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Winter-Proof Your Skin: Our Winter Skincare Guide
Stay Soft All Over
Try these smooth moves to have soft skin all over.
Buff before bathing. To soothe roughness in winter, apply a creamy scrub to dry, not wet, skin before showering, King says. (A good one: Vickery & Clarke Ginger & Clementine Body Scrub, $8.95, cvs.com.) Or use the pros' secret weapon, a body brush. "The -bristles loosen and remove dead skin cells without any mess," King says. (The Body Shop Cactus Body Brush, $15, thebodyshop-usa.com, is gentle.)
Conserve water. Hot H2O ranks high on the moisture-stripping scale, but a long shower is worse. "Pruny skin signals that your natural levels of oil have been washed away," says David Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. His suggested time: ten minutes, tops. (It's a greener choice too.)
Slather up. Apply body lotion or cream immediately after a shower. "Like a wet sponge, damp skin absorbs moisture more readily than dry," King says. Intensify your lotion by mixing it with a teaspoon of body oil (try Palmer's Skin Therapy Oil, $10.99, drugstores).
How to Care for Dry Skin
Cut back on cleansing. Face wash is designed to remove debris, but it can take away a bit of moisture in the process. "In winter, limit washes to once a day," says Judith Hellman, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. The best time: "Do it at night, when you need to remove dirt and makeup," Dr. Hellman says.
Soften in two steps. Apply an SPF moisturizer all over; UV rays are drying. Then add a richer formula to cheeks, says Heidi Waldorf, M.D., director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. (Use a gel? Try a lotion. Use a lotion? Try a cream.)
Say A-HA! Fine lines and deeper creases are more noticeable in the winter, when skin isn't as hydrated and plump. To minimize their appearance, apply a lotion formulated with alpha hydroxy acids. "AHAs fade wrinkles and act as humectants, drawing water molecules from deep in the skin to the surface," Dr. Bank explains.
Your Skin-Care Soulmates:
- Exuviance Evening Restorative Complex, $35, exuviance.com, is made with the gentlest AHAs
- Clarins HydraQuench Cream SPF 15, $49, clarinsusa.com, is a soothing SPF for dry skin.
- Bior? 4-in-1 Self-Foaming Cleanser, $6.99, drugstores, erases makeup, dirt and oil.
How to Care for Sensitive Skin
Wash with lotion. Cleanse with a cream-based formula rather than a gel. "Thicker, opaque formulas contain more moisturizing emollients," Dr. Hellman says. To max out its moisturizing ability, tissue off, don't rinse; you'll remove dirt while leaving behind a layer of healthy-skin ingredients such as glycerin.
Pass on perfume. "Fragrance is one of the most common irritants, especially when applied to sensitive skin," Dr. Hellman says. Scan product labels for phrases such as "fragrance free," and check the ingredient lists to be sure "fragrance" isn't there. (Hint: It's usually at the end.)
Antiage, gently. Look for skin-care products that pack a double punch. They should be formulated with peptides — amino acids that repair skin damage and stimulate the natural production of collagen — as well as antioxidants to fade freckles and spots, Dr. Bank says. The most effective, according to the doc: coffeeberry, idebenone and kinetin.
Your Skin-Care Soulmates
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $8, drugstores, cleanses and softens with a few splashes.
- Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment, $98, kinerase.com, has peptides and kinetin.
- Clinique Comfort on Call Allergy Tested Relief Cream, $39.50, clinique.com, is perfume-free.
How to Care for Pimple-Prone Skin
Unplug pores. Lather up daily with a one-step exfoliating cleanser containing salicylic acid, which dissolves dead skin cells and oil. "Grainy scrubs can be too irritating if used with a heavy hand each day," Dr. Bank says. Those formulated for normal, not oily, skin are made with gentler ingredients.
Use the right moisturizer. It may sound counterintuitive, but lotion actually keeps oil in check. "Stripping skin of moisture causes it to pump out excess sebum," King says. The secret to staying clear: a superlight, noncomedogenic cream. It keeps skin supple but won't clog pores.
Do double duty. Dealing with pimples and wrinkles is a drag. But both are treatable with one ingredient: retinol, a derivative of vitamin A. "It stimulates collagen growth, reverses sun damage and keeps pores clear," Dr. Bank says. When applying, skip the area around your nostrils; ingredients can accumulate in the crevices there, causing flaking.
Your Skin-Care Soulmates
- RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum, $19.99, drugstores, clears and smooths.
- Neutrogena Skin ID Foaming Cleanser, $39.90/kit, skinid.com, sloughs off dead skin.
- Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care, $21, vichyusa.com, balances your complexion.
Originally published in FITNESS Magazine, February 2009.