Dry, chapped, cracked, flaky, irritated … skin can turn ugly in winter. During these fierce months of ice and cold, your skin craves extra attention. But with the right lotions, exfoliates and creams, you can restore your skin’s healthy beauty.
If you’re like me, hot showers are a part of your morning routine. After creeping out of bed into the freezing air, that hot water feels more than great. But hot water actually strips the natural oil from skin, leaving it dry and flaky. Experts suggest using lukewarm water instead.
After showering, apply an oil-based lotion while your skin is still damp, to lock in the moisture. If your skin tends to become extremely dry during the winter months, try a heavier lotion like Lancôme’s Absolute Body ($98), an intense moisturizing cream that promises to give skin a youthful glow. After trying some at a local department store counter, my skin felt extremely soft and rejuvenated. Even after leaving the store, I continued to feel the effects all day.
For a more economical option, I love Oil of Olay’s Quench Radiance Reviver Extra Dry Skin Formula ($6.99.) I use it on a daily basis after my morning shower. I was drawn to it because it advertised an improved skin tone with the use of self-tanner, yet it promised not to turn my skin a streaky orange color. I have been hooked ever since.
If your skin is dying for help, try body oil. Clarins makes a body treatment oil called Relax ($45) that can be used all over the body or just in dry areas.
However, lotions and creams can’t completely correct dry skin unless you exfoliate regularly, because they cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin. Bath and Body Works Purely Silk Salt Scrub ($18.50) is a gentle scrub that leaves skin feeling unbelievably soft and moisturized. A friend gave me a jar last year. I used it about once a week and loved it. It’s soaked in oil, so you won’t need to apply a moisturizer afterwards, saving five to ten minutes.
Your face needs exfoliation too. Without it, your makeup may look patchy and be hard to blend. At the drugstore, find St. Ive’s Apricot Scrub ($3.50) to cleanse and exfoliate. Or invest in Dr. Brandt’s Mocrodermabrasion in a Jar ($75.) This treatment uses magnesium crystal oxides to immediately improve the texture and appearance of skin by smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. It even improves acne.
With the right exfoliate and moisturizer, your makeup will smooth on and blend much more naturally. I use Oil of Olay’s Complete All Day Moisturizing Lotion SPF 15 Daily after I cleanse each night and before I apply makeup in the morning. It never leaves my skin feeling oily, and includes an SPF 15. Even in winter, experts recommend wearing an SPF daily, If you are hitting the slopes, you’ll find it absolutely necessary; snow reflects the sun, which can cause severe sunburn.
Always let your moisturizer dry before applying makeup, to avoid diluting your foundation. And don’t forget your lips! Grab a lip balm containing a SPF 15 or higher and reapply every hour, if possible. I suggest Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm ($2.50), which protects lips using ingredients such as emollient lanolin and almond oil. My favorite part is the added peppermint for a tingle that feels absolutely amazing on dry, chapped lips. On the other hand, Fresh Sugar Lip Calm SPF 15 ($22) uses real sugar to replenish lips, yet it also contains essential fatty acids, giving lips an extra plump!
Indoor heating, especially forced-air heating, can also affect your skin by lowering humidity. Notice how dry your nasal passages feel during the winter? Just imagine what your skin is going through! But you can restore your indoor environment with a good humidifier. Or simply turn down your thermostat and do something nice for your skin and your budget.
Lastly, dress in layers. Sweating underneath clothes is the most common cause of dry skin and itching. By dressing in layers, you can remove or add clothing as needed. Wear natural fibers next to your skin (cotton under layers are perfect) and keep your layers loose-fitting. Fortunately, baggy clothing are trendy this year, as are oversized sunglasses.
Have fun with your clothing this winter, layering and accessorizing to create outfits that will not only look great, but will help keep your skin warm, dry and healthy.