Winter may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean that its effects on our skin will immediately go away. After months of enduring cold temps, our complexions are likely at their driest, which means they need a little extra TLC before we make the transition into spring.
In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, breaks down exactly what you need to do to quench your thirsty skin before spring sets in.
"After a long winter you may notice that your skin is ultra-dry," she says, blaming a combination of cold air, increased heater use, and hot showers—all of which play a role in weakening our skin barriers. "Remember, our skin barrier keeps irritants out and moisture in. The cold breaks down and weakens this barrier so that things aren't working as smoothly as they should be, and hot water and heat have similar effects."
She explains that these things may cause dry, itchy, inflamed skin, and can exacerbate conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
"I urge you at the end of the season to take stock of your skin," she says. "If you noticed it’s not quite as soft as you want it to be, or it’s a little bit more inflamed, try simple modifications."
One of the most important "modifications," says Dr. Gohara, involves introducing a barrier replenishing moisturizer into your routine, which will help relieve some of these issues. To find the right formula, she suggests looking for the "big three" reparative ingredients.
First up, she says, are ceramides. These are fatty acids that naturally occur in your skin, and are often referred to as the "bricks" that make up your skin barrier. Applying them topically will help supplement your natural supply, helping to strengthen your skin.
Next, look for glycerin, which Dr. Gohara has previously called "the one ingredient that's good for everyone." It acts as a humectant to draw water into the skin, and holds it beneath the surface to help replenish moisture.
Finally, Dr. Gohara suggests niacinamide, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This skin-soothing ingredient helps to reduce the irritated, itchy side effects that are often associated with dry skin, making it an A+ pick for calming post-winter complexions.
To reap all of these benefits in a single formula, Dr. Gohara recommends slathering your skin with Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Body & Face Cream ($20). It's packed with all of the "big three" ingredients, and melts seamlessly into skin to deliver 48-hour hydration without feeling greasy or goopy. What's more, it can be used on your body and face, which means you're getting a whole lot of bang for your $20.
While a solid moisturizer can seriously help to replenish your skin, it's only one element of your end-of-winter routine. To find out what other practices Dr. Gohara recommends to prep your complexion for spring, check out the video above.
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