Dry, peeling complexion. Skin burning red in freezing temperature. Chapped lips and hands with ragged cuticles. The moisture in the air has dissipated, and the harsh winds slice at our cheeks. The sun’s rays give us no warmth, and yet it still exposes us to ultraviolet radiation.

Winter is coming, and we need to armor up our skin. The air is significantly drier, and it’s not only freezing, but we’re still vulnerable to UV rays and windburn, a condition that causes redness and flaky, peeling skin.

Especially in the winter, skin care is something that immediately boosts my spirits and helps to soothe myself. It’s something beyond makeup that allows me to feel comfortable in my own skin. As a young adult, I started searching for mental and physical healing practices from my Chinese culture, such as acupuncture and fire cupping for holistic healing. However, I have found Asian beauty products to be one of the easiest and most affordable methods for me to practice self-care every day.

That’s how I became a skin care enthusiast and ended up working at a K-beauty brand in New York City. It was at this beauty advisor position that I became more informed on the different types of skin care products and techniques, such as the 10-step Korean skin care routine and how to identify different skin types like oily, dry, combination, and sensitive.

I also learned how skin care routines can depend on the changing seasons and climate! Here are three simple ways (and some of the best Asian skincare products) to ensure your skin is healthy and protected this winter:

Credit: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash
  1. Layer on the moisturization: Layering moisturization creates protective barriers for your complexion. Contrary to popular belief, moisturization is not the same as hydration — while hydration means retaining water within the skin, moisturization means applying an oil barrier to lock the water in. You can add moisturizing wash-off masks, face mists, sleeping masks, night creams, and even lip sleeping masks to your skin care routine. Look for products with concentrated ingredients like vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, or glycerin that will aid in moisturization.

    Products I recommend: I like the orchid gel cream from Innisfree for daytime, and the Midnight Blue Calming Cream from Klairs for nighttime. The Laneige lip mask and lip balm are also essentials.
  1. Hydrate your pores: Hydration is important for pore care, even if you have oily skin. Dead skin cells can build up in the winter and lead to a dull complexion, but hydration actually helps clean out those congested pores, extracting blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Try hydrating clay masks (usually made with hyaluronic acid or enzymes) that will absorb excess oils without drying out your face. Additionally, you can steam your face or lay a warm towel on your face for 10 minutes to encourage blood circulation and cell repair. Steam your face at home or indulge in a trip to the sauna!

    Products I would recommend: I like the I’m Red Wine Mask Sheet and I’m Charcoal Mask Sheet from Tony Moly. I also like Skinfood’s Black Sugar Strawberry Mask Wash Off.
  1. Wear Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Just because it’s colder doesn’t mean you don’t need sun protection. Broad-spectrum sunscreens prevent the harmful effect of the skin-burning UVA rays and wrinkle-causing UVB rays. Sunscreen also serves as a protective barrier against windburn (winter’s version of sunburn). So yes, sunscreen should be used in the winter as well! On the plus side, sunscreen can also double as a primer before you put on your makeup. Fear not; there are plenty of sunscreens out there that won’t leave a tinted, streaky sheen on your complexion.

    Products I would recommend: I like Biore’s UV Perfect Milk and Innisfree’s Daily UV Defense Sunscreen because they leave no streaks or white cast, and they feel super lightweight on my skin.
Credit: Thirdman/Pexels

As gray skies and frost creep in on us, we should pay attention to the condition of our skin, as it often shows us what’s imbalanced in our bodies. For example, breakouts can show if we’re stressed, going through hormonal changes, or lacking sleep or hydration — and seasonal depression, final exams, and holiday obligations definitely do not help.

Adding extra steps to our skin care routine during the frigid weather helps prevent our complexion from becoming red, flaky, and itchy. Just remember that everyone has their own skin type and/or skin conditions, so it’s best to conduct your own experiments to see which products serve your skin best. Finding the right skin care routine can help you learn more about yourself, practice a ritual on a daily basis, and feel comfortable and healthy in your skin.

Skin care is a holistic practice for us to glow inside out all through the winter. As we trudge along in the wind and snow, we’ll feel a little better with our skin nourished and protected!

Cover photo credit: Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels


  • Born and raised in Lenapehoking, also known as NYC, Kai Xing Mun (she/they) is Malaysian-Chinese American, and an ace and nonbinary actor and writer. Kai is a freelance writer whose essays focus on intersectional feminism and Pan-Asian American issues. Their writing has been published in HelloGiggles, Mochi, April, and Here You Are. Their original monologue “Anna May Wong: PERSONA” was published in "In Full Color: The First Five Years Anthology."

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