It doesn’t matter what skin type you have-even oily complexions feel the effects when you turn up the thermostat.
It doesn’t matter what skin type you have-even oily complexions feel the effects when you turn up the thermostat. “In the cold, your skin attempts to conserve heat by constricting blood vessels, which in turn dries out the outer layers of your skin,” explains New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D. This makes skin feel dry and look dull. Also: Fine lines appear more prominent. (Awesome!)
If your face is dry, start by exfoliating regularly with a gentle product like Lancôme Rose Sugar Scrub ($25, sephora.com) so that when you do use moisturizer, it’ll actually penetrate skin effectively, says Jaliman.
You'll also want to look for products containing super-hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as ceramides, which help repair the skin barrier where the water loss is occurring, advises Mark.
But wait-are you using a cream moisturizer? “In general, lotions aren’t very hydrating and gels are alcohol-based and drying, which you want to avoid,” says dermatologist Kenneth Mark, M.D.. Try Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer ($45, amazon.com) for a nourishing burst of honey, hyaluronic acid, cupuaçu butter, and echinacea.
Don’t forget lips, which often bear the worst brunt of the cold. But avoid these common ingredients: “Beeswax just sits on the surface of the lip and doesn’t absorb, and camphor, phenol, and menthol should be avoided as they just dry lips out,” warns Jaliman. Try Lanolips 101 Ointment ($16.95, amazon.com), which pairs super-hydrating lanolin in an ointment formula, which is the best consistency for dry skin, says Mark.
Jaliman also recommends doing a moisturizing sheet mask once or twice a week for added hydration, plus bonus anti-aging and brightening benefits, she says. Try the Yes To Carrots & Kale Paper Mask ($2.52, amazon.com), a 100 percent cotton mask rich in vitamins A and E to hydrate depleted skin.
For body skin, look for rich creams (the kind that stay in the jar when you turn it upside down!) filled with butters and ceramides, says Jaliman. She loves Bareminerals Butter Drench Restorative Rich Cream ($38, amazon.com). “This product is great because it has shea butter, which is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree-plus no parabens,” Jaliman says, which can irritate and dry out skin.
Hands are among the most stubborn areas to treat, and you’ll want to look for glycerin and chamomile to do the job, like in Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment ($9.99, amazon.com), suggests Jaliman. “Glycerin is a humectant that draws water from the air into skin’s outer layer, and serves as a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss,” explains Jaliman. Chamomile, meanwhile, is great for dry skin and eczema because of its anti-inch and anti-inflammatory properties, she adds.
Invest in a humidifier at home, suggests Jaliman-this will help keep moisture in the air and prevent the conditions that lead to dry and flakey skin in the first place. It’s especially helpful to sleep with one on overnight, when skin is doing its deepest restorative work.
Before you put on makeup, prime your face with a hydrating primer (on top of your moisturizer)-this will add an extra layer of moisture that helps plump up fine lines. Put the long-lasting and matte lip colors away (they dry out lips like none other), and opt for lipgloss or tinted balms to keep lips nice and smooth instead.
Keep skin covered when you’re out in the cold with scarves, hats, gloves, and jackets. Wind combined with cold temperatures can rapidly dry out exposed skin. It also helps to wear natural materials like cotton, says Jaliman-synthetic fabrics can itch and irritate sensitive skin, drying it out in the process.
Finally, the one thing you can do that makes the biggest difference? Don’t take long, hot steaming showers and baths (sorry!) Instead, try not to go above warm and keep that shower short in order to preserve more hydration in skin, say both Jaliman and Mark. Pat, don’t rub, skin dry with a cotton towel, and immediately apply your body cream while skin is damp for maximum absorption.