Cold temps and dry heat can do a number on your skin. Put the kibosh on those nasty little wrinkles with these tricks.
By Fiorella Valdesolo
SWITCH TO CREAMIER SKIN CARE
"Almost everyone needs extra moisture in the winter," says Mary Lupo, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane Medical School in New Orleans. When the air is cold and dry, water and oil levels in skin plummet, making wrinkles appear worse and skin seem worn. One surefire way to look softer and smoother: Use a creamy face wash, which is less drying than a foaming formula (try Origins Pure Cream cleanser, $19.50). Super-parched? Skip cleanser altogether in the morning; instead, mix a little moisturizer with warm water, massage it into your skin, and tissue it off. Then apply a rich cream packed with skin-quenching ingredients like essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, or ceramides, like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, $14.99.
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KEEP WEARING SUNSCREEN!
Don't let your common sense go into hibernation: "UVA rays, which age skin and can lead to cancer, are just as strong in the winter as they are in the summer," Lupo points out. "Plus, if you're out in the snow, its reflective quality makes them worse." Bottom line: Protect any exposed skin-your face, neck, and hands-every day with a broad-spectrum sunscreen that's SPF 30 or higher.
REHYDRATE ALL NIGHT LONG
No, you don't have to wake up in the night to put on more cream-just get a humidifier and keep it by your bed. "Indoor heat sucks a lot of water from your face, especially while you're sleeping, which is when skin's moisture levels dip to their lowest point," says Lupo.
EXFOLIATE THE YEARS AWAY
"When you regularly get rid of dead skin cells, your face looks dewier and more even," says Lupo, who recommends using a scrub with round beads (not granules, which can scratch) once a week. Try Vichy Pureté Thermale Purifying Exfoliating Cream, $17.50. But be careful: If you're Asian or African-American, scrubs can trigger dark spots; instead, use a daily moisturizer containing lactic acid, which gently dissolves dead cells without sending your skin's pigment into overdrive. We like Avène Cleanance K Cream-Gel, $22.
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SKIP THE HOT WATER
We know, we know, it feels great on bone-chilling days. But it also strips away your skin's winter defenses. "The hotter the water you wash with, the more it dehydrates skin. Worse yet, it wears down its outer layer," Lupo says. When that happens, your face is more susceptible to inflammation, which speeds up the aging process. That should be incentive enough to keep your sink and shower water at lukewarm-but if having a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers waiting helps too, so be it!
EASE UP ON SUGAR
You don't have to relinquish sweets entirely-we're not that mean-but cutting back on refined sugars can do wonders for your skin. "Reduce your intake of candy, regular soda, wine and sugary cocktails, and processed starchy foods like white bread and pasta," Lupo says. "They cause an inflammatory reaction in the body that adds years to your face." Bonus: You'll cut down on your winter spare tire, too.
Read more: Simple Tips for Anti-Aging
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