By Jennifer Goldstein
We beauty editors are always answering skin-care questions from our co-workers and friends. Whats the best antiaging moisturizer? How do I get rid of a pimple quickly? Do I need to see a doctor for this thing? (Yes, were asked to check out friends scaly patches more often than wed like.)
We also get a ton of questions from you. So we thought: Wouldn’t it be great if we could bring all our readers into Healths Beauty Closet for some real-world advice? Since that wasn’t possible, we did the next best thing: We gathered your top winter skin problems, then pooled our collective wisdom to help you solve them. Read on for our straight talk (no topic is taboo in the Beauty Closet!), quick tips, and favorite winter product picks.
Skin problem #1: “I have rough, dry skin all over my body.”
Colleen: This happens to everyone in the winter because of the colder, drier weather. Ive found that it helps to shower every other day.
Jenn: Thats a good idea because water—especially hot—dehydrates your skin. It seems counter intuitive, but every dermatologist Ive asked says its true. If you cant go a day without showering, keep showers short and turn down the water temperature.
Colleen: An aesthetician once told me dry body brushing helps, too. Before I shower, I run a body brush over my skin using upward strokes—it removes the flaky dry skin cells so moisturizer penetrates better. After the shower, I apply Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Moisturizing Cream.
Melanie: But the trick is you have to put on lotion when your skins still warm and damp from the shower in order to seal in the moisture.
Jenn: I know that’s what you’re supposed to do, but I always forget!
Colleen: I put the lotion in my shower next to my shower gel, so I remember to do it before I get out.
Skin problem #2: “My complexion gets really dry.”
Jenn: Even people with oily skin can have this issue in the winter.
Colleen: My derm told me dry indoor heating is actually a big part of the problem. Ive found that running a humidifier at night really helps. And switching to a richer formula of face moisturizer makes a huge difference.
Melanie: So if you use a gel, step it up to a lotion. And if you use a lotion, get a thicker cream.
Jenn: Most people don’t think of this, but you should also switch to a creamy cleanser because they’re less drying than the high-foaming gel ones. I like Neutrogenas new cream cleanser. It takes off my makeup without making my skin feel tight and dry.
Skin problem #3: “My skin is so sensitive in the winter.”
Melanie: I can relate. As soon as the weather changes, my complexion becomes red and itchy.
Jenn: One derm told me when your skin is drier, the protective lipid barrier is compromised, and things that normally don’t cause irritation—like pollutants in the air or the lanolin from a wool sweater—can cause sensitivity. Fragrances in products can also be irritating for some people. So he suggested switching to fragrance-free products in winter.
Melanie: I have a fragrance-free soap and moisturizer, but I like serums, and its hard to find one that doesn’t have some sort of scent.
Colleen: Oh, the Olay serum that I like is actually fragrance-free. I put it on right before my moisturizer.
Skin problem #4: “Winter makes my complexion dull.”
Melanie: Remember we did that reader poll on Health.com and women said they felt the most unattractive in winter?
Colleen: Yes! Everyone said it was because their skin was more sallow and didnt look as glowy—and wrinkles seemed more noticeable, too.
Melanie: It makes sense. Think about it: In the summer your skin is hydrated like a plump, juicy grape. But in the winter, when its dry, its like a dull, wrinkly raisin.
Jenn: I find that exfoliating more frequently definitely helps. You have to use something really gentle, though, not a harsh scrub or strong acid. I tried these RoC exfoliating pads. They cleanse your face and exfoliate in one step, and they’re gentle enough to use every day.
Skin problem #5: “My hands get dry and chapped.”
Jenn: Obviously, the weather does a number on your hands. But I think part of the problem is that we also wash them more in the winter, since no one wants to get sick.
Colleen: Thats so true. I wash my hands constantly! And some of the soaps in public bathrooms dry out
your skin. I bring a travel bottle of a moisturizing antibacterial soap—Bath & Body Works makes good ones.
Jenn: You have to be careful about those antibacterial hand sanitizers, too. Some of them have alcohol, which can be drying.
Melanie: And dont forget to apply hand cream throughout the day. Clinique has a rich new one Im crazy about.
Jenn: I like that one, too. Its not greasy at all—and its fragrance-free.
Skin problem #6: “How can I fix my dry, flaky lips?”
Colleen: The first step is prevention. I try to drink a lot of water, since chapped lips are actually a sign of dehydration.
Jenn: And definitely skip lip balms or plumpers that have menthol, which can dry out your lips. I also suggest using a lip balm that doesnt have a sweet flavor; those make you want to lick your lips—and that dries them out even more.
Melanie: I slather on lip balm every 20 minutes in the winter.
Colleen: That helps me, too. But it always seems to smear, and then I get these weird breakouts near my mouth.
Jenn: Oh, you need one that has wax, like beeswax. It adheres to your lips better and doesn’t bleed onto the skin around your mouth. Elizabeth Ardens works for me.