin is, therefore, prone to drying out, can feel itchy and tight, and have an ashy appearance. So, focusing on getting moisture locked into the skin is key.

Look for hydrating cleansers, such as CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (236ml), and hydrating and soothing serums, such as Vichy's Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum (50ml). And upgrade your moisturiser – key ingredients are hyaluronic acid, squalene, shea butter and glycerin – as well as oils that lock that water in. Ceramides are a beauty buzzword; the ‘glue’ between skin cells, they reduce water loss. I like Dr Jart+'s Ceramidin and La Roche-Posay's Lipikar ranges.

Finally, don’t forget SPF – Black skin can be prone to pigmentation, so continue to use sunscreen in winter. Use a product with a high
level of UVA protection and if you have melasma, look for a tinted sunscreen – experiment to find one that works with your skin tone. Eucerin Sun pigment Control (50ml), Avène Very High Protection Cleanance (50ml), Ultra Sun Tinted Face Fluid (50ml), Bondi Sands Tinted Face Fluid (50ml), and La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune Hydrating Cream (50ml) all have SPF50+ in tinted formats.

Dr Mary Sommerlad is a consultant dermatologist working within the NHS and privately,

Dr Dendy Engleman on peri & menopausal skin

As a result of menopause, the body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which maintain the skin’s elasticity, significantly decreases – making it harder for the skin to retain moisture. This can result in signs of ageing, such as sagging where the skin is thinner, including the eye area, neck, décolleté and lips. During the colder months, humidity levels drop, which makes it difficult to maintain the necessary oils for supple, hydrated skin, and hydration is so important during the winter. I recommend applying topical skincare products with moisture-retaining ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides and glycerin. Applied twice daily, these ingredients will help to seal the moisture barrier and maintain the appearance of plump, smooth skin.

Transepidermal water loss is common in the cooler months, when water is pulled from the skin due to the dry climate. This can be especially difficult for those who are perimenopausal or menopausal and produce less oil, leaving the skin barrier more vulnerable to environmental aggressors that cause dryness and itchiness.

During this stage of life, it’s helpful to implement skin barrier-protecting ingredients, such as ceramides. Retinol works to boost cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, which is important as these naturally occurring processes have slowed down. This will also help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pore-size. Elizabeth Arden's Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin Renewing Water Cream (50ml) is one of my favourite daily retinol products. I also recommend a gentle face wash or cleansing oil.

In perimenopause and menopause we want to avoid stripping the skin of natural oils, as this will further dry out the skin and exacerbate the visible signs of aging.

As for the body, Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel (200ml) is a great hydration booster to counteract the slowing of sebaceous output in the skin.

Dr Dendy Engleman is a dermatologist and director of dermatologic surgery at New York Medical College.

Dr Derrick Phillips on male skin

Water temperature is important when cleansing or preparing to shave. Hot water may feel good in the moment, but it can strip essential oils from the outer layer of the skin, disrupting the skin barrier and exacerbating dry skin. Harsh detergent soaps and alcohol-based products should be avoided, as they will also dry out the skin.

At this time of year, I recommend gentle balms and oils rich in emollients, such as King of Shaves Refillable Sensitive Advanced Shave Oil with Vitamin E (30ml), or foams containing humectants, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid and urea. Try Nivea Men Sensitive Shave Foam with 0% Alcohol (200ml). Post-shaving care is also important. Forget alcohol-based aftershaves and instead look for post-shave balms if you’re clean shaven, such as Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm with 0% Alcohol (100ml), which will help repair the skin barrier after shaving. If you have a beard, using a beard oil, such as L'Oréal Men Expert Barber Club Skin Oil (30ml), will nourish hairs and lock oil into the skin. Although, if you do have oily, blemish-prone skin, it’s best to limit your exposure to oil-based products.

Don’t forget we still need sun protection all year round. The ideal is a separate sunscreen, such as La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMUNE Invisible Fluid SPF50 (50ml), but if you’re only going to use one product, CeraVe's AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF50 (52ml) is a great option.

Dr Derrick Phillips is a consultant dermatologist working in private practice in London.

Dr Thivi Maruthappu on eczema-prone skin & rosacea

If you have eczema-prone skin, don’t wait for winter to arrive before upscaling your skincare. In the summer, you might get away with a foaming wash and a light lotion but pre-winter, switch to a soap-free wash that won’t be as drying. I like Aveeno Skin Relief Mositurising Body Wash (500ml).

When it comes to moisturisers, CeraVe are my go-to; their CeraVe Moisturising Lotion (236ml) contains ceramides, which help restore the skin barrier. Epaderm Ointment (125g) is also great for very dry skin, though it’s a slightly heavier product.

Apply moisturiser onto damp skin straight after showering to trap that extra layer of moisture. Keep showers and baths short (no more than 10 minutes), not too hot and avoid aromatherapy oils that can irritate skin further. Also, consider eating oily fish regularly, to help your body get the essential oils it needs to form a protective skin barrier. In winter, we’re also more likely to consume hot drinks but whether it’s tea, coffee or hot chocolate, let it cool – it’s not necessarily what you’re drinking that will cause you to flush but the temperature. Also try to avoid spicy food and alcohol.

When it comes to rosacea, temperature change can be a trigger for very sensitive blood vessels. So if you’re often going from hot to cold environments, you need a calming skincare routine that supports the skin barrier. Look for products that are gentle and designed for sensitive skin. The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF50 (32ml) contains glycerin, which helps draw moisture to the skin.

You may want to consider the Boots Online Doctor Rosacea service*, which offers advice and, if appropriate, treatment for rosacea.

Dr Thivi Maruthappu is the UK’s first dual-qualified dermatologist and nutritionist, and author of Skin Food. She works within the NHS as well as private practice,

Our winter skin heroes
No7 Derm Solutions™ Rosacea Treatment 25ml

Meet No7’s new Derm Solutions™ range of cleansers, moisturisers and treatment products, designed for skin concerns including blemishes, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.

Elizabeth Arden Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin Renewing Water Cream 50ml

Includes retinol + HPR – a next-gen retinoid that’s up to 10 times more potent than pure retinol. The gentle, super-light formula can even be used in the morning (alongside SPF).  

Clear Start by Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash 177ml

Developed for blemish-prone skin, this gentle, non-stripping wash contains salicylic acid to help ease breakouts.

*Access to treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply