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We're officially in the dead of winter, which means you're probably tackling dry skin, chapped lips and itchy scalps. These skin care woes are the bane of your existence during this frigid season, but Shop TODAY is right there with you. So we consulted top dermatologists to get their top wintertime skin care picks to get you through the rest of the season.
From lip balms and hand creams to facial cleansers, body oils and scalp scrubs, these 15 products will help you make it through the rest of this cold stretch and remedy any skin care problems you might encounter.
- Winter skin care for your lips
- Winter skin care for your body
- Winter skin care for your face
- Winter skin care for your hands
- Winter skin care for your scalp
Winter skin care for your lips
Just like facial skin, the skin on your lips needs regular exfoliation to stay smooth, especially during the cooler months. "I tell my clients to exfoliate their lips two to three times a week and apply a lip balm constantly," celebrity aesthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar explained.
The skin care pro likes this exfoliating balm that contains hydrating shea butter and vitamin E and a fine sugar crystal that dissolves into a lip balm as it exfoliates.
Lips often get dry and chapped in the winter months, and for a good reason. "Our lips naturally do not have sebaceous (oil) glands, so unlike most skin on the rest of the body, they can't produce the protective oils to keep themselves moisturized," Dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Libby told Shop TODAY.
The New York-based dermatologist swears by this lip balm formulated with shea butter, hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil, and said it keeps her pucker hydrated for hours on end.
Wind and indoor heating can dry out your lips a lot, and we tend to primarily focus on moisturizing our lips in winter, but protecting them against the sun is just as important! "Lips experience the same ultraviolet damage as the surrounding face. UV damaged lips over time look smaller, less well defined and scaly, and can be prone to skin cancer," Dr. Robert Anolik, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, said.
The derm suggests looking for a lip balm with sunscreen like this fragrant one from Sun Bum. "It offers sun protection and the soothing benefits of coconut," he said.
Winter skin care for your body
Who doesn’t love a hot shower when it’s cold? Sadly, scalding hot water isn't great for your skin and can dry it out in a jiffy. "Stripping the skin of its natural moisture barrier can lead to uncomfortable dry itchy skin," Aguilar said.
If you simply can't give up warm (not scalding!) water, the derm says creating an artificial barrier for your skin can help. "Lather this grapeseed oil all over your body prior to jumping in the shower. Avoid applying it to your feet to prevent a slippery surface. Then follow with a hydrating body wash such as a creamy or oil cleanser," she said.
Libby says the key to hydrated skin is ceramides, and this lotion has plenty of them. "Ceramides are the natural lipids that help our skin barrier stay intact and healthy and allow it to hold onto moisture," she said. "This is my favorite wintertime body product."
The affordable lotion offers intensive hydration to dry winter skin with the help of ceramides and powerful humectants like glycerin and vitamins B5 and E. "It absorbs quickly into the skin, and instantly leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated," the derm raved.
Dry skin requires regular attention but reapplying lotion isn't always practical. Luckily, this moisturizer provides 24-hour hydration and a gentle, non-irritating formula. "This cream not only hydrates but also restores the skin barrier with hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides," Dr. Sejal Shah of New York City's SmarterSkin Dermatology told us.
The best part? It's perfect for both facial and body skin. "While I do love it for the body, it is noncomedogenic and oil-free so it can even be used on the face," Shah said.
Winter skin care for your face
Adjusting your face wash when the temperature drops isn't a bad idea, especially because winter skin is a lot more sensitive. "Winter is a season to switch to gentler, more hydrating cleansers to avoid stripping away natural oils that are essential for your skin’s health," Libby said.
The derm often recommends Cetaphil's Gentle Cleanser as a daily cleanser and suggests cutting back on harsher exfoliating cleansers during the dry winter months. "This gentle, soap-free cleanser was developed specifically for sensitive skin types and hydrates skin as it cleanses," she said.
Cold, dry air and indoor heat tend to sap skin of essential moisture and adding a hydrating nightly serum into your routine can make a big difference. Avène's Rehydrating Serum lends skin 24-hour hydration and targets skin cells to lock in moisture.
"This intensely hydrating serum contains a lipid trio that helps restore the skin barrier and prevent future water loss," Shah said.
Skin repairs itself overnight, so hydrating with a rich moisturizer in the wintertime is a pretty important step of your bedtime routine. Luckily, Aveeno's Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream maintain skin's firmness, boosts elasticity and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The night cream is chockfull of vitamins C and E and an antioxidant-rich blackberry complex. "It's a non-greasy yet rich and hydrating product," Anolik said.
Winter skin care for your hands
Washing your hands constantly during the pandemic? It does a number on your skin, we know. Anolik recommends opting for an ointment-style cream. "This hydrating cream from Neutrogena feels like an ointment, but is also light enough to rub in before heading out for the day without leaving your hands feeling greasy," he said.
The moisturizing lotion works its magic with the help of glycerin and tackles dry, rough skin with ease. The 2 oz. tube might seem small, but a little dab goes a long way and the results lasts quite a while.
There's dry skin, and then there's really dry, cracked skin — and the latter is pretty common in winter. Aquaphor's healing ointment is designed for sensitive skin, so it gently heals cracks and dry spots with the help of petrolatum. It's free of fragrances, preservatives and dyes and can be used on multiple areas, including hands, feet and lips.
"It's a thicker product that's well-suited for dry hands especially in the evening, and enriched with soothing lanolin for further hydration," Anolik said.
“Not surprisingly, exposed areas are the hardest hit in winter, which when compounded by the wash/dry cycle of hand washing, means hands get wrecked in winter,” Dr. Bobby Buka, co-founder of The Dermatology Specialists, which is based in New York City.
The derm swears by this intensely hydrating cream from First Aid Beauty that can be used on both the face and body. This rich moisturizer offers long-lasting hydration with the help of shea butter and soothes tired skin with the help of colloidal oatmeal and allantoin.
Winter skin care for your scalp
Frizz isn't the only hair woe we have to deal with during the winter; itchy scalps are also pretty common when the temperature drops. This anti-dandruff shampoo from L'Oreal helps stop the flaking and itching dandruff can bring on and is perfect for winter.
"It's blended with pyrithione zinc to treat the underlying inflammation that contributes to dry skin," Anolik said.
“You may be the last to notice this one, but come winter, our office get tons of patients saying ‘my wife/partner/hairdresser says I’m shedding skin,'" Buka said. "Mild itching and flakes usually result from the sudden dehydration that accompanies rapid temperature drops.”
The derm recommends using this hydrating, calming skin and scalp oil that's blended with 100mg CBD oil and soothing arnica flower and hemp.
You might not think your scalp needs exfoliation, but it does, especially when dandruff and dry skin builds up in the winter. This vegan scalp scrub tackles buildup and oil with ease and leaves hair feeling clear and nourished.
"It's packed with salicylic acid and assists in the breakdown of dry scales on the scalp," Anolik said. Other star ingredients include exfoliating Ecuadorian Ivory Palm Seed Powder and softening argan oil.
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