Y’all, my skin really struggles in the winter! Does yours? Here in Dallas, we have the weirdest weather, with days that are in the 30s and days that are in the 60s, so that does seem to help with the whole, lizard skin situation. But I keep hearing from you all who live up yonder in the upper states, and you’ve been begging me to write this post since back in October! I talked to my dermatologist about it, (Honestly, I kinda grilled the poor woman!) at my annual visit (yep, that’s the one where you get completely nekkid, and she does the big skin cancer check). Listen y’all, I may have been nude, but my mouth was goin’, lemme tell ya. #embarrassing #ididitforyou
My dermatologist has an assistant that she brings into the room with her, and that sweet girl’s sole job is to type up everything the doctor recommends during your appointment. Then you get a print out (and hopefully a bunch of samples!) as you leave. Let me just say that her fingers were flying, and I left with a whole bunch of great recommendations (and a few samples)! Along with her recommendations, I did some research on good products for winter/aging/dry skin, and I bought a bunch of stuff. (Bob: “What is all this?”) And then I started using all. the. things.
If you’ve been hanging around here for a while now, you know that I would never recommend something to you that I haven’t tried myself. The only time I make an exception is when I have friends, family members, or readers who recommend something highly, and I haven’t gotten around to testing it myself yet. But I always reveal that to you. Today, I’m sharing some of the products I’ve been using and loving so far this winter.
Three things to know:
- This post focuses on the skin on your body! (If I’d included the face, it would have been way too long!) If you want me to do a separate post about winter skin and the face, let me know in the comments.
- You may click any of the images or links in this post for more information. The collage at the top of the post is also clickable.
- I did a bunch of research on pricing for you all and have linked most of the products through Amazon for pretty significant cost savings. (Where would we be without trusty Amazon, amirite?!)
Winter Skin Rescue: Key Ingredients
When it comes to skincare, there are a few key ingredients you need to know and look for in your products. (In alphabetical order.)
Ceramides – Ceramides are one of nine lipids that are naturally present in the top layer of the skin. This lipid prevents the skin from losing moisture. Skin care products containing ceramides can help replace lipids that have been lost due to chronic dryness and environmental factors. This ingredient also restores and maintains the skin’s natural barrier.
Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic acid molecules occur naturally in skin’s structure and have the ability to retain up to 1000 times their weight in water, thus helping the skin retain moisture and collagen. Typically, hyaluronic acid molecules are too large to penetrate the skin’s surface (those larger ones are in injectable fillers), but scientists have found a way to lower the molecular weight of hyaluronic acid and put it into topical products. There, it makes its way through the skin’s top layers, temporarily plumping up, lifting, firming, and moisturizing skin.
Niacinamide – This ingredient is calming. It helps a compromised skin barrier and improves the appearance of the skin.
Peptides – Peptides are chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins in the skin. Collagen, one of those proteins, gives skin thickness and suppleness. When collagen breaks down in the skin (naturally from age and also from environmental factors like the UV rays), wrinkles form. When peptides are applied topically, it signals collagen to produce.
Retinol – While not quite as gentle as Salicylic or Lactic Acid, this ingredient renews skin by increasing cell turnover, reducing the appearance of fine lines. It also helps with skin discoloration, uneven skin tone, and age spots.
Salicylic Acid – This ingredient improves skin texture by exfoliating, softening and smoothing very dry skin. It’s often used in conjunction with lactic acid, which does the same thing. It’s gentle.
Winter Skin Rescue: Body
The odds are stacked against us. First, there’s the normal dryness that accompanies the aging process (buh-bye estrogen). Did you know that teenage skin cells slough off every 28 days, but by adulthood, skin cells hold on for 40, 50, or even 60 days? Unfortunately, this results in duller-looking skin from those old hanger-on cells, and it also triggers less collagen production, causing a lack of firmness and more wrinkles. Next, there’s the cold weather, which when paired with indoor heating, pulls moisture from the air. The result? The skin on our bodies can get wrinkly and crepey. When I talked to my dermatologist about the dryness on my arms and legs, she suggested that I use products with Salicylic Acid and Retinol to help with exfoliation and improve skin texture and pair them with Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid for moisturization. She recommended Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream. It not only contains Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid, but also soothing natural ingredients such as Green Tea, Aloe Vera, and Chamomile. It’s lightweight and absorbs easily. I adore this cream, and you will too! I linked to the two spa size bottles value pack. It’s that good. At night, she recommended CeraVe SA (the “SA” stands for Salicylic Acid). It comes in a lotion or a heavier cream. I’ve been using the cream, and it’s thicker than the Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream I use in the morning, but it’s not greasy, and it does absorb.
