When the weather dips below zero, it’s not just your all-season tires you need to trade up. Try my tried-and-true cold weather skincare swaps and add-ons.
Swap Lotions for Creams
The lightweight lotions you used on your body in the summer may not be rich enough help counteract winter’s drying effects. Lotions have more water than creams. Reach for a winter moisturizer that is a mix of humectants and emollients.
Humectants are lightweight molecules; they include glycerine, urea, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid. They work by attracting and retaining water the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. If you have oily skin, choose lotions with more humectants listed within the top ingredients on the ingredients list.
Emollient-based formulas, such as balms and butters, are heavier formulas. They form an invisible protective layer on top of the epidermis, protecting it from water loss, the elements and potential allergens. They include shea butter, mineral oil, lanolin, and petroleum.
Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett recommends thick emollient creams for very dry skin and intolerant skin types. And she stresses to always apply moisturizer when your skin is still damp to lock in more moisture. “Because the top layer of the skin changes its properties to hold water, it’s more permeable to the product when wet,” explains our skin doc.
I’ve swapped my Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizing spray lotion for the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($10, mass market drugstores) back in October. It’s a rich blend of colloidal oatmeal and emollients that heals itchy dry skin (and ashy legs!) overnight without greasing up your bedsheets. I love it. My younger sister, who has severe eczema, has been testing out the new Polysporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream ($20, mass market drugstores). So far, she’s liking it, but she adds that she has several emollient creams in her winter skincare rotation.
Don’t Stop Exfoliating
The cold from outside and indoor heating can rob your skin of moisture, leaving it feeling like sandpaper and looking like a crocodile purse. My legs, elbows, knees, heels, and hands are particularly prone to extreme dryness – borderline eczema, sometimes! However I would never use my Kellett Polishing Cleanser on my body because, first of all, it’s packed with active ingredients so it’s expensive, and secondly, the evenly-shaped polyethylene beads are better on facial skin.
Luckily I found a grainier scrub at my recent waxing appointment at Fuzz Wax Bar that makes perfect sense for bodily use, especially to compliment the results from waxing: preparing the skin before and helping to prevent ingrown hairs afterwards.
Created by Consonant Skincare, The Skin Perfecting Body Scrub ($30) is made with both salt and sugar in a moisturizing glycerin base. It also contains several anti-inflammatory oils such as olive, caster seed, and jojoba seed. It leaves my skin feeling like velvet.
Add an Oil
Beauty oils are a huge trend now, and they’re fantastic for the body, hair, and nails, but it’s wise to keep your skin type in mind if you plan on using them on your face. Those with mature, dry skin benefit most from facial oils, however Dr. Kellett warns that those with oilier complexions should stick to gel-based moisturizers since they don’t aggravate acne.
I’m enjoying the new citrusy scented Inca Oil Extraordinaire Collection by Cake Beauty, a Canadian brand (yay!) that I like for my body. Their Cleansing and Revitalizing Shower Oil ($25, cakebeauty.com) turns your shower into a luxuriant spa experience, and can be used as a shaving oil. Their Rejuvenating Oil ($36) is a non-greasy post-shower moisturizer that provides an extra sealant for seriously parched skin, crusty cuticles, and split ends. It can also be used as slip agent for massages.
Try to avoid taking long and hot showers, as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils and also aggravate rosacea-prone skin.
Add a Gel Serum
Facial moisturizers are the most important part of any skincare regime, and they are better than regular body lotions and creams because they are formulated to be non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). Most skin-savvy people already use a moisturizing sunscreen as their day cream, so there is little need to add another moisturizer, unless you’ve got very dry skin. For those with normal to oily skin looking for more moisture without being too occlusive, try a gel serum that contains humectants and proven anti-agers.
I’m loving the new medical-grade Kellett Skincare Peptide Gel ($199, kellettskincare.com) for my acne-prone skin; I’ve been using it twice a day, morning and night, for a month now. This water-based lightweight formula contains multiple peptides in a hyaluronic acid base, which pulls water into the skin like a magnet, making the skin look healthier and fine lines plumper. Included also are elasticity-boosting niacinamide (vitamin B3) and panthenol (Provitamin B5) to help improve skin’s barrier function and soothe chapped rough skin. And of course, the key ingredients are peptides, which are cell-communicating molecules that have exhibited wound healing abilities to some degree (ooh potentially helpful for acne scars!), but more accepted as a complement to antioxidants in improving skin-cell function. That’s why Dr. Kellett suggests applying this peptide gel before putting on antioxidant serums (vitamin C and vitamin A), as doing so in this order will help all of the actives penetrate more effectively. Come Springtime, your face won’t look like Wicked Winter beat you up.