There are a few less pleasant side effects to consider, despite all of winter's sweeping seasonal highs (fireside parties, snowy walks, and ice-skating in Central Park). Enter the avalanche of dry, itchy skin that's destined to stay for the foreseeable future. While using a decent moisturizer at the very first sign of a cold is beneficial, the dry atmosphere and interior heat may already have taken their toll. Fortunately, there's still time to commit to a regular practice that will keep your skin nourished and shining.
Prepare Your Residence
The skin is drier when the air is dry. Doctors recommend using a humidifier in the area where you spend more time, which is often the bedroom, to increase the quantity of water in the air. 'A cold air humidifier enhances the moisture content in the air,' she explains, which keeps the skin's barrier moisturized. Additionally, keep the heat on low or at a reasonable setting to minimize excess dryness in the air.
Alter your eating habits
Increasing your daily fat intake may assist with dry skin because there is a direct link between gut and skin health. A diet high in walnuts, olive oil, and avocados is recommended by the doctor (but not to sub them for a proper skin-care routine). While an additional drink of full-bodied red wine can seem like a good idea, the doctor advises caution. 'Alcohol, caffeine, and coffee are diuretics that can promote dehydration,' she warns. 'Drink loads of water,' she adds.
Make Your Skin Shine
Without some gentle exfoliation, despite the number of times serums and lotions are used, dry skin will remain dry. 'Pick up a soft scrub with a moderate glycolic or lactic acid to get rid of the dead skin,' advises the doctor. Up to three times per week, replace your standard cleanser with a mild product, according to the expert. For people with raw or very dry skin, a moist washcloth can be used instead of an exfoliator for a softer approach. And, while Retin-A is unquestionably the blemish star product, it is also a powerful exfoliator that 'may cause increased dryness throughout the winter,' so use it only every other day. 'Moisturizers can penetrate and truly go to work' now that the skin has been polished.
Apply an Antioxidant Serum.
Serums are the single exception to the norm, as most summery products are replaced in the winter. 'An antioxidant serum is ideal for year-round use as long as it's alcohol-free,' explains the doctor. She notes that skin 'gets assaulted by free radicals' regardless of the temperature, resulting in sunspots, collagen breakdown, and untimely fine lines. Apply a vitamin C mix for the first layer in the mornings before adding on heavier products to avoid damage. Don't forget the sunscreen—even on chilly, overcast days, a daily dosage of SPF 30 will keep skin protected.
Make the switch to thicker face cream.
Changing to a truly moisturizing moisturizer is one of the most critical and sometimes ignored moves in the dry skin game. 'Look for ceramides and hyaluronic acid-containing creams rather than lotions. Ceramides help to maintain the skin's barrier, which is 'easy to break down during the winter.' Apply a generous amount of product morning and night to people with badly chapped faces, she advises.
Avoid harsh cleaning products.
Replace any face washes containing drying chemicals, such as to scents or additives, with those that include chamomile or oatmeal. 'A mild cleanser, such as Cetaphil, is a terrific alternative because it won't remove the skin of its natural oils,' which are essential for skin protection.