Winter Skin Woes: Quick Fixes
Posted On Feb 05, 2021
Be gone, glacial face! We offer you many ways to get glowy—not dreary—late-winter skin.
BY Betsey McLain
It’s not a surprise that those intense, bracing winter temperatures inspire hibernation tendencies. The physical effects of cold weather can leave your skin hypersensitive and dry, cyclically menaced by redness, cracking, and irritation. As you battle against the elements, we bring the cavalry, offering tips from top experts who know all the late-winter tricks.
Here’s something to think about when it comes to the cold, dry months and your skin: “The top layers of your skin are actually made up of non-living, protective cells called keratinocytes, says New York-based dermatologist Erin Gilbert, MD. “In the winter, this top layer will naturally shed more than usual if you don’t exfoliate and moisturize it.”
And while there’s no proof that skin ages more in the winter, there’s another reason to step up the protocol. “Hydrated skin usually appears smoother and more supple than dry skin,” says dermatologist Jennifer A. Stein, MD, who teaches at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
These additional recommendations will restore that “ahhh” effect and leave you with a complexion that’s super clear, velvety-smooth, and set to segue into the spring season.
GET SKIN DEEP
Switch to a gel or cream cleanser, and don’t forget to exfoliate. “Gentle exfoliation encourages better product penetration by removing the dead cells that interfere with absorption,” says Dr. Gilbert.
LOCK IN MOISTURE
New York-based Dr. Gervaise Gerstner, consulting dermatologist for L’Oreal Paris, recommends limiting the amount of time in the bath and refraining from using extremely hot water. Another moisture-retaining tip: “As soon as you get out of the shower or bath, apply a generous amount of moisturizer while your skin is still damp,” she says.
DON’T SKIMP ON GOOD BODY LOTION
“Look for a body moisturizer that helps with cell turnover. For dry, flaky legs, remove dead skin so that your moisturizer can actually penetrate,” says Dr. Gerstner. We like Glo Therapeutics Therapeutic Body Cream ($40, gloprofessional. com).
LAYERING ISN’T JUST FOR YOUR WARDROBE
Layer face moisturizers and eye creams, too. “Think of your skin as a dry kitchen sponge,” says Dr. Robb Akridge, one of the founders of Clarisonic and board director of Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors. “What most people do is moisten the sponge, and then water is rapidly absorbed by the sponge. It’s the same with your skin. He recommends Clarisonic Opal ($185, clarisonic.com) to prepare the delicate, dry skin under your eyes with a light eye serum. “It hydrates better than you can by hand. The hydrated skin can then absorb a richer eye cream.” For the face, Dr. Gerstner says, ”If you have a serum you love year-round, you can still use it, but add a cream on top of it to lock it in place.” Try Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum ($130, elizabetharden.com).
Look for products like La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil ($300, laprairie.com) that maintain the skin barrier. Don’t ever underestimate the power of oils. “Keeping skin well-moisturized is important,” says Dr. Gerstner. “This entails boosting your winter regimen to include thicker moisturizers, as well as treatments aimed at restoring moisture.”
NIGHTTIME IS THE RIGHT TIME
“I tend to place more weight on the evening regimen, since this is when your skin undergoes the most active phase of cellular rejuvenation,” says Dr. Gilbert. Boost night hydration by applying a mask before bed, such as Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Algae Gel Masque ($40, kerstinfl orian.com) and use a sleep mask, a popular wintertime aid.
DON’T FORGET SPF PROTECTION
“UV rays reflecting o the snow in the wintertime can be more intense than in summer months,” says Dr. Gilbert. “SPF 30 protects from premature aging and skin cancer.” Go for Ole Henriksen Protect the Truth SPF 50+ ($35, sephora.com).
Fight dullness with a highlighter that adds sheen. Try Elizabeth Arden Pure Cool Radiance Highlighter ($28.50, elizabeth arden.com; available March 2014).
NEVER FORGET YOUR LIPS
“Don’t lick your lips,” says Dr. Gerstner. “Find moisturizing lipsticks and balms.”