One of my friends absolutely raves about a cream called Crepe Erase. I haven’t used it (mostly because it’s so expensive!). I thought I’d try it if I didn’t like the others my doctor recommended, but I love those, so I’ll probably skip it. (Here’s a link to the Crepe Erase website if you’d like more information.)
Winter Skin Rescue: Hands
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been using an app called Cherry (search “Download Cherry” in the app store) to get my nails done about every two weeks. Only available in the Dallas area right now, Cherry is an on-demand nail service that will come to your home, business, or wherever and do dip, gel, or classic manis and pedis. They use a waterless system, so there’s no mess, and freshly sterilized tools are used on every client. Getting my nails done on a regular basis has really encouraged me to take better care of my hands! The winter weather takes a toll on my cuticles, and my sweet Cherry tech, Oleta, was so appalled by the state of my dry and cracking cuticles that she gave me a Cuccio Cuticle Butter Stick for Christmas! I keep it right by my computer, so I remember to use it, and my cuticles are so much better! (BTW, if you’re in the Dallas area and you’re interested in trying Cherry, be sure to use the code Empty Nest Blessed when you download the app for $10 off your first service.)
For dry and rough winter hands, I have friends who swear by L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream, but I’ve never used it. (Please let me know if you have and what you thought!) My dermatologist recommends La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Repairing Balm with Shea Butter and Glycerin or CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide. (That’s the one I use and it’s great!) When I use Advanced Clinicals Retinol Cream or CeraVe SA on the rest of my body, I also use it on the back of my hands to reduce wrinkles and age spots, but I layer CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream on top for extra moisturizing.
The best thing for hands is to keep them out of the water as much as possible! I picked up this adorable pair of fun kitchen gloves on Amazon, and I wear them whenever I do dishes or wash pots and pans. When I’m cooking (especially when I’m handling raw meat), I use disposable gloves. (I bought this giant pack on Amazon the other day and it will last me for at least 5-10 years! Hahahaha!) I’m trying to reduce the number of times I have to wash my hands when I’m cooking or working in the kitchen by using gloves and also using a good hand sanitizer. This is the one I use. It’s made with essential oils, smells delish, and it doesn’t dry out my hands. Of course, we need to wash our hands throughout the day, especially at this time of year! A natural beauty company called Follain recently gave me this wonderful refillable soap, and I’ve been using that recently. It’s gentler than other soaps I’ve used, smells divine, and it’s made with organic essential oils, and Aloe Vera. (You can read the full ingredient list here.) It doesn’t dry my hands out, and I’ll be ordering a refill soon!
Winter Skin Rescue: Tools
My doctor said to be sure I was using a something like an exfoliating bath cloth or a bath pouf in the shower. Although I know a lot of people love bath poufs, be aware that they can harbor bacteria because they may not dry off enough between uses. I prefer a bath cloth, which you can bunch up and use like a pouf, or spread out (which is excellent for getting your back!). I put mine in a lingerie bag and wash it on hot every time I do our towels. When it’s worn out, I just replace it. This is a five pack of the exact one I use. It opens to about 35 inches long, but you can cut it if that’s too long for you. (I cut one of them in half and take it when I travel.)
Do you use a Clarisonic regularly on your face? (I swear by mine!) I have a classic Clarisonic that’s still going strong, but the newer “Smart” version looks super cool and has a body exfoliation brush option.
Winter Skin Rescue: Water Intake
Finally, admit it— most of us probably aren’t drinking as much water as we should be drinking. Add to that our love of caffeine (which increases kidney output, producing a diuretic effect), and we aren’t doing ourselves any favors. One of my friends just got a Hidrate Spark Smart Water Bottle, which tracks how much water she drinks, glows to remind her to drink (!), and integrates with an Apple Watch or Fitbit (and other activity trackers too) to help her set drinking goals based on her daily activities. I’ve just added one to my shopping cart!
I hope this post has been helpful! I was worried that with all of these exfoliating ingredients, my skin would be flakier and maybe even leave those white marks on my black clothing when I took it on or off, but that hasn’t happened. Instead, I’ve seen a huge difference in the texture of my skin since I started using these products consistently. I couldn’t wait to tell you about them! Even though I don’t live in a super cold place, winter skin dryness has become a big issue for me as I’ve gotten older. I’d love to know your ideas, suggestions, and the products you can’t live without, so hit me up in the comments and give me all your wisdom, okay?
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P.P.S. I feel kind of bad that I didn’t do a post today on the BIG semi-annual Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale, but honestly, I’m just a little sick of posting about clothing sales (!) and I’ve been getting so many emails from y’all about winter skin issues, I felt it was more important to cover this! I hope you understand. That said, the Lilly sale starts today, lasts two days, and things do tend to sell out fast! If you’re a Lilly fan like me, you’ll want to shop this sale for sure. You can head over there using this link.