The temperature is dropping from chilly to abso-freaking-lutely freezing and, as a result, your skin is dry, itchy, and dull. It's time to switch up your routine so you'll stay smooth and glowing no matter what the elements have in store.
Problem Solved: Dry, Scaly Skin
If you're shedding like a snake right now, here's why: In the winter, there's less moisture in the air, leaving your skin dry and flaky, says dermatologist Eric Schweiger. To counteract this process, start in the shower by lathering up with an ultra-hydrating body wash. Check out our pick here. "Bar soaps can contain harsh surfactants, so it's best to stick with a creamy, moisturizing formula," says P&G Beauty Scientist Rolanda Johnson. It's also important to keep your daily showers short and make sure the water is warm, not hot. Pat yourself dry with a towel, but leave a little water on your skin. The key is to then immediately apply a cream that contains hydrators like glycerin, dimethicone, and ceramides, which are lipids that reinforce your skin's protective barrier so moisture can't escape, says Schweiger. See which one we love here. A few times a week, use a gentle exfoliating scrub. It may sound like it would be drying, but sloughing actually removes dead skin so your body cream will absorb the moisturizer better.
Problem Solved: A Dull, Pale Complexion
Your tired appearance could be the result of built-up dead skin cells, says Johnson (although the frigid temperatures and gray skies are enough to make anyone look blah). "Cells turn over at a slower rate in the winter so it's not uncommon for them to accumulate on your skin's surface." Exfoliation is the easiest way to speed things back up. A light chemical peel (either an at-home version or done at the derm's office) will definitely help you get your glow back, says Schweiger. If you have sensitive skin, use an exfoliating cleanser that contains gentle round microbeads. Find out our favorite one here. And make sure that you moisturize your face more frequently, since a loss of hydration can leave you less than radiant.
Problem Solved: Red, Irritated Skin
When your cheeks are exposed to whipping winds and cold air, they could get windburn, leaving your face looking flushed and irritated, says Johnson. "Soothe them with a calming cream that contains an anti-inflammatory like niaciamide." She recommends Olay Definity Intense Hydrating Cream. If you're still red, you may have rosacea, which flares up more often in winter because of the harsh climate change, says Schweiger. In addition to keeping your face shielded from the elements as much as possible, you should also avoid red wine and spicy foods, which can increase redness.
Problem Solved: Itchy, Flaky Scalp
Your face and body aren't the only areas that suffer from weather-induced issues. Your scalp, which is an extension of the skin on your face, can also act up, only for different reasons. "The lack of humidity in the air prevents the dead skin cells from clinging to your scalp so they fall off," says dermatologist Marta Rendon, who adds that darker clothing also makes flakes more obvious. To nix dandruff, tightness, and itchiness, use a shampoo and conditioner that contains zinc, an antibacterial agent. "Regular conditioners will wash away 50 percent of the zinc," says celebrity hairstylist Ryan Trygstad. He recommends the Head & Shoulders line because it's safe for all hair types including color-treated.