Glowing skin tends to sign off for the colder season.
Speed up its return with these 8 Easy Winter Skin Tips!
1. Choose a cleanser that leaves skin clean, not stripped.
“If you want radiant skin, the very first thing you need to do is take care of your moisture barrier with a mild cleanser,” says Jeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. When your protective barrier gets stripped, skin gets dry, irritated, and dull—and plain tap water is one of the biggest culprits. Graf recommends using wipe-off cleansers to eliminate the need for rinsing altogether or micellar water, which removes grime while protecting delicate skin.
2. Exfoliate nightly with a mild chemical peel to reveal a healthy glow.
“Regular exfoliation is pivotal to vibrant skin,” says Neal Schultz, a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, who champions glycolic acid for its power to dissolve the glue binding together old, drab skin cells, ushering in a smoother, brighter complexion. Alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic and lactic, also boost cell turnover and collagen production—both of which contribute to a supple, light-reflective surface. Since exfoliation leaves skin vulnerable to UV rays, be extra good about sun protection in the morning.
3. Use antioxidants and SPF to shield skin from radiance-robbing rays and pollution.
The sun and environmental pollutants (like smog and ozone) breed free radicals and bad-news enzymes called MMPs, which basically deplete all good things in the skin—lipids, antioxidants, structural proteins like collagen and elastin—and screw with cellular functioning and DNA (hello, skin cancer). According to Dendy Engelman, director of dermatologic surgery at New York Medical College, “the air in highly polluted cities can have the exact same effect on skin as smoking, decreasing its oxygen supply by some 30 percent.” And nothing robs skin’s brilliance quite like asphyxiation. What’s more, she adds, “studies have shown that pollution particles are 20 to 40 times smaller than your pore size, so they’re very easily deposited into the skin.” The best defense: A potent antioxidant serum topped with a broad-spectrum SPF 30+. Makeup primers (and sunscreen-primer hybrids) can also help by physically sealing the skin, walling it off from invisible contaminants.
4. Apply two masks in tandem for a fresh-from-the-facialist glow.
Top aestheticians swear by this back-to-back masking trick (done before bed, once a week): First smear on a purifying clay- or mud-based formula. As it dries and tightens, it literally squeezes gunk out of pores, and absorbs it, explains cosmetics chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. After rinsing and patting skin dry, lay a sheet mask over your face for fifteen minutes to rehydrate. Ones made of cellulose or hydrogel stick best for maximum penetration. Remove the mask, and massage in any excess goo in lieu of a night cream. These sheets come supersaturated with humectants, vitamins, and plant oils—so spread the love to your neck, hands, and arms.
5. Trade highlighter for an illuminating facial oil.
By virtue of their name alone, highlighters seem like an obvious glow go-to, but they leave a lot of room for error—the garish shimmer flecks, the piggy-pink tint. For a truly supernatural sheen, swap an oil into your radiance-boosting routine. After applying an SPF-infused moisturizer, rub a few drops of oil into your fingertips, and press it along your cheekbones, over temples, around your eyes, and atop any dry patches.
6. Don’t fall for the beauty-enhancing claims made by juice fasts and detox fads.
There’s a cleanse for every Kardashian it seems (tea-tox, anyone?), but think twice before boarding this bandwagon. “The notion that a juice cleanse will make your skin glow is simply not true,” says Patricia Farris, a dermatologist in New Orleans and co-author of The Sugar Detox. “Fruit juices lack fiber and are full of skin-sabotaging sugar,” which has been linked to acne, wrinkles, and a sallow, lackluster tone. (Whole fruits and fresh vegetables, on the other hand, pack skin-friendly antioxidants, plus fiber to minimize sugar absorption.) As for the hot-now tea trend, many of those herbal infusions are laced with natural diuretics and laxatives, which if overused, can actually dehydrate the skin, stealing its glow.
7. Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated and luminous.
The source of life and gleaming skin, H2O plumps up skin cells from within while flushing complexion-dulling impurities from your system. “Have a gallon of water in front of you during the day, and do your best with it,” advises Graf. If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some in to alkalize the water and raise your body’s internal pH to beget clearer, brighter skin (and better health, overall).
8. Shoot for eight hours of sleep every night.
As you sleep, cortisol (evil stress hormone) levels drop, glow-inducing oxygen floods your cells, and the body’s detoxification and repair mechanisms kick into overdrive, says Jeffrey Morrison, MD, an integrative health expert and founder of the Morrison Center in New York City. Translation: A solid night’s rest is absolutely crucial to good skin. If you tend to have trouble dozing off, try powering down your devices—iPhone, too—at least one hour before bedtime. Harvard researchers found that the blue light emitted by screens suppresses melatonin—a sleep-inducing hormone–and messes with circadian rhythms, keeping you awake. For those who continue to wrestle with sleeplessness, Morrison recommends taking 1500 to 3000 milligrams of glycine before bed. The natural sleep aid “helps the body make GABA, a calming neurotransmitter,” he says. Always talk to your doctor before taking anything new.