With winter just around the corner (when did that happen?!), it’s officially time to break out your sweaters and prep your body to beat the chill—and that includes how you take care of your skin. Whether you’re facing the bitter winds of the outdoors or the blasting heat inside, it’s important to tweak your skincare routine to keep winter dryness and flakiness at bay.
“The skin is a lot drier this time of year, and with the cold weather you need to protect the barrier function of the skin’s outside layer,” say Betsy Rubenstone, director of skincare services at Deme, a plastic surgery, dental and skincare practice in Center City. “In other words, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.”
Roger that. But which products are best?
We talked to local experts to find out. But before we dive in, here are a few overarching rules for winter skin care:
- Even though the sun seems weaker in the winter, it's important to continue to wear an SPF when going outside. Ultra-violet and free-radical damage is still a very real threat.
- Do not over-exfoliate. Using cleansers with scrubbers strips the skin of oil and leaves it more vulnerable to harsh weather.
Read on for more rules, tailored to skin type, to keep your skin healthy and glowing for all those holiday photos.
If you're oily ...
"If you have oily skin, it's best to use a product that's a little lighter but will keep your skin moisturized in the winter, " says Michele Ziskind, a dermatologist at Paoli Hospital. She recommends CeraVe Cleanser (available at drug stores) and a light lotion: "CeraVe products contain ceramides, which act like little sponges, sucking moisture in and holding it there."
If you're dry...
Those of us with dry skin should note the difference between lotions and creams. "It's the percentage of water," says Ziskind. "Lotion has a higher percentage of water and lower oil." So, dry-skin gals (and guys, too!), you should stick to creams, which have more oil, for your winter skin care.
If you're shopping at CVS, try Cetaphil or Aveeno creams. For something a bit higher-end, Danuta Mieloch, the skin guru at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa, recommends Valmont Prime Regenera II ($215), a highly concentrated cream that repairs and heals moisture-hungry skin.
If you're prone to breakouts ...
Just like in warmer-weather months, you still need products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to cut oil, but look for ones that are less harsh to avoid over-drying. Ziskind likes Neutrogena's foaming acne cleansers, which she says are mild enough to use in the winter. Use an antioxidant-rich botanical mask once a week to keep pores clear.
If you're sensitive or prone to redness ...
Finding a cure for redness is the Holy Grail of the skincare world, says Ziskind: "Every cosmetic company is looking for something that controls redness." She likes Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer, which contains a redness-minimizing herb called feverfew. Another good one: Eucerin Redness Relief. "This is a licorice-based product that has a constrictive effect on blood vessels," says Ziskind. "Licochalcone is a licorice root extract with skin soothing properties."
A mask is also a good idea for people with redness. Mieloch likes Biologique Recherche's Masque Biosensible. Leave it on for 20 minutes for full soothing potential. Bonus: it helps soothe razor burn for guys.
If you're aging or wrinkled...
Fact: Aging or wrinkled skin needs a good moisturizer. "It's a common misconception that if you have oilier skin, you have fewer wrinkles, but that is absolutely not true," says Ziskind. "Wrinkled skin can be dry or oily." She advises going for products with retinol (a.k.a. pure vitamin A), such as RoC Retinol. It stimulates collagen production to help lessen the appearance of wrinkles. But word to the wise: Check with a doctor before beginning treatment with retinol products.