Along with frigid temps and cold/flu season, winter can bring with it dull, dry skin. Plus, with age, our skin cell turnover rate slows down, adding to a duller and rougher appearance. But there’s no need to reserve a spot in the cave alongside Yogi until spring feels like showing up. Instead, check out the following tips to get winter skin glowing:
1. Use a retinoid.
There’s a reason dermatologists recommend retinoids over all other anti-aging skin-care ingredients: they work on a molecular level to improve the cellular function of aging and sun-damaged skin. (The term “retinoid” encompasses both prescription products like Retin-A and Renova, as well as gentler over-the-counter retinols, all chemically related to vitamin A.) In addition to speeding cell turnover, retinoids boost collagen, lighten discolouration, improve skin texture and wrinkles, and help it glow.
But as retinoids can irritate the skin, many derms recommend starting with an over-the-counter retinol before graduating to a prescription retinoid. Skin-care experts also often advise using retinoids every other night until skin gets used to them. And as they can make skin more sensitive to the sun, always wear SPF.
2. Get physical.
While cold weather can make the couch seem infinitely more alluring than the treadmill, there’s good reason to continue exercising regularly. Beyond keeping bodies limber and weight in check during comfort-food season, exercise helps winter skin glow. And, no, not just with sweat… Aerobic exercise helps complexions shape up because as it gets our heart pumping, it also sends oxygen-rich blood to the skin.
When thermometer and humidity levels drop, more cells accumulate on the skin’s surface making it look dull. To bid cells adieu, you need to exfoliate. Among the options are exfoliating cleansers, treatments and peels, as well as devices like Clarisonic. How to choose? Look for a product geared to your skin type, and be careful not to exfoliate too often if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. And since exfoliating can dry out skin, don’t forget to moisturize afterward.
4. Massage your face.
Most of us have anti-aging lotions and potions, but are we applying them effectively? Rather than rubbing in moisturizers, oils and serums in a slap-dash way, massage them in to help improve circulation and get stressed winter skin glowing. The technique is so effective that many makeup artists use massage to wake up fatigued models’ faces during fashion-week marathons. Check out this effective face-massage technique from celebrity esthetician Nichola Joss.
Now that you’ve got your winter skin glowing, don’t forget to protect it. Use a broad-spectrum SPF daily, as sun damage can happen even at 30 below. (Especially when snow reflects UV rays.) And when you want to up the glow factor even more, try an illuminating product, such as Nars Illuminator (I like it in Copacabana) or Make Up For Ever HD Elixir. Apply the highlighter on cheeks and/or the bridge of the nose. (No illuminator? No problem. New York-based eco makeup artist Kristen Arnett uses lip balm to create the same effect). Yes, it may still be freezing, but at least you’re now ready to face the season.