Here's what you need to battle parched winter skin.
Winter Beauty 101
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Winter weather results in temperamental skin. Dry heat indoors and cold temps outdoors can cause breakouts and dry patches at the same time. There's also less moisture in the air, which means drier skin that's prone to flaking and peeling. (Even your scalp and hair need extra love.)
The solution? Layering, says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a New York–based dermatologic surgeon. "Just like you layer thin, quality pieces to keep warm, the same should be done for skin-care products," she says.
We looked to cold-weather countries for inspiration on what to put on our winter wish list.
Photo: Serg Zastavkin / Shutterstock
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The French pharmacy brand with a cult following is known best for tubes of Homeoplasmine, but Boiron's new lighter calendula-filled cream that helps care for irritated or chapped skin is just as effective. (Both Homeoplasmine and Calendula are petroleum jelly–based ointments, though the former is not sold in the U.S.)
Keep in mind, staying hydrated is especially important for eczema suffers, adds Dr. Engelman. "Dry air combined with indoor heating systems can dry out your skin, further irritating it, which can lead to eczema flares," she adds. ($7; walgreens.com)
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Stashing chic hand cream in your purse is a must during colder months—and prevents premature aging. Try L:A Bruket's rosemary lavender option for a natural option; it uses meadowfoam seed oil for extra moisture. The Sweden-based company uses essential oils and other ingredients from the country's sparsely populated west coast. ($26; labruket-usa.com)
Photo: L:A Bruket
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Applying a nourishing serum under your moisturizer can be especially useful in colder months—and is less likely to result in breakouts. Aussie-based Baré Alchemy's Ambrosia Soothe Serum uses sweet almond, oat bran extract, and argan oil to specifically target dry, sensitive skin.
During the colder months, Lily Talakoub, M.D., a dermatologist based in McLean, VA, recommends using more products with cosmetic-grade natural oils which easily absorb to battle flaky skin. "I highly recommend cosmetic oils such as argan oil, sunflower oil, or marula oil," she says. ($90; barealchemy.com)
Photo: Baré Alchemy
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Ceramides, which naturally hold skin cells together, can be especially helpful in the colder months because they protect the skin barrier, says Dr. Engelman. "When your skin barrier is compromised, you lose your first line of defense against the elements," she says.
Try Korean favorite COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream, which combines ceramides, manuka honey, and beeswax to help the skin retain moisture. ($26; ulta.com)
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Be sure to up your mask game in the winter months. Try the gel-like Masque No. 1 from French spa brand Yon Ka, which can do double duty as an overnight mask or even as a thicker daytime moisturizer. Don't worry about overdoing it on heavier products when it's cold. "A product is only too rich for extremely acne-prone skin," says Dr. Talakoub. "It is okay to use rich creams as often as necessary to rehydrate lost oils and water from the skin, particularly if medications or anti-wrinkle products are applied to the skin." ($47; lovelyskin.com)
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Skin isn't the only thing requiring extra TLC in winter. While leave-in conditioners can make hair look oily, U.K.-based Philip Kingsley's Elasticizer is a pre-shampoo that softens hair without the residue. The added moisture helps prevent breakage. ($51; philipkingsley.com)
Photo: Philip Kingsley
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The Swiss-made brand Alchimie Forever is all about proven results (it's founded by sisters—one is a star derm while the other is a biomedical researcher). Kantic+ Intensely Nourishing Cream is a favorite because it's rich in emollients, including vitamin E and jojoba, which help keep skin from losing moisture even on the coldest days. "Low humidity levels degrade the skin's natural moisture barrier, which can lead to flaking, cracking, and peeling," Dr. Engelman says. ($79; walgreens.com)
Photo: Alchimie Forever
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In the winter months, multipurpose oil can help tame flyaways, protect heat-treated locks, and moisturize skin. Try Kálice Oil from Inoar, a Brazil-based brand that uses a blend of seven essential oils that can be used on hair or body—and even as a makeup remover. ($30; inoarprofessional.com)
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The next best thing to swimming in Iceland's awe-inspiring Blue Lagoon is using the mineral-filled mud masks from the comfort of your couch. The brand's Mineral Mask uses geothermal seawater for impressive natural hydration. When it's cold, opt for masks in lieu of harsher exfoliators, advises Dr. Talakoub. "Decrease exfoliation in the winter to once every three months," she adds. ($115; shop-usa.bluelagoon.com)
Photo: Blue Lagoon Iceland
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There's no need to completely swear off your summer staples in the winter months. Canadian label Indeed Labs uses concentrated drops to boost the moisture content of existing products with added hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Mix two or three drops into existing serum or liquid foundation. ($25; indeedlabs.com)
Photo: Indeed Labs