As we change our wardrobes according to the season, our skincare routines also need to make the transition. To deal with frigid winter climates, our cotton and silk tops don’t quite cut it, so we layer up with cozy cashmere and wool. Our complexions also need backup since some of the products in our regular lineups are too light to shield our skin from harsh winds and unpredictable temperatures.
If your skin is still dry and cracked despite slathering on richer creams, you don’t have to give up and hibernate until the first day of spring. But, it might be time to think outside the beauty aisle to effectively treat seasonal skin woes. InStyle turned to Lauren Abramowitz, founder of New York City’s Park Avenue Skin Solutions for five treatment suggestions you can do in-office and at home that will help combat dehydrated winter skin, and also target year-long problem areas.
1) Boost Your Products’ Effectiveness With Ultrasound Therapy
If you’re still experiencing excessive dryness even though you’ve been using rich, hydrating creams throughout the cold weather, it doesn’t mean your products aren’t working. “Our skin has a protective function that only allows a small amount of active ingredients to reach the upper and deeper dermal layers,” explains Abramowitz. To ensure your skin gets a proper delivery of your products’ active ingredients, like hyaluronic acid (a plumping and hydrating humectant), an in-office ultrasound therapy treatment enhances skin penetration. The treatment, which harnesses sonic waves above the limit of human hearing, is non-invasive and safe—especially for cold weather months.
2) Add Squalane Into Your Daily Skincare Routine
Moisture is the key to healthy, glowing skin but your regular products sometimes aren’t enough during winter, and you need a stronger hydrating ingredient. Enter squalane: It’s one of the many natural lipids your body produces to lubricate and protect skin. The powerhouse ingredient is also commonly sourced from plants like olives and wheat bran.
Since it’s a natural emollient and antioxidant, squalane is a highly effective hydrator and makes a great moisturizer during the winter months when your skin is extra parched. Abramowitz suggests incorporating squalane into your winter skincare regimen by applying it to your face twice daily to lock in moisture and heal dry patches. Replace your moisturizer during colder months with Dr. Peter Thomas Roth’s Oilless Oil 100 Percent Purified Squalane ($38; anthropologie.com). Although it has an oil-like consistency, this squalane product rapidly absorbs into skin, so you can quickly apply makeup afterwards.
3) Try a Customized Laser Therapy
No one’s skin is completely alike, so a complexion-boosting laser treatment shouldn’t be either. Fractora laser therapy is highly customizable and the depth of the laser and products used can be adjusted based on your skin’s needs. This treatment punctures the skin to create micro-channels that helps serums infuse deeper layers of the skin for a healthier, hydrated complexion. The treatment isn’t just limited to easing winter dryness but can also improve firmness, wrinkles, scars, and photo damage.
4) Target Problem Areas with a Bio-Therapy Formula
Treat fine lines and wrinkles while fighting dry cold-weather skin by using bio-therapy moisturizer. Packed with ingredients found in your skin’s natural chemistry, these multitaskers will help restore your winter-worn complexion’s glow while fighting common signs of aging.
Abramowitz recommends Replenix Enriched Nighttime Bio-Therapy ($84; dermstore.com) for its all-star ingredients including ceramides, hyaluronic acid, green tea, and peptides. Apply it in the evening following cleansing, and let the cream work its magic while you’re sleeping.
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5) Minimize Hot Showers
A piping-hot shower might feel heavenly after stepping out of a warm bed in the morning, but it's actually doing your already dehydrated winter skin more harm. Abramowitz suggests turning down the heat to prevent further drying out and agitating your skin.
Moisturizing following a shower is important any time of year to lock in skin’s moisture. Since having extra time in the morning to properly moisturize is rare, try a wet-skin product like Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion ($5; walgreens.com). This lotion allows you to skip an entire step. Shut the water off, apply it, dry off, and go. (Really.)