By Hannah Muehlberger
It’s that time of year again when the weather gets cold and your skin gets dry and you get uncomfortable. Those who have dry, sensitive skin year-round know the drill: lotion up and use Aquaphor and/or Vaseline until the weather hits the 50s again. However, there is so much more that you should be doing to save your skin from the cold, harsh winter. And it is not just the cold, but the air outside and inside gets drier during the cold winter months. This can cause not just dry skin, but dry hair as well. Below we have a list of products you can use to save your skin and hair from the dry winter.
First, if you have dry skin, it is necessary to still wash your face and exfoliate. However, during the winter, you should use exfoliants in moderation. Exfoliating too often, in general, can dry out your skin; but in the winter, when your skin is more vulnerable, exfoliating too much can scrub off the natural oils on your face that keep your skin replenished. When your skin is irritated, it’s best to keep your skin routine simple and make sure to limit irritants as much as possible. To start, you should start by using a gentle cleanser on your face when you wake up. The best products for this are Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, Clinique Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam, and La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.
The importance of using a cleanser that has an emphasis on hydration or gentleness is that these products include key ingredients to help reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and restore the oils on your face that keep your skin from losing that vital moisture. When you are thinking about preventing and/or treating dry skin, it is significant to consider products that might throw off the balance of your skin’s pH levels. So using toner might have to wait until the Spring. If you are someone who struggles with dry skin and acne, there are products that you can use to help treat dry skin and inflammation without causing oily skin. CeraVe’s Renewing SA Cleanser uses Salicylic Acid to gently exfoliate and remove excess oil while still keeping your skin hydrated and preventing it from drying out. However, when thinking about using any products with Salicylic Acid during the winter, it might be more beneficial to alternate the product with one of the gentle skin cleansers discussed above. While useful and effective, Salicylic Acid is extremely powerful, and due to dry air and cold weather, your skin becomes more vulnerable and sensitive to harsher exfoliants and strong treatments. After washing your face it is very important to then give moisture back to your skin. But before you lather up, it is important to incorporate serums before moisturizers, this is because “Serums are formulated with small molecular weight actives so they penetrate into deeper skin layers”* because serums are lighter than a moisturizer, they will be able to get at your skin’s layers deeper before locking in the moisture from the cream or lotion of your choice. The best serums to get should include hyaluronic acid, retinol, collagen, and squalane. You can find a lot of different brands and products that contain these important ingredients, however, some brands include other additives that are not good for your skin and just aren’t the real thing. Here are some products that are for real and won’t break your bank. The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 as well as their 100% Plant-Derived Squalane. Some other good products to use include TruSkin Hyaluronic Acid, ArtNaturals LUXE Retinol Serum, and CeraVe’s Resurfacing Retinol Serum, and their Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
Now, if you don’t want two separate products for both a moisturizer and a serum, get a moisturizer that includes all of the necessary ingredients you can find in a serum. CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 30 and Hyaluronic Acid can deliver the nourishing lipids and ceramides your skin needs. Another great product is Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, as well as La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer with Niacinamide. A water-gel cream is another option to use that can deliver that essential hydration while giving you that cool, refreshing, and light feeling to your face. Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense 72H Lipid-Replenishing Hydrator Moisturizer, and their Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate are excellent products to use. Sunday Riley’s Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream is an additional product that delivers hydration and soft skin. When thinking about moisturizers for your body, the same key ingredients of hyaluronic acid and retinol are also important to use. The same brands for facial moisturizers also have moisturizing products that will help the dry spots on your body. And not to favor CeraVe again but their body lotions are amazing, like their Daily Moisturizing Body and Face Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid, SA Cream for Rough and Bumpy Skin, and their Itch Relief Moisturizer.
Just like the skin on your face and body, the skin on your scalp can get dry during the winter too. It is important to give your scalp as much love as your face and body! If you are experiencing a dry scalp, it is best to opt for a scalp serum. Pacifica’s Scalp Love Rosemary Mint Serum, Derma E’s Scalp Relief Treatment, or The Body Shop’s Ginger Scalp Serum are great choices. They purify, treat, renew, and revive your scalp against the harsh cold, dry air.
When looking for a shampoo and conditioner for dry scalp and dry hair, some great additions to use are Monday’s Shampoo and Conditioner for Gentle Scalps and Hair, Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree, Lavender, and Mint Shampoo and Conditioner, and VERB’s Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. The same brands
that have products for the scalp serums mentioned earlier also have shampoo’s and conditioners that are suitable for your winter dry hair and dry scalp. To finish off, you want to make sure you lock in the moisture in your hair, and the use of light oil can do just the trick. Oils specifically used to replenish your strands include Moroccanoil’s Treatment Oil, VERB’s Moringa + Jojoba Treatment Oil, and Redken’s All Soft Argan 6-Oil.
Other tips to help your hair and skin survive the winter is to be sure to not take showers that are too hot, moisturize once you get out of the shower, try not to over wash your skin and hair, and when taking baths opt for moisturizing oils and/or foaming baths. Keep warm, and keep moisturized!
*According to Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare.