Credit: Courtesy Peter Thomas Roth, Courtesy Laura Mercier
All lotions are not created equal. Just answer five quick questions to determine your perfect cream.
Determine Your Skintone Are you very fair? If so, Nashville based dermatologist Michael Gold recommends a moisturizer with a mild amount of lactic acid...gently exfoliate, but not irritate.
Do you need SPF year round due to the climate in your area? “We all need SPF year round!” says Gold. Try the Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($50; lauramercier.com), an SPF/moisturizer duo.
Do you have hyper-pigmentation? Gold says, “The use of a prescription strength hydroquinone will fade dark spots. But add a high level SPF over it.” The De-Spot Skin Brightening Corrector ($75; peterthomasroth.com) is an effective over the counter alternative.
“Serums with acne fighting ingredients like Priori's Perfection Gel ($48; prioriskincare.com for locations) can offer moisture and break down oil,” says Gold.
Do you suffer from hormonal breakouts? Track your fluctuating body rhythms and adjust your skin treatments accordingly. If your skin is acting up near the end of the month, switch to an oil-free moisturizer or a face cream with salicylic acid. Gold also recommends adding a topical spot treatment when breakouts occur.
Do you have cystic acne i.e. deep, hard blemishes? “Time to get your dermatologist involved-He or she can prescribe an oral and/or topical treatment,” says Gold. In the meantime, hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic products won’t irritate inflamed skin.
Are you concerned with wrinkle prevention not repair?
Celebrity facialist Tracie Martyn recommends a light moisturizer that contains active ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
Are you starting to see fine lines? “It’s important to promote collagen repair,” says Martyn, who advises uses moisturizers with strong antioxidants when those first tiny creases start to appear.
Are you losing elasticity? Do you notice drooping skin? Choose products with increased levels of collagen and elastin like St. Ives Collagen Elastin Facial Moisturizer ($5; drugstore.com). Top off your regular hydrating routine with an active anti-aging serum but only at night-they can cause slight peeling and mild exfoliation so you don’t want to layer them under foundation.
Does your skin become drier as the temperature drops?
L'Oreal Paris consulting dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner recommends slathering on heavier moisturizers in the colder months. “Serums can also give skin additional hydration.” We love Koh Gen Do All In One Moisture Gel ($52; kohgendocosmetics.com) which is both a serum and moisturizer.
Are you shiny year round? Avoid heavy weight creams, but don't skimp on moisture altogether. “I like a lightweight serum like L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Intense ($25; at drugstores).”
Do you have an oily T-Zone? See above. Just skip lotioning along the forehead and nose.
New York City epidermologist Isabelle Bellis suggests soothing raw skin with a gentle milk cleanser rather than a foaming soap or gel. It allows the skin to naturally rebalance moisture levels
Do you experience redness and broken capillaries? “Try face oils in the morning and creams at night,” says Bellis. “Face oils protect the capillaries and they provide an extra barrier of protection since they don't penetrate as easily,” she adds. We love Rodin's Oil Lusso Face Oil ($140; barneys.com).
Do certain products inflame your skin? Try cutting down on exfoliation. “Each time you exfoliate, you rip away a layer of protection and expose your capillaries to the harsh winter environment. Once a week maximum in normal conditions. In the winter, try every other week,” says Bellis.