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Winter Skin Driving You Nuts? This A-List Dermatologist Tells Us How to Fix It

Dermatologist-to-the-celebrities Dr. Debra Jaliman breaks down what we should and shouldn’t be doing to help our skin glow this winter.    

By Courtney Thompson

It’s official folks, we’re in the dead of winter. While spring is just a few months away, in most parts of the country we’re languishing amidst freezing temps and blustery winds day in and day out. This can be tough for multiple reasons—the dreary weather is depressing, we’re seeing less and less of our friends as we hibernate inside AND our skin takes a real thrashing this time of year. Who else is battling dry, irritated skin right now?

We talked to New York City celebrity dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman about why winter is so rough on our faces and bodies, and how we can combat the elements to look fresh as daisies come spring. “In the cold weather, your skin attempts to conserve heat by constricting blood vessels, which in turn dries out the outer layers of your skin,” said Jaliman, who has treated celebrities, super models, socialites and royalty at her Central Park office. “It also makes the lines more prominent and makes skin dull and flakey. Cold weather will make eczema much worse, as well.”

So what does she recommend? “It’s best to cover exposed skin with clothing when going outside on a windy day—harsh winds break down the barrier protection of the skin and deplete the surface oils in the skin. Wind burn is very similar to a sun burn and can cause your skin to become red and irritated.” She also suggests investing in a humidifier, since our apartments and houses are overheated in the winter, and the hot air once again dries out our skin. Also, when showering, Jaliman advises using lukewarm water instead of hot water, which pulls out all the natural oil out of your skin. In terms of diet, she says, “Consuming foods rich in antioxidants will make your skin less dull. Avocadoes are a good source of healthy oil, which is very beneficial for the skin, as it keeps it soft and hydrated.” Another must on Jaliman’s skin to-do list? Sleep! “It’s so essential, since that’s the time when skin repairs itself. I advise sleeping 7 to 9 hours a day.”

In terms of treatments we can seek out this winter, Jaliman says microdermabrasion is a great go-to because it helps exfoliate dead skin cells, so that when you do use a moisturizer, it actually penetrates the skin. “Moisturizers can’t infiltrate dead skin sitting on the surface—light chemical peels also aid in getting rid of these dead skin cells.”

We asked Dr. Jaliman what products will save our skin this winter, and she gave us her nine favorites—from drugstore lotions to scientific face washes—below. Here’s to all of us having dewy skin by springtime!

1. Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46

“During the winter there is still UVA light which damages the collagen and elastic tissue. It is important to use SPF above 30 every day in the winter. If you are just going to be around the city use it once in the morning. Since this formula uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are physical blockers and doesn't include chemicals it is not irritating to the skin.”

BUY FROM: Amazaon, $18.95+

2. Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Skin, Set of 16

“When showering, you want to use a super-fatted soap like this one—do not use fragrance soap, as fragrance will dry out skin as well. If soap produces a lot of lather, it might have a lot of detergent in it so it can make the skin too dry.  

BUY FROM: Amazon, $15.99

3. Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash

“I recommend using this body wash because it contains glycerin and sunflower seed oil, which is very hydrating.”

BUY FROM: Target, $5.49

4. Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing

“Everyone should be using a moisturizer the second they get out of the shower, and I recommend this because it has sunflower oil and Vitamin E, which is incredibly hydrating.”

BUY FROM:  Amazon, $8.48

5. CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion

“This lotion has ceramides, which improve the barrier function of the skin. There are nine naturally occurring ceramides in the outer layer of the skin. So, when you add the ceramides from a product you improve the barrier protection of the skin, making it harder for the skin to lose its natural moisture. This product also contains hyaluronic acid, which is very moisturizing.”

BUY FROM: Amazon, $11.19+

6. Lierac Comfort Mask

“Applying a mask after you shower is a great idea, so it holds in the hydration. This is good one to try because it contains shea butter, mango butter and apricot oil—all of which are very hydrating.”

BUY FROM: Jet, $28 

7. Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Mask

“This contains glycerin and squalene, which aids in hydrating your skin. I recommend putting it on before you go to sleep, leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning.”

BUY FROM: Sephora, $60

8. Sea Radiance Gentle Cleanser

“This is my proprietary cleanser, which I developed. It does not strip the skin of its natural moisture and actually adds more moisture from aloe, glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. It also has a special anti-inflammatory agent arnica so it is soothing and great for wind burn and dry skin. I recommend using it twice a day—morning and night.”

BUY FROM: Sea Radiance, $35

9. Thorne Research Vitamin D

“It is important to take Vitamin D especially in the winter since there isn’t enough sunshine. I recommend a dose of 2000IU a day preferably in a liquid form since it is absorbed better by the body.”

BUY FROM:, $23.50

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