How to Keep Your Skin From Flaking Off This Winter

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GET A SUPERCHARGED MOISTURISER
Did we mention it’s cold out? That means you’re going to want a superhydrating moisturiser. The best ones include one or more of these hydrating ingredients: glycerin (which pulls water from the air into your skin), ceramides (good fats that trap water below the skin’s surface), and hyaluronic acid (molecules that swell up with water to—bonus!—plump the lines that are more obvious when skin is dehydrated). We like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel with hyaluronic acid, CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion AM with SPF 30 and ceramides, and (for the body) Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturiser with glycerin. If you moisturise your skin when it’s slightly damp, the formula can pull in some of that water that’s on top of your skin, and you’ll look even dewier.

BETTER YET, DOUBLE DOWN
Here’s a cool trick for preventing dry patches: Layer a creamy moisturiser over a hydrating serum, so more of the serum’s powerhouse ingredients will penetrate your skin. That’s because some of the ingredients in your skin-care products (even expensive formulas) evaporate if you don’t put something else on top. We like Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Serum and L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Advanced Skin Repair because both feel light, even when layered under creams.

POP A PILL
It sounds too good to be true, but taking a daily 1,000-milligram flaxseed-oil supplement can make your skin hydrated and smoother and can help prevent wrinkles in the long run. And if you’d like a quick science lesson, here’s how it works: Flaxseed oil is a good source of omega-3s, which the skin uses to produce its own moisturising oils. And unlike omega-3-rich fish-oil supplements, a flaxseed-oil pill doesn’t taste like salmon.

EXFOLIATE (BUT DON’T GO TOO CRAZY)
If you don’t exfoliate, dead skin cells sit on the surface, making your complexion dull and preventing even the best moisturisers from penetrating. But if you OD on exfoliating—which is totally possible—your skin can get irritated, red, and ironically enough, drier than ever. There are a few ways around that. You can use a gentle sugar scrub. Since sugar dissolves as it exfoliates, it’s almost impossible to overdo it (Fresh Sugar Face Polish smells amazing). Or you can try a lactic acid peel; lactic acid hydrates as it exfoliates. (Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Lactic Acid Cleanser & Mask has a way of making skin more radiant after just one use.) But whatever you choose, stick to once a week; even gentle formulas can backfire if you use them too often.

STEAM THINGS UP
If you don’t already have a humidifier for your bedroom, go order one (we’ll wait). The main reason winter stinks for your skin is the air, and central heating, and the fires we all love, are very drying. But if you add moisture back to the air, your skin will look better when you wake up. And, side note, so will your hair, since dry air also makes flyaways, well, flyaway-ier.

MAKE QUICK WORK OF DRY PATCHES
You know those tiny flakes that are practically microscopic but can still totally ruin the look of foundation? Makeup artist Tom Pecheux has perfected a method for removing them: Gently rub a little bit of a hydrating facial oil, like Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil or Colbert M.D. Illumino Face Oil, over the patch. It’ll remove flakes without making skin irritated and red.

SLEEP IN A FACE MASK
It only sounds messy. The new overnight masks or sleep masks (originally from Korea) are lightweight and tacky, so they stick to your skin instead of your pillow, says Doris Day, a dermatologist in New York City. “Skin can lose a lot of water while you sleep; an overnight mask is designed to help it retain moisture,” says Day. Try Olay Regenerist Luminous Brightening Sleeping Gel Mask or Dr. Jart+ Premium Firming Sleeping Mask.

DON’T STOP WEARING SUNSCREEN
Sound superrandom? Consider this: “Even in winter, UV rays can prevent skin from holding onto moisture,” says Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City. (Plus, snow actually reflects more UV rays—intensifying their effects—than sand does. Crazy, right?) So you’d be smart to put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day; we like Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 and Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturiser SPF 50.

SWITCH CLEANSERS
If you’re low-maintenance or straight-up too lazy (no judgment) to overhaul your routine, just switch to a creamy, hydrating cleanser, like Dove DermaSeries Ultra Caring Gentle Cream Face Cleanser or Vichy Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 One Step Cleanser. Even if you forget to use moisturiser on occasion—but only on occasion, right?—”the right cleanser can keep you hydrated for a day,”.

SOURCEAllure
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