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You know that feeling: You bundle up and venture out into the cold, only to head indoors with burning skin that feels like you took a cheese grater to it.
Cold temps can wreck your face, leaving it chapped and dry. So we asked Dr. Kim Nichols, a board-certified dermatologist, to help us keep our complexions radiant and dewy.
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Don't forget to moisturize: Our skin produces less and less moisture as we age. And when our complexion is dry and dehydrated, lines and wrinkles become more obvious. When you apply makeup, it can look even worse. You don’t want makeup settling in those lines, so use a good moisturizer to plump up your skin.
Slather on the sunscreen: No, sunscreen isn't just for summertime. Winter sun, combined with snow glare, can still damage skin. Try applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and hands (if they're exposed) about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply frequently if you stay outside a long time.
Give your hands a helping hand: The skin on your hands is thinner than on most parts of the body, and has fewer oil glands. That means it's harder to keep hands moist, especially in cold, dry weather. This can lead to itchiness and cracking. Wear gloves when you go outside; if you need to wear wool to keep warm, slip on a thin cotton glove first to avoid any irritation the wool may cause. Use Aquaphor ointment on dry, cracked hands at night and sleep with it on. And then use Neutrogena hand cream during the day and apply every time after washing your hands.
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Eat smart: Remember to consume foods that help with hydration. Fish like salmon have omega-3 fatty acids, which help skin retain moisture and protect the skin barrier. Nuts contain vitamin E and omega-3s to help protect against oxidative damage. Avocados are rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. Olive oil helps retain moisture and protects skin from UV rays. Oysters (yes, oysters!) are rich in zinc, which is anti-inflammatory and helps to build collagen and strengthen the skin.
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water. Drinking H20 helps your skin stay young-looking. And not only is water good for your skin, but your overall health. Stay hydrated during this winter season!
Products for every skin type to help you face the winter
Oily: Continue to use a gentle, oil-absorbing toner but pare it down to just once per day. Also continue to use a light moisturizer, but you may need to use it twice per day in the winter if you're getting some dry spots. Recommended product: Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser ($8, Amazon).
Combination: Use a heavier moisturizer on your cheek areas, which tend to be dry in winter, and a lighter moisturizer at night. If you exfoliate your skin regularly, be sure to use a fine exfoliator without harsh, large beads. Products to try: Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($8, Amazon); Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash ($5, Amazon)
Dry: Lips can suffer greatly during the winter, especially in people who already have naturally dry skin. Apply a LOT of Aquaphor Lip ointment at bedtime and let it really penetrate into the skin overnight. Don’t use exfoliating brushes because even “gentle” ones can be too harsh on dry skin in the winter. Simply use your hands and a gentle cleanser to wash your face. Products to try: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream ($9, Amazon); Cerave Moisturizing Cream ($9, Amazon).
And below are five products that help us survive brutal New York winters here at TODAY:
Herbivore Lapis Oil Balancing Facial Oil
If you're into packaging, this gorgeous glass bottle will look great in your bathroom. And if you're a fan of rich, easily absorbed, soothing, calming oil, this product is for you. It made my winter-chapped skin soft, smooth and supple.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Yes, the name is catchy. But this whipped moisturizer is basically dessert for your complexion. It soaks right in.
Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
Remember how in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," Windex was hailed as the cure-all for everything and anything? This is the skin care version thereof. I use it wherever dry patches crop up and like magic, they're gone.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream
I love this cream because it’s incredibly light but wonderfully hydrating. I feel like it’s cliché to describe a moisturizer as so light you can’t even feel it when it’s on your face, but this one really is! It absorbs almost immediately into the skin and isn't greasy. I often layer it over my other serums and under makeup and it never feels heavy.
Tata Harper Redefining Body Balm
Yes, this counts as a splurge in terms of price. But it's worth it when it's particularly brutal out. It melts in your hands, and a little goes a very long way. I have combination skin and I rub this on my face, body, hair — you name it. It just works. And the ingredients are top-notch.
For chapped lip relief, check out the top lip balms that celebrity makeup artists swear by!