To help you craft a routine to carry you to warmer temps, we tapped Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City, to share her five skin-care "rules" for dry skin season. Check them out below, commit them to memory, and marvel at how great your skin looks in the colder months ahead.
- Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologic surgeon based in New York City
1. Keep your skin hydrated
While hydration is beneficial for complexions of all ages, it’s especially key for more mature visages. “Dehydrated skin more prominently displays signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, and volume loss," says Dr. Engelman. "That is why it is especially important for women over the age of 50 to drink the recommended daily amount of water and apply moisturizing skin-care products.”
Don’t just reach for any old cream, though. Dr. Engelman says that women over 50 will be best served by thicker, more occlusive products and those formulated with nourishing and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides, and squalane.
“This serum is fantastic for mature skin,” says Dr. Engelman. “These capsules contain a potent dose of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and ginger extract to deeply hydrate, improve moisture retention, and boost plumpness and elasticity.”
“This facial oil sinks into skin quickly and packs nourishing, antioxidant-rich ingredients like pomegranate seed oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil,” says Dr. Engelman. “It hydrates, firms, helps reduce signs of aging, and protects against external aggressors.”
2. Use retinol/retinoids
If your goal is to achieve a complexion with fewer lines and wrinkles, Dr. Engelman recommends adding the gold-standard anti-aging ingredient into your routine.
“Retinol is a star ingredient for maintaining healthy, more youthful-looking skin as we age, which is why I recommend it not just for patients with mature skin, but for everyone starting in their 20s,” she says. “As we age, our body loses important materials such as collagen, elastin, and vitamin A—all of which keep our skin supple and youthful—leading to noticeable signs of aging such as sagging skin and fine lines.”
Thankfully, she says that retinoic acid, an extremely effective ingredient found in retinol and retinoids, has the ability to attach itself to other skin cell receptor sites and transform it to behave like a younger, healthier skin cell. “Retinoic acid also acts as an antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage that causes prominent signs of aging,” she adds, noting that she strongly recommends retinoids to her patients, especially women with more mature complexions. “When properly incorporated into your skin-care routine, retinol benefits your skin barrier appearance and function by boosting collagen production, improving skin tone and evenness, increasing cell turnover, fortifying the skin barrier, and more.”
That said, Engelman points out that retinol can be very drying and irritating to skin, especially mature skin which is more susceptible to dryness, so it’s important to choose a soothing retinol formula.
3. Use a skin toning device
Thanks to technology, a variety of cosmetic tools exist to help create smoother, firmer, more youthful-looking complexions at home. “Using a skin-toning device is a really effective way to reverse visible signs of aging and give your skin a youthful tightness and radiance,” says Dr. Engelman.
This device—which Dr. Engelman counts among her favorites—uses microcurrent technology to sculpt the skin. “I love the NuFACE Trinity device because it only takes about five minutes to achieve immediately firmer-looking, contoured, glowier skin, with long-term results seen over time,” she says.
4. Wear SPF
Oftentimes people associate sunscreen with warm weather and therefore think it’s not necessary during winter—it is, though. “Wearing sunscreen is a golden rule at any age—even in the winter,” Engelman says, noting that skin is susceptible to damage from external aggressors like UV rays, blue light from screens, pollution, and more, regardless of how warm it is outside. “All of these things can cause signs of aging to develop and/or worsen.”
For protecting mature complexions from the sun, Dr. Engelman recommends using a chemical sunscreen, like this one. She’s a fan of the formula because it sinks into skin easily and won’t cause any creasing or settling in fine lines.
5. Embrace chemical peels
Last but not least, Dr. Engelman reminds us of the importance of exfoliation. “As we age, several important skin barrier functions slow down: collagen and elastin production, cell turnover, and more,” she says. “Chemical peels can help boost these processes while removing visible signs of aging and improving the overall health and appearance of the skin barrier.”
Dr. Engelman loves these at-home peel boxes“because they are easy for anyone to use at home, and yield professional results that help transform the appearance and function of mature skin,” she says. There are a variety of different options that contain peels that target various skin concerns, which means you can find exactly what your skin needs.
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