Winter is approaching faster than many of us would like, and for most of us that means it is time to address our changing skin needs. As the air outside gets windier and colder and the humidity decreases, indoor heat gets hotter and drier. This leads to skin that is parched from moisture as the air around us, indoor and out, selfishly steals our reserves. Rosacea, which is commonly triggered by extremes in temperature, can flare more easily. Chronic conditions like eczema and psoriasis can flare too, and those with acne-prone skin often notice an increase in breakouts.
Another confounding factor is that while winter weather may be imminently approaching, Fall temperatures can range widely from day to day and week to week. One day it can be cold and blustery and the very next day temperatures can soar into the 60’s, making it difficult to know what coat to wear let alone which moisturizer to use. Wool and coarse fabrics can irritate your skin and add to the problem. Here are solutions to your transitional-weather skin woes:
- Try to avoid extremes in temperature: This is one of the main triggers for rosacea but can also lead to sensitivity and irritation in any skin type. While you can’t control the outdoor temperature, you can control how it affects you by dressing in layers to help quickly accommodate for changes throughout the day- indoors and out.
- Keep your skin hydrated: Our skin naturally repairs and rejuvenates itself but needs the right conditions to optimize it’s efforts. Having healthy, hydrated skin is the best place to start. But, colder days, especially when it is dry and windy can steal in precious moisture from your skin. A few notes to keep in mind: the body is often drier than the face, and all skin loses water as you sleep and your body repairs damage from the day, so be sure to add a richer layer of hydration at night and find an easy to maintain humidifier to use in your bedroom as you sleep, allowing your skin to protect, replenish and restore its moisture bank.
- Have the right skin care products ready in your arsenal: Key pieces are critical. Once you know which products you love and what works best for you, make sure you have them supplied and available to use on the fly as needed. Once you learn to listen to your skin and remember to routinely think of your daily skincare as you would your outfit selection for the day, you will start feeling and seeing more consistency in your skin health. See below to learn how to select the best products for your skin needs.
If all your efforts still only get you so far, trust the experts- after all it is what we are here for!
Skincare products that help you cope:
Facial Serums with Hyaluronic Acid
Depending on how prone to dryness your skin is, the cold air will quickly steal moisture from your skin. Layering serums, thinnest to thickest, under lotions and creams, helps to infuse your skin with deeper hydration. Topping off with the right lotion or cream will seal in all the good stuff so you’ll be best prepared for blustery, cold days.
I like to think of using Hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant, helping to pull in and hold water in the skin, as an ingredient that helps to fill the well. HA attracts water from the air around you and holds onto it, up to 1,000 times its weight, and is part of how your skin hydrates itself naturally. After a week or so of consistent HA use your skin’s moisture well will be replenished so you have better defense against dryness. As we age, we lose our reserves of naturally occurring HA so it’s important to supplement with it topically. Not only will it help you feel less dry but your skin will also plump up and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will soften.
Facial Antioxidant Serums
Using antioxidant serums year round is a must. In the summer, we tote antioxidants for their protective qualities when layered with sunscreens and the same is true in the winter months. Some of us can upgrade to more emollient formulas in the winter for an extra boost of hydration. If you don’t already have a facial antioxidant you love, … are all highly recommended!
Super Gentle Exfoliants
You might notice that treatment ingredients and acne medications suddenly begin to irritate your skin as the weather gets colder. This is because as your skin loses moisture and naturally occurring protective oils, active ingredients penetrate more deeply. To counter this, use actives less often and sandwich them between serums and moisturizers. Ty these clever products, my Retinol Level 2 or Retinol level 3, to rejuvenate and help to enhance skin function and barrier repair.
Your moisturizers will never work better than they do when layered over your favorite Hyaluronic Acid and Antioxidant Serums. And for some of us, these layers of serums might be enough, especially when topped in the day with a protective sunscreen. For those who need a bit more, we recommend finding a formulation designed for your specific skin needs. Drier skin types can use moisturizers morning and night. For combination-to-normal-to-dry skins, we say sleep in one that you love, remembering to slather your neck and chest too.
1-2 nights a week you can apply a hydrating mask. For very dry skin, apply a cream or gel based mask like my pore refining hydrating Pumpkin Mask. Make sure you’ve got a good humidifier going while you sleep, too. Certain essential oil diffusers also infuse the air with moisture with the adding bonus of sleep-enhancing essential oils like Lavender or Chamomile. In a pinch, take a tip from our grandmothers and great grandmothers and place a bowl of water by your bed- it doesn’t work nearly as well as the other options but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Lips, Hands, Body
Dry, chapped skin can start to appear on the hands, legs and body as soon as the weather starts to change. Before drying off, try applying 1-2 pumps of an exfoliating, hydrating body lotion.
Replace hand soaps with richer moisturizing formulas and keep hand lotions next to your sink in the bathroom and kitchen and apply after every hand wash and in your purse for when you’re on the go. Pro tip: If you don’t like your hands to feel greasy, just apply the formula to the back of your hands from time to time. Keep your hands covered with gloves or mittens on especially cold days to protect them from cold, dry air.
To better manage dry cracked feet, begin by exfoliating regularly. Most of us get pedicures less frequently in the winter but when you do, skip the exfoliating callus remover and more aggressive exfoliation methods offered at spas as they can go wrong, making you more prone to cracked heels.
Instead, when you step out of the shower, apply a rich cream. You could also try a buttermilk foot soak for 5-10 minutes. It’s super simple, just pour ½ cup of buttermilk and ¼ honey into a shallow bowl and soak feet, rinse and then apply my Body Retinol for super soft and supple feet all winter long.
Lips need love too! Be sure to apply a hydrating lip serum and reapply it throughout the day. Keep it accessible by having it in your bag at all times.
Hands: Dr. Day’s Handle With Care
Lips: Rejuva Lip
Body: Body Retinol