As a beauty editor, I'm religious about my skincare routine. But in the dead of winter, no matter how diligent I am about it, I always seems to end up with dry patches AKA the mortal enemy of clingy matte foundation. Because I'm not the only one cursed with rough, parched skin this time of year, I knew it was time to let the experts weigh in on how to get rid of them once and for all. Here, find the five things you should be doing for a smooth, soft, and flake-free visage beyond slathering on moisturizer.
1. Keep skin safe from the elements. Dry patches can be caused by wear and tear—think of your skin like a road. "The more cold wind and rubbing that a patch of skin is exposed to, the drier it will become," explains Dr. Janet Prystowsky MD, PC Dermatologic Surgery. "If you rub your nose often, the underside of your nose will be dry."
2. Don't over-cleanse. "Many women over-cleanse, use products which are too harsh, or use the wrong products for their skin," cautions Dr. Pistilli. "Women have to pay attention to products containing 'anti-aging' ingredients such as BHA's or AHA's, which can over-dry." Dr. Prystowsky recommends extra-gentle Dove Dry Oil bars.
3. Don't over-exfoliate. When dry patches rear their ugly head, your first instinct may be to buff them off by exfoliating, however you could be exacerbating the problem over time. "Exfoliating works by sloughing off the top, dead layer of your skin to reveal a fresher layer of skin underneath it. However, this fresh layer will not stay fresh for very long because it will be exposed to the same environment that made your skin look dry and dull before. That will make you want to exfoliate again. Constant exfoliation trains your skin to produce skin cells at an accelerated pace, which will result in thicker, duller skin."
4. Avoid hot showers. Especially when it comes to your face! A shower is not the appropriate place to cleanse. "Hot showers wash away natural oils," explains Dr Debbie Palmer, co-founder of Dermatology Associates of NY and author of Beyond Beauty: Proven Secrets to Age Well, Look 10 years Younger & Live a Truly Happy, Healthy, Long Life.
5. Spot treat your face. Certain areas of the face, like the cheeks or the chin, are more prone to dryness because they have lower concentrations of sebaceous or oil glands. "Most lotions will not be strong enough to get the job done alone," says Dr. Prystowsky, who suggest using a thin layer of Vaseline or Aquaphor on the problem areas to help protect the skin and seal in moisture.
Dr. Palmer is partial to a hyaluronic acid moisturizer, as well as a topical application of olive oil. "It's a great moisturizer and safe to use on all skin types," she explains. "It's rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-aging antioxidants, making it also a great anti-aging oil. According to Marianne Pistilli, PA of Schweiger Dermatology, you can also get a prescription for a non-steroidal prescription cream such as EpiCeram.
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