4 Rules of Cold Weather Skincare

4 Rules of Cold Weather Skincare

Discover four ways to take better care of your skin this winter.

By: Nadine Jolie

Dropping temperatures means changing more than just your outerwear.

Once the weather turns chilly, it's important to switch up your skincare routine, too. Who better to tell us how to properly do that than a Hollywood dermatologist?

“When the weather gets colder, the air is often drier both outdoors and indoors, when heaters are on,” says Dr. Nancy Samolitis, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills. “The cold temperature and the dry air can disrupt the skin's protective barrier. When this happens, the skin loses the ability to hold in moisture and protect itself from environmental irritants.”

Regardless of whether you're an outdoorsy snow-bunny or the type who only braves the elements when walking to the car, here are four rules for changing up your skincare in the winter.

1. Products Matter
Dry skin requires moisture — that’s obvious. But did you know that proper hydration during moisture-sapping cold weather is vital for oily skin, too? That’s right. If you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize. Samolitis advises products that contain hyaluronic acid, barrier-repairing ceramides or lactic acid, which gently exfoliates while helping skin retain moisture. However, don't assume that heavier equals better.


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"Many people will use thick, occlusive creams or ointments in the winter thinking that these will hydrate the skin more effectively," says Samolitis. "But these heavy products often just sit on the skin surface without penetrating the skin and providing true hydration."

2. Warm Water, Not Hot
Long, hot showers feel heavenly when it's cold outside, but the steam can zap your skin of vital moisture and strip away protective oils. Instead of soaking in the tub like a boiling lobster or showering with water as hot as you can take, bathe and wash your face with lukewarm water.

When you're done, gently pat skin dry and immediately moisturize while your skin is still damp. This simple step helps seal in hydration.

3. Use a Humidifier
A lack of moisture in the air can cause patchy, flaky and dry skin, not to mention it exacerbates skin conditions such as eczema. Using a humidifier will put moisture back into the air, keeping your skin hydrated and reducing the common winter risks of dryness, cracking and itchiness.

4. Don't Forget the Sunscreen
It's the dead of winter — finally time to put away that SPF, right? Nope! Just because the temperatures have dropped outside doesn't mean that you can forgo the sun protection. Not only are harmful and wrinkle-inducing rays a 365-day-a-year concern, but an extra barrier against the harsh elements of winter can be helpful, too. And don't even get us started on the necessity of sunscreen while skiing or in the snow: The white reflects rays back onto your skin, acting as a virtual tanning bed. Slather up!

Switching up your skincare routine for cooler temps is a necessary step to having youthful and happy skin all year round. What are some of your top rules for protecting your skin from the harshness of winter? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nadine is a former beauty editor, the author of two beauty books, a Los Angeles resident, has appeared as a beauty expert on Today, Tyra, CNN and MSNBC, and teaches beauty classes. She has written for Lucky, Cosmopolitan and Jane and is a beauty contributor to ‪VanityFair.com. You can find her at her website ‪Nadine Jolie.

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