When the temperature plummets, your epidermis can suffer, as the harsh elements outside and the dehydrating heat indoors take their toll. To combat Old Man Winter’s shenanigans, we asked scouted skin experts across the country for tips on the best ways to support the body’s largest organ during these drying months. Prepare to give your skin some much needed TLC.
Improve your skin from the inside out. Across the board, experts agree the most common winter skin problem is a marked increase in dryness. Creams, oils, acids, and cosmetics can help, but Dr. Robyn Del Negro of Del Negro Integrative Health in Red Bank, New Jersey, notes these topical treatments aren’t enough to completely solve your dry skin woes. “Before diving into the pricey lotions and potions, focus on nourishing and brightening your skin from the inside out,” she shares. Start by limiting sugary sodas, dairy-heavy coffee drinks, and alcoholic beverages, and reach for water—and lots of it—instead. Del Negro recommends drinking eight to 10 glasses a day to maintain adequate hydration, as well as consuming foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and probiotics. Ready to make your grocery list? Fill your fridge and pantry with colorful fruits and veggies (especially those with a high water content), fatty fish, avocados, flax seed, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, sweet potatoes, kimchee, and yogurt.
Adjust your shower routine. We love a long hot shower on a cold day, but Dr. Heather Haley, owner of Haley Dermatology Group in Fairhope, Alabama, reports this little pleasure pulls moisture out of your skin in a flash. Instead, Haley advocates for a short, warm shower, and limiting the amount of soap or body wash used, as these products can be drying. Post-shower, she notes adding moisturizer—cream, lotion, or body oil—within minutes of getting out of the shower to lock in moisture. Haley adds, if you use lotion during the summer time, consider switching to a heavier cream in the winter months.
Get your beauty rest. Wondering why your skin sometimes feels drier in the morning than it does at night? Laura Boucher, RN BSN, at Livio Med Spa in Cincinnati, Ohio, explains the heat produced by your furnace can pull moisture from the air, resulting in dull-looking, dehydrated skin. “Since your skin goes through the reparative process while you sleep,” Bucher shares. “A bedside humidifier combats heat’s drying effects and can help you restore some of that lost moisture.”
Try a treatment. The market is flooded with treatments and that can make it difficult to determine which one is right for your winter skin. Expert esthetician Roxy Drese, owner of SkinRX Clinical Spa in Southlake and Dallas, Texas, recommends two treatments that target hydrating your winter visage. “I’m a big advocate for hydrafacials as a way to exfoliate and infuse serums,” she says. “IV therapy is also a wonderful way to hydrate your skin, giving you an internal boost of vitamins and minerals that result in glowing skin for days!” Stephanie Peck, owner of Stephanie’s Skin Solutions in Williamsburg, Virginia, adds that winter is the ideal time to work on repairing any damage incurred from summer heat and sun exposure.“ This time of year, microdermabrasion treatment is ideal for deeper exfoliation, encouraging cell turnover, and slowing the signs of aging,” she says. Peck notes it’s best to use professional products post-treatment to ensure the longevity of the benefits. “As estheticians, we can do a lot for your skin, but we count on clients to continue the work once they leave our treatment room.”
Don’t shun retinol. One of the most studied anti-aging ingredients available, retinol consistently tops dermatologists list as a workhorse product you should use year round. While it may seem counterintuitive to use a product that can cause dryness and peeling, , Haley recommends staying the course if you’re a retinol user. “When you first start using retinol, your skin needs a few weeks to get acclimated,” she explains. “If you stop during the winter, you’ll have to go through that adjustment period again when you restart in the warmer months.” For winter retinol users Haley suggests adding a super hydrating product right on top, such as Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Repair or Cervae Healing Ointment.
Get comfy with hyaluronic acid. When the name of the game is hydrating your skin, the experts reach for products that include hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acid binds water to the skin,” Boucher explains. “Once you apply the product containing hyaluronic acid, be sure to follow with a good moisturizer to lock in that hydration.” Boucher advises adding any of the following hyaluronic acid powerhouses to your medicine cabinet: SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, ZO Skin Health Gentle Cleanser, and SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser.
Always reach for SPF. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times—slather on your sunscreen year round. Drese encourages clients to wear a mineral-based sunscreen and SPF-based lip balm whenever leaving the house, and to reapply every 90 minutes. Some of her favorite sunscreen brands include SkinBetter, Elta MD, and Coola.
Feature photo by Unsplash. TSG Tip 448 from Dr. Robyn Del Negro, owner of Del Negro Integrative Health in Red Bank, New Jersey; Dr. Heather Haley, owner of Haley Dermatology Group in Fairhope, Alabama; Laura Boucher, RN BSN, at Livio Med Spa in Cincinnati, Ohio; Roxy Drese, owner of SkinRX Clinical Spa in Southlake and Dallas, Texas; Stephanie Peck, owner of Stephanie’s Skin Solutions in Williamsburg, Virginia. Del Negro Integrative Health appears in The Scout Guide Two Rivers & The Shore. Haley Dermatology Group appears in The Scout Guide Mobile Bay. Livio Med Spa appears in The Scout Guide Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky. SkinRX Clinical Spa appears in The Scout Guide Southlake & Grapevine. Stephanie’s Skin Solutions appears in The Scout Guide Williamsburg & The Chesapeake Bay.