When winter wind, cold, indoor heating, a cozy fire and low-humidity pull moisture from the skin, here’s how to put it back.
In the summer, there is a lot of talk about protecting skin from negative effects of the sun, but we often overlook the positive effect of summertime humidity. When colder, drier weather comes, that lack of humidity becomes the skin’s number one enemy.
“Skin is designed as a protective barrier for our body to keep moisture in and environmental stressors, like allergens and bacteria, out,” explains dermatologist, Dr. Julie Russak, of New York City’s Russak Dermatology Clinic. “Skin cells are layered like bricks, and dryness causes gaps in the layers, allowing allergens in and leading to rapid moisture loss.”
As the doctor stresses, winter’s temperature changes—both outside and those caused by overzealous indoor heating—can wreak havoc on skin. “Dry skin sets up an inflammatory, allergic-type response that will cause you to scratch your skin and further deteriorate the barrier—starting a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.”
To help combat dryness and boost protection, it’s key to make use of effective moisturizers targeted for specific areas on the body. “Face skin is much thinner than that on the body,” says Dr. Russak, “so for the face, it is important to find a balanced product that moisturizes but doesn’t block and clog pores.” For the body, look for richer, more emollient creams and oils that lock in moisture to strengthen the skin’s protective barriers.
Here are some of our favorite dry skin solutions for the entire body—from face to feet:
Our hands are in constant use, ever-exposed to the elements, which means they need moisture, perhaps more than any other part of the body. These rich, non-greasy hand creams, perfect for a purse or bedside table, will absorb neatly into the skin and solve your winter woes. Try: Amala Rejuvenate Cocoa Bean Rejuvenating Hand Cream or Amala Hydrate Jasmine Hydrating Hand Cream. Starting at $14; amalabeauty.com
Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense A new addition to the brand’s anti-aging Frankincense collection, this face cream contains sustainable, FairWild-certified frankincense to help de-stress skin and improve tone, gardenia plant stem cells to boost collagen synthesis, turmeric to keep skin glowing, and organic oils like baobab, macadamia, and grapeseed to nourish. nyrorganic.com
Votre Vu Champagne Kisses Enhancing Lip Balm This organic lip balm will heal dry, cracked lips with its mixture of hydrating shea butter, sunflower and almond oils, collagen-boosting celery leaf cell extracts, and restorative tomato fruit oils—plus, its bubbly-inspired scent will make you feel like every day is a celebration. votrevu.com
Patyka Absolis Iris Woods Body Cream Thanks to ingredients like sesame, jojoba and sunflower seed oils, shea butter and iris root extract, this lightweight, fast-absorbing lotion nourishes and moisturizes without feeling greasy, while plant squalane helps soften skin and prevent moisture loss. Slightly floral iris wood is also said to have a mood-lifting effect, which could come in handy during the winter doldrums. patyka.com
Juara Sweet Black Tea Eye Crème Super-hydrating but absorbent enough to be used under concealer, Juara’s fragrance-free treatment features kombucha (fermented sweet black tea) to smooth out fine lines, plus rice bran oil to maintain elasticity, natural vitamin E for hydration and avocado oil to help the skin retain moisture. Use overnight for a more intense treatment—or pair with Juara Avocado Banana Moisture Mask for full-face hydration. juaraskincare.com
Saadia Organics Argan Oil Born of one of the co-founders’ need for a product to help with a chronic skin condition, Saadia’s 100-percent pure, cosmetic-grade argan oil is cold-pressed by hand in a women’s co-op near Essaouira, Morocco. Use on the skin as a daily face moisturizer or as a treatment for inflammation, rosacea, eczema or dry nails; on the hair, it helps repair damage and soothe itchy scalps. saadiaorganics.com
KYPRIS Beauty Elixir Bearing the name the Cypriots gave goddess Aphrodite, this high-performance line uses organic and sustainably-grown ingredients—many scoured from small family farms—to target a compromised, overexposed skin barrier and inflammation. The three Beauty Elixirs oils are each packed with antioxidants, phytonutrients, plant oils, extracts and enzymes to soothe and strengthen with just a few drops morning and night. Beauty Elixir I: 1,000 Roses is rich with hydrating rose; Elixir II: Healing Bouquet, has uplifting aromatherapeutic properties; and Elixir III: Prismatic Array was formulated for those sensitive to essential oils. KYPRISbeauty.com
DRY HAIR DOs
Winter not only de-moisturizes the skin, it also wreaks havoc on your hair. Whether it’s cold air, indoor heating or coloring that’s making your hair dry and lackluster, a moisturizing hair mask—with lightweight, absorbent botanical oils—can help add shine, silkiness and luster to the locks without weighing them down. Apply a small amount as an everyday conditioner for especially dry or damaged hair, or use as a weekly intensive treatment for added volume. Try: Leonor Greyl Masque Fleurs de Jasmin; leonorgreyl-usa.com