Tips for Hydrated, Radiant Skin This Winter

 

Winter comes with its many perks (hot chocolate, cozy pajamas, endless pie) but dry, itchy skin is not one of them. While that taut, tight feeling and unsightly flakes are a nuisance for everyone, the more visible scales and ashy dryness that show up more prominently on dark skin make them even more annoying and troublesome for women of color.

That’s why we talked to Dr. Carlos A. Charles, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and owner of Derma di Colore, a New York-based dermatology practice specializing in the care of multicultural skin, who dished on easy ways to banish dry winter skin for good. A few easy tweaks to your skin care routine are all it takes to hold onto moisturized, radiant skin even when the weather is frightful.

Choose the Right IngredientsAdjectives like “moisturizing” and “hydrating” aren’t enough when it comes to picking winter-proofing products. While you’re in the shopping aisle, Charles says to keep a lookout for ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which draw in moisture, plus beneficial-but-easier-to-pronounce plant oils like avocado, almond, hazelnut and rosehip oils that will seal the moisture in.

“For scaly dry elbows and knees in particular, products containing low concentrations of lactic acid or urea can be helpful,” says Charles. Eucerin Daily Protection SPF 15 Moisturizing Body Lotion, contains both.

If you suffer from eczema, a skin condition that occurs twice as frequently in dark skin than in lighter complexions, Charles says to switch your focus to products that contain ceramides, naturally occurring fats that help retain moisture and are significantly lower in people who suffer from eczema. We like CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM with SPF 30, . If you’re in a pinch, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, will do the trick.

Don’t Skimp on the SunscreenIt’s easy to shove your SPF into the bottom drawer along with your bikini and sandals, but it’s important to keep your summertime sunscreen regimen intact. Sure, winter means fewer daylight hours and more time spent indoors, but UVB rays can still damage darker skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice.

Replenish your stock of broad-spectrum sunscreen (one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF 30 or higher and active ingredients like zinc oxide, avobenzone or mexoryl, like Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum 

Work From the Inside OutThe holiday season may quite possibly be the worst time to jumpstart any sort of diet. Luckily, keeping your skin hydrated simply means reminding yourself of the basics. Charles suggests upping your water intake to at least eight glasses of water a day to help keep thirsty skin hydrated. If leafy greens, avocados, almonds and salmon are playing second fiddle to Turducken and pie, use your extra water intake to wash down vitamin E and omega-3 fish oil capsules to moisturize skin from the inside out.

Turn Down the TemperatureWe naturally gravitate toward heat in the winter months, but too much can do a number on parched winter skin. Do damage control by avoiding long hot showers and baths — even though you’re soaking your skin in water, the high temperature causes moisture to be drawn back out of your skin. Learn to embrace tepid temperatures and always gently pat your skin dry and slather on a fragrance-free lotion while the skin is still damp to seal in all the room-temperature moisture.

Your skin is also at risk of dehydration when you’re out of the tub. If you can’t bear to turn down the thermostat, sleep with a humidifier in the bedroom to return some moisture to the air.

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