As the colder months approach, the constant fluctuation between harsh winds outside and stuffy central heating indoors can wreak havoc on your skin.
“The stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin, is made up of a brick and mortar like an array of protein-packed skin cells and surrounding lipids (fats). If adequate moisture isn’t maintained, the barrier cannot remain intact,” says Dr. Heidi Waldorf, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of Waldorf Dermatology & Aesthetics. “During the winter months, the skin is particularly susceptible to dryness as any moisture in the skin evaporates into the cold dry air. People often take long hot showers during cold winter months which dries the skin out further,” explains the skincare expert.
Fortunately, with the right skincare products, you can pump life back into your parched skin. However, it’s hardly a one hat fits all situation. For instance, a rich, oil-based cream might do wonders for dry skin, but it could clog pores and cause breakouts if you’ve oily skin. Therefore, it’s essential to keep your complexion and skin needs in mind while picking a face cream or moisturizer.
So, what kind of winter cream should you use?
- For normal skin: Pick a rich, non-greasy cream that contains ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and wheatgerm oil. Try Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus or The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream.
- For dry skin: The harsh winter weather makes dry skin lacking in both oil and water. This is why it’s important to use a rich, oil-based cream packed with hydrating ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter and hyaluronic acid. The heavier the formula the better barrier it will provide to seal the moisture. Try
Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream or L’Occitane en Provence’s Shea Light Comforting Face Cream.
- For sensitive skin: Sensitive skin tends to become itchy and flaky in winter. Look for gentle facial creams that are packed with antioxidants (think ingredients like Vitamin C, avocado, grape extract, retinol, etc.) to calm and repair irritated skin. Try Clarins Gentle Day Cream or Avène’s Tolérance Extrême Cream.
- For oily skin: Note that your skin lacks water, not oil. This is why it’s important to steer clear of heavy duty face creams. Instead, look for light, water-based creams and moisturizers that include ingredients such as zinc pidolate, silica, green tea, witch hazel and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Make sure the formula is alcohol-free as it can dehydrate your skin. Try Eminence Organics’ Thermal Spring Whip Moisturizer or The Water Cream by Tatcha.
- For combination skin: If you’ve both dry and oily skin areas, pick an oil-free cream or moisturizer with a light, balancing formula. Look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, tea tree extract, jojoba oil, Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil Free Gel-Cream or Peter Thomas Roth’s Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Moisturizer.
- For all skin types: Formulated with apricot, avocado and jojoba oils, Dr Hauschka’s Quince Day Cream is non-greasy and intensely moisturizing. “It is soothing, hydrating and works with any skin type,” says celebrity makeup artist, Brigitte Reiss-Andersen. If you’re searching for a product that has both moisturizing and anti-aging properties, check out Chanel’s Sublimage La Créme Ultimate Skin Regeneration.
Other than using the right facial cream, “wash your face with a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the protein and lipids of the cell barrier,” suggests Dr. Waldorf. Also, “take shorter showers and moisturize immediately after”, she adds.
In addition, “invest in a small electric steamer to help add moisture to the skin,” recommends Andersen. “It will also cure cough and cold!” she points out.