You know the the drill: When winter rolls around it's time to start bracing yourself for at least three months of skin that feels dry enough to crack if you so much as smirk.
“We’re approaching the heart of the winter, when humidity levels plummet and the dry air can dehydrate skin and strip it of lipids — skin's protective outer layer — allowing irritants to enter more easily and cause redness and flaking,” Skin Rules author Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in NYC, explains to Most Wanted.
Winter doesn't have to be misery, though — at least not for your skin. The trick is to scan your moisturizer's ingredients label for any combination of four mix-and-match ingredients: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter.
Ahead, Dr. Jaliman's favorite super-hydrating creams that'll get you through the calendar's toughest season for skin.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
“This is an excellent moisturizer for extra-dry skin,” says Dr. Jaliman, who credits ceramides and hyaluronic acid with the lightweight formula’s talent for keeping skin hydrated even in the middle of a polar vortex. “Hyaluronic acid helps bind water molecules,” she explains — so well, in fact, that one tiny HA molecule can hold an impressive 1000 times its weight in water. Ceramides, on the other hand, help rebuild your skin’s natural moisture barrier, keeping good stuff in (i.e., hydration) and bad stuff out (i.e., toxins and other irritants). Plus there’s a bonus ingredient: pigment-evening niacinamide, to help repair all that UV damage you did a few months back when the sun was still shining.
BareMinerals Butter Drench Rich Restorative Cream
Just a little daub of this moisturizer is enough to make even the driest skin forget it’s winter (despite those piles of snow lurking outside) thanks to a base of super-moisturizing shea. “Extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, shea butter is creamy, soothing, and moisturizing,” says Dr. Jaliman. Another point in the moisturizer’s favor: It’s free of parabens, a preservative on many dermatologists’ no-go lists since it’s been linked to skin irritation and other misdeeds.
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Restoring Night Cream
Tag-teaming glycerin and shea, Aveeno’s night cream hydrates as you sleep off the previous day. “Glycerin is a humectant and seals in the water,” says Dr. Jaliman, quite literally pulling water molecules from the air to help fortify skin’s outer layer. Shea is packed with vitamins A and E, which help moisturize skin as they fend off the free radicals responsible for premature aging.
No7 Beautiful Skin Night Cream, Dry/Very Dry
“This night cream has shea butter, glycerin and ceramides — the perfect ingredients for someone in need of a highly hydrating moisturizer,” says Dr. Jaliman. And that magical trio also manages to keep skin hydrated without a trace of greasiness, meaning you won’t wake up with hair that's accidentally as moisturized as your face.
Farmacy Honey Drop Lightweight Moisturizer
“The honey in Honey Drop naturally hydrating, and the product has three different hyaluronic acids, which boosts skin’s moisture, promoting firmness and elasticity,” notes Dr. Jaliman. It doesn’t hurt that the upstate New York-based brand’s products are also 100 percent natural. One tip: Use the tiny spatula that comes with your jar to make sure that germs and your product stay strangers. “Scoop a small amount and warm between the palms of hands and apply to face,” suggests Dr. Jaliman.
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