The season of chapped lips and parched skin is upon us—a state of affairs not exactly helped by the combination of cranking radiators and unrelenting chill. With months to go until the spring thaw, it’s time to take a solid look at our skin-care regimens and fine-tune as needed. Here, New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D. pinpoints four common mistakes to avoid this winter, with helpful tips for staying hale and hydrated.
Exfoliate Without Overdoing It
It’s no surprise that winter can wreak havoc on a glowing complexion, and while using peels or glycolic acid serums may seem like a quick fix to revive dull skin, Bowe warns against too much exfoliation. “Overdoing it actually can disrupt the skin barrier and lead to red, blotchy, stinging skin,” she warns. Instead, aim to gently exfoliate no more than twice a week to avoid unnecessary inflammation and any disturbance in the surface microbiome. “Remember, there are a lot of things that fall under exfoliation,” she adds, listing off a mechanical face brush, a buff puff, and even a basic washcloth.
Layer Your Skin Care
When it comes to boosting hydration, Bowe abides by a two-step layering technique: serum, then moisturizer. Highly concentrated serums are designed to penetrate deeper into the skin, fast-tracking ingredients like peptides and antioxidants, while creams seal in the moisture. As for her go-to products? Bowe singles out No. 7’s Restore and Renew Face and Neck Serum for its blend of amino acids and minerals, which help strengthen the barrier and even skin tone. For a moisturizer, she is a fan of La Roche-Posay’s Toleriane Double Repair. “The thermal water [in the moisturizer] acts as a powerful prebiotic,” says the dermatologist of the category of “ingredients that good bacteria needs to thrive and keep your skin healthy.”
Use Sunscreen Year-Round
While SPF may be an integral step in your routine during the warmer months, Bowe insists that it’s just as vital to continue wearing a layer of protection well past summer. “UV rays are present all year round,” she says, pointing out that UVA rays in particular “are the ones that do all of the damage when it comes to premature aging.” She recommends Drunk Elephant’s tinted sunscreen, which combines antioxidants along with raspberry seed and marula oils for a dewy complexion. Dr. Jart’s lightweight gel formula uses a blend of cypress water and seaweed extract for an added dose of hydration, while Neutrogena’s cult-favorite sunscreen goes on featherlight with a full-coverage veil of SPF.
Dial Down the Sugar Intake
With the revolving door of sweet treats on offer during the holidays—not to mention the occasional glass of Champagne—take note that increased amounts of sugar can take a toll on the complexion and even cause long-term glycation, which Bowe defines as “when sugar molecules bind to the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin.” Triggering free radicals, the process can lead to breakouts or rosacea. Of course, Bowe understands the temptation of indulging here and there in the season ahead. “If you’re going to drink, choose red wine,” she explains. “It’s lower in sugar and has resveratrol, which is antiaging.” We’ll toast—in moderation—to that.