It’s only a month into fall, and since we’re betting folk, we’ll wager that your skin is already feeling a change — and it’s not a change for the better.
“Fall and wintertime mean cold weather, low humidity, and wind, all of which can put stress on the outer skin layer,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The not-so-pleasant results: loss of hydration, microscopic cracks in skin’s outer layer, and inflammation — a trio that translates to itchy, red, dry skin.
A few easy product swaps, however, can prep skin for the new season. Ahead, Dr. Zeichner’s 7 favorite cleansers, creams, and anti-aging gadgets that'll keep your skin in shape right through winter's coldest months.
Essential Cleanser: Sisley Paris Lyslait Cleansing Milk
While washing off makeup, dirt, and oil is, well, the entire point of a cleanser, double-checking your ingredient list will help you find one that gets the job done without stripping. “Botanical ingredients like white lily extract provide hydrating and skin calming properties — which is especially important during the dry fall and winter months,” says Dr. Zeichner, who recommends opting for a botanically powered cleanser that won’t trigger sensitivities during the changing seasons. His top pick: Sisley’s Lyslait, which works on even the most sensitive skin types.
Essential Exfoliator: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
We know you want to buff away that dull fall skin with the scrubbiest exfoliator you can find, but be warned: “Manual scrubs can be harsh on the skin all year round — but they’re especially problematic on dry skin during fall and winter,” says Dr. Zeichner. The simple solution: exfoliating with a grit-free alternative. “Gentle chemical exfoliators dissolve the glue between skin cells, allowing them to be naturally exfoliated from the skin,” he explains. ”This product contains all natural ingredients, including willow bark extract, which is like nature's salicylic acid,” enhancing radiance without disrupting the skin barrier.
Essential Serum: SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age Essence
“This serum is jam-packed with pitera extract to brighten the skin, along with peptides that promote healthy collagen production to firm the skin,” says Zeichner. “These ingredients provide anti aging benefits in the winter without leading to irritation, which is especially important when the skin barrier may be compromised in the winter.”
Essential Day Moisturizer: Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF
Just because you can’t see the sun blazing brightly behind that overcast sky doesn’t mean you can skip the SPF — so if you’re prone to forgetfulness, try a moisturizer with sunscreen built in. “This product contains high quality, broad spectrum SPF sun protection,” says Zeichner. The bonus ingredient feverfew (a calming botanical from the daisy family) repairs a winter-worn skin barrier.
Essential Night Moisturizer: L'Occitane Immortelle Precious Cream
“Immortelle flower is known to live long even after it is picked, owing to its strong antioxidant defenses,” says Dr. Zeichner, “and oil from the immortelle flower is the backbone of this product, providing the skin with both hydration and antioxidant benefits.”
Essential Beauty Gadget: NuFACE Facial Trainer Kit
“This product uses microcurrent technology to stimulate collagen, strengthen the skin foundation, and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Zeichner. The results: plumper, tighter skin without irritation that at-home lasers can cause in the fall and winter months.
Essential Body Lotion: Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion
No one wants arms and legs that are dry and cracked, but feeling greased up isn’t any better. “The newest generation of lotions, however, are as effective as heavier creams, but can be more easily spread,” says Dr. Zeichner. “This product contains triple-purified petrolatum to provide a protective seal over the outer skin layer, allowing the skin to heal itself and prevent loss of hydration.” Make sure to slather it on within five minutes of showering, since research shows that moisturizing dewy post-shower skin locks in moisture better than applying to skin that's totally dry.
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