If you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in the mirror lately investigating a sudden change to your complexion, you’re not alone. Maybe you overdid it on the Halloween chocolates this year, but the more likely culprit to the dull, flaky skin you’re seeing is the looming arrival of winter. That’s right, moisture-starved air and colder temps are here to do their worst.
The good news? Reclaiming your summer glow is as easy as making a few swaps to your skincare routine—no fancy facial required. We spoke to Dr. Jacqueline Schaffer, a board-certified MD and founder of skincare brand Schique, to break it all down for us. Ahead, she shares her best remedies for dry skin, plus the ingredients worth seeking when you’re in need of a major hydration boost.
After you read her tips, shop our curated product list below to upgrade every step of your regimen. And, because we know the holidays have you budgeting funds towards treating others rather that treating yourself, we kept all the recommendations under $50. Now your skin can let out a sign of relief.
What type of ingredients can be helpful in treating dry skin?
“Plant butters and oil act as natural emollients on the skin,” says Dr. Schaffer. What’s an emollient, you might ask? “An emollient’s function is to soften and soothe the skin.”
Dr. Schaffer lists mango butter, which is rich in vitamins; extra virgin olive oil, which penetrates deep into the epidermis of skin and helps restore moisture that has been lost throughout the day; and shea butter, which calms down redness and increases collagen production, as a good place to start.
Another important ingredient? Antioxidants. According to Dr. Schaffer, “Antioxidants protect dry, sensitive skin from free radicals that cause dryness and premature aging. They also stimulate healthy cell metabolism and decrease inflammation.” The key antioxidants for skincare include flavonoids, polyphenols, resveratrol, fat soluble vitamin C,andvitamin A.
Lastly, keep an eye out for ceramides. “Ceramides are natural lipids in the stratum corneum of the epidermis of the skin,” says Dr. Schaffer. “They protect the skin’s barrier from losing water which keeps the skin moisturized. Phytoceramides are plant-derived ceramides, but if you have a gluten allergy you must be careful of the source. Lots of them are derived from wheat.”
What changes should one make to their skincare routine now that winter is coming?
For dry and sensitive skin types, Dr. Schaffer recommends a morning routine that consists of a cleanser, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, SPF, and mist. Double check your current cleanser to make sure it’s gentle and has hydrating ingredients.
In the evening, she suggests using a cleanser, serum, eye cream, and moisturizer. Dr. Schaffer also notes you should sleep next to a humidifier and avoid long, hot showers because they can cause irritation and dryness.
She says, “A humidifier has many benefits, especially during the winter, as it releases moisture and helps fight allergies. If you’re looking for extra moisture saturation, we recommend getting a warm mist one. If you’re looking to remove impurities in the air and would prefer a humidifier that makes minimal noise, we recommend a cool mist one. Both types will keep you hydrated and feeling healthy.”
If those with dry skin need a little extra love, what else can they do?
According to Dr. Schaffer, there are a number of other tactics you can try. “Exfoliate two to three times a week. Use a hydrating and brightening mask, which is the key to soothing and calming your skin, especially after a night out. And apply hand cream throughout the day to prevent cracking, chapping, and chafing skin. The layer of skin on our hands is much thinner than the rest of the body, meaning that signs of aging will likely show up on our hands first.”