Everyone is chasing a “glow” for their complexions, but when it’s this cold and dry outside, all bets are off. Thanks to zero-percent humidity in many winter climates, a dry-skin cell pileup happens on skin, leaving it looking a little dulled down. It couldn’t be any more annoying, then, that the way to deal with dull skin is to exfoliate, which can cause more dryness. It’s a vicious dryness cycle that’s hard to escape, and that’s exactly why we reached out to a derm for recommendations on how to brighten up skin without totally drying it out.
“Skin gets dull in the winter because it gets dry,” says Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “A combination of cold weather and the drying effects of indoor heat creates a double whammy situation.” His tip for getting that radiance back? Hydration is step number one, so start by nurturing the complexion with a moisturizer rich in hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and barrier-building ones like ceramides.
Besides that, combatting dullness is all about light exfoliation (read: gentle!) and giving your skin protection through antioxidants to fend off future damage and restore the glow you had before this frigid air came upon us. Keep scrolling for dermatologist-approved dull skin solutions that’ll brighten up your skin, all of which you can grab at the drugstore for cheap.
Begin your regimen with this brightening cleanser, recommended by Julie Russak, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “This contains lipo-hydroxy acid, a fantastic acid to remove impurities and brighten skin, which is ideal for dull and uneven skin tone,” she says. The creamy texture helps to remove debris and oil without taking moisture from skin with it.
Dr. Mudgil praises the hyaluronic acid-packed Neutrogena Hydro Boost line as your first defense against dull, dry skin. Apply the gel-cream formula on damp skin before going out into the harsh elements.
Dr. Russak explains that using an antioxidant-packed serum will give your skin a “major glow while defending and correcting from skin-damaging free radicals,” she says. We love this one, which is packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant superstar, and vitamin b3 (aka niacinamide), which helps to protect your skin barrier.
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