Prep your skin for winter
The season of dry skin is upon us.
Yes, winter means breathtakingly quiet snowy mornings, hitting the slopes, slippery commutes, and lots of slush. Of course it also means plenty of time indoors, preferably basking in the glow of a fire, but usually in the blast of some kind of forced air heating. For the skincare-centric, the nippy/toasty combo spells havoc: dry skin, cracked heels, and ruddiness to rival Rudolph’s. But winter conditions don’t have to mean a constant battle against flaking and chapping.
Here are our favorite tips for protecting your skin from winter’s ravages.
Get creamed: While foaming cleansers work great in the summer to remove sweat and oil, in the winter consider investing in a milkier cleanser that’s heavy on the nourishment. We love Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion (4 oz; $27), which combines the astringency of lemon with hydrating oat milk and cocoa butter.
Scrub-a-dub: Dead skin cells tend to clump together as the weather turns cold, so exfoliation is a must. Plus, sloughing off the layer of dead skin will make your moisturizer doubly effective. But go easy on your complexion—enzyme-based exfoliants tend to be gentler than a granular scrub. Simply Divine Botanicals Peel Me a Papaya Enzymatic Exfoliant (3 oz; $20) makes use of green papayas and coconut’s soothing qualities while clay and cornmeal get the dead out.
But don’t rub: First off, limit how long you stay in for a warm soak or hot shower, as this causes your pores to open and moisture to evaporate. When drying off, try to pat your skin dry rather than rubbing—it chafes the skin and, if done too vigorously, can escalate into towel abuse. Rubbing also removes excess water too efficiently, whereas blotting dry the skin leaves it a bit damp. Trap in this bonus moisture by immediately applying an oil or cream; The Body Deli Rose Euphoria Body Oil (8 oz; $22), besides smelling heavenly, combines several rich plant oils that absorb quickly.
Slake your skin with serum: You don’t necessarily have to switch out your favorite face moisturizer in winter for something heavier, but it wouldn’t hurt to amplify its potency by adding a serum layer underneath. Serums, though lightweight, are chock a block full of regenerating nutrients designed to penetrate the skin deeply. One of the best we’ve found is Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Serum (1 oz; $85), full of antioxidant-rich red clover leaf extract. Try this trick to make both your serum and moisturizer extra effective: spritz cleansed skin with a face mist, and then apply serum. Let your serum absorb for a few minutes, follow with your regular moisturizer. Voila— you now have triple action protection that will take you from a long day on the slopes to cozy, fireside Scrabble.
No slacking with sunscreen: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen. Snow glare heightens the intensity of UVB rays, and wrinkle-causing UVAs don’t care about seasons. Get in the habit of using a daily moisturizer that has sunscreen in it, and for days spent mostly outdoors, aim for a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Burt’s Bees Radiance Day Lotion with SPF 15 (2 oz; $18), perfect for days spent mostly at the office, eschews chemical sunscreens and leaves no tell-tale white residue.
Lip balm lust: If you’re a chapstick addict, make sure you choose balms that aren’t toxic. You end up eating most of what you smear on your lips, and most of the ingredients in conventional products are nothing you want to dine on. You can’t beat the array of flavors that petroleum-free Ecolips ($2) come in; right now we swear by the strawberry-kiwi. But even if you’re using the good stuff—such as salves made from shea butter, beeswax, or jojoba oil—try not to lick. Saliva, because it’s acidic, dehydrates the lips.