How to Protect and Perfect Your Skin This Winter

Emerge from this disgusting winter with your skin looking dewy and healthy. A dermatologist talks us through it, plus all the best products out there, no matter what your budget.
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Emerge from this disgusting winter with your skin looking dewy and healthy. A dermatologist talks us through it, plus all the best products out there, no matter what your budget.
Backstage at Valentino Haute Couture

Backstage at Valentino Haute Couture

The weather outside is frightful, but that doesn’t mean your skin can’t still be delightful. No, seriously. Despite frigid temperatures, below zero wind chills, and dry indoor heat, you can make sure your skin stays dewy and healthy for the rest of this seemingly never-ending winter.

We chatted with Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist, about how to keep your skin healthy and hydrated, so that when spring finally comes, you won’t look like a dried-out fig.

“Skin hydration is important to reduce wrinkles and improve skin laxity,” Dr. Frank told us. “When skin is dry, wrinkles are much more apparent.” OK, we’re convinced.

Click through to get more of Dr. Frank’s recommendations, as well as the best serums, moisturizers, eye creams, and exfoliators out there now.

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Exfoliation:

Dr. Frank says exfoliation one of the most important things you can do--but don’t go overboard: Twice a week is enough, or less if you live in a windy climate. If your skin is particularly dry, you can apply a very light layer of Aquaphor afterwards. {Ed. Note: Aquaphor is also the best lip balm ever. I’ve tried every one on the market but always come back to plain old Aquaphor.}

Clarisonic Cleansing System, $119: A favorite of many dermatologists, this is also one of Dr. Frank’s top recommendations for gentle exfoliation.

Boots No 7 Beautiful Skin Purifying Exfoliator, $9.99: You don’t need to go high end for really good exfoliation products. (We like to put our money into serums instead.)

MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator, $28: This is the sparkliest and best smelling volcanic ash you’ll ever use. It suds up a bit and will make you glow.

Ahava Facial Mud Exfoliator, $27: We've mentioned this scrub in the past, and we stand by the rec. It’s one of the best we’ve ever tried--gentle but effective.

Sephora Precision Pore Cleansing Pad, $5: Use your favorite gentle cleanser and this silicone pad for some instant mechanical skin exfoliation, no special products needed.

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Serums:

Serums are hot in skin care now. They’re meant to be applied after cleansing, but before moisturizing. If you have younger or oilier skin that doesn’t need so much hydration, serums can also be great as stand-alone moisturizers. “Serums can dramatically improve one’s skin, texture and tone,” Dr. Frank said. “A serum can have a stronger concentration of key ingredients which will penetrate the skin better.” He recommends using serums that contain a lightening agent to even out skin tone, or one that contains a fruit acid like grape, papaya, or grapefruit.

Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Concentrate, $195 : We’ve been using this serum (which is one of the brand's best sellers in Europe and Asia) religiously all winter. It’s meant to brighten things up, fade dark spots, and make skin tone more even.

Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum, $22.99: This drugstore staple contains concentrated amino-peptides and moisturizers to make your skin more supple. Comes fragrance free, a plus for sensitive skin.

SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Serum, $265: If you’re desperate for a skin fix, save up your pennies and go for the big guns. This potent serum provides major hydration. We’ve been milking ours ever since we met Cate Blanchett (the brand’s spokesperson) up close and saw how amazing she looks.

Clarins Vital Light Serum, $110: Another brightening potion from a French brand that knows skin care.

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum, $48: This one is a super hydrating serum made with organic grape water and antioxidants.

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Moisturizers:

Night time is the best time to apply heavier moisturizers. If you’re prone to dry skin or are in your later 30s and 40s when skin elasticity starts to give out, trade up to a heavier moisturizer in the winter time. You don’t have to spend a ton either--great ones come at all price points.

First Aid Beauty Dual Repair Face Cream, $44: A moisturizer that does a lot more than just hydrate, at a great price point, too. Contains antioxidants for protection, and oat derivative to soothe, and a vitamin C derivative for brightening.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream, $42: Fresh is known for its amazing soap and tinted lip balms, but it has a stellar skin care range, too. This is the latest offering--it promises intense hydration.

Garnier Skin Renew Radiance Moisture Cream, $12.99: Pure moisture without any fuss.

Ole Henriksen Truth Creme Advanced Hydration, $45: Another heavy duty cream that brightens with vitamin C extracts. This is one of our go-to faves.

Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Moisturizer, $60: Technically a day moisturizer (it has SPF 15), we are currently in love with this product. It’s loaded with hyaluronic acid, a moisturizer that can also temporarily plump out fine lines. (Plus the bottle color makes us happy.) Contains no actual dragon’s blood.

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Eye Creams:

If it’s possible to have an addiction to skin care products, then I am an eye cream junkie. I try every single one looking for the best fix. I’m currently using a rotation of eight--some for day, some for night, some for those days when it looks like I’ve been up til 4am downing margaritas. (But I would never do that because I hate tequila. Also alcohol is bad for your skin. Digression.) Dr. Frank recommends a heavier eye cream at night during the winter months. All eye creams are fairly hydrating, so it’s a matter of tweaking depending what kind of treatment ingredients you’re looking for.

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream, $43.50: The newest addition to the Repairwear line, this eye cream is rich and hydrating, but not greasy.

Kiehls Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, $42 : One of the newest products in the Kiehl’s stable, this rich creamy product feels as expensive as much more luxe brands we’ve tried.

Lancome Renergie Multiaction Eye, $78: The product is a full-on system. You get hydration, anti-aging ingredients, and undereye bag/dark circle treatment all in one.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $10: A drugstore option which has a lot of the same ingredients as more expensive options, antioxidants and vitamins. Moisturizes and treats fine lines.

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm, $65: This hydrating, soothing gem is from a company whose products are all the result of hardcore scientific research with microalgea. Yes, algea.