For those lucky enough to live in mid-70s sunny weather all year long, you are free to skip over this (but stick around anyway!). For everyone else, fall has arrived and winter is coming and with that means drier skin. Cold, wind, and home-heating sources can turn your outer layer into something even a crocodile would shy away from. If you are using central heating or fireplaces, or any other indoor heat, you will need a heavy duty moisturizer to make up the difference—especially on your hands, feet, face, and neck.
Moisturizing Face and Hands
While dryness can strike all parts of your body, it’s particularly obvious on your face and hands. Clinique Moisture Surge Intense ($37) provides a surge of hydration for dry to dry combination facial skin. It’s rich, yet oil free and is formulated to keep skin hydrated for 24 hours. Daily use of this cream-gel helps fortify and repair the skin’s own moisture barrier, which keeps moisture in and environmental irritants out. For the hands, cult-favorite Caudalié Hand and Nail Cream ($19) fights aging while it repairs, hydrates, soothes and nourishes. Formulated without any parabens or synthetic dyes, it strengthens and restores nails without leaving a greasy film. This rich cream has a sweet orange fragrance, is safe to use daily, and includes high concentrations of patented antioxidant grapevine polyphenols and Vinolevure (wine yeast).
Beware of Winter Sun Damage
Just because you’re not hitting the beach after Labor Day doesn’t mean you won’t get sunburned on cold days since it’s the UV light that burns and not the temperature. Make sun protection a vital part of your skincare routine all year long as sun damage causes dry skin in addition to familiar issues like premature wrinkles, rough texture, dark spots, and skin cancer. Use an SPF 30 anytime you plan on being outdoors—even for incidental sun exposure. For prolonged sun exposure, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA/UVB rays with a higher SPF applied every few hours is the way to go. When it comes to sunscreen, products that do double duty are always appreciated. Check out Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection Tint SPF 40 ($40). Available in three tints, it protects while imparting very sheer coverage. Supergoop! SPF 35+ Save Face A.M. Moisturizer with Advanced UV Protection ($28) moisturizes, protects against UVA/UVB and contains anti-aging and antioxidant ingredients.
Winterizing the Body Beautiful
Very severe dry skin can mean roughness, cracking, scaling, and flakiness. This type of dry skin is commonly found on your elbows, knees, calves, feet, and hands and can be hard to reverse. Flakiness is caused by the build-up of the uppermost layers of skin, which has difficulty shedding. In the winter, due to the cold environment, harsh winds, and indoor heat sucking up all the humidity in the air, your skin tends to become dehydrated, irritated, and you may develop annoying rashes. Dry skin is thinner, more fragile, and has less of a protective barrier, so moisture is lost through the skin.
Luckily there is no need to skimp on luxury, texture or fragrance when it comes to heavy-duty body moisturizers. Be sure to look for ones that are cream or oil-based, then apply liberally and frequently throughout the day. Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Ultra-Hydrating Body Butter ($35) is velvety, hydrating and comes in two scents—sweet citrus or vanilla and apricot. The argan oil—which is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids (EFAs)—is essential to anti-aging and works to prevent dehydration while sealing in moisture, reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentation, and increasing sebum production. Another good option is L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream Rich in Shea Butter ($42). Formulated for dry to very dry skin, this cream is made up of 25% shea butter to intensely nourish, protect, and restore skin. Extracts of linseed, marshmallow, sweet almond, and honey softens skin while apricot oil seals in moisture.
Cold weather is inevitable, but suffering with dry skin is not. Remember to use warm water only when bathing and don’t soak too long in the tub. When taking a shower, use soap or body wash that contains allantoin (to moisturize, increase smoothness, and promote cell proliferation), EFAs, hyaluronic acid, or shea butter to maintain moisture in your skin. And most importantly, try to avoid blasting the heat for too long and your skin will thank you.