Winter Skin Blues? Try These Moisture-Replenishing Facial Products
Between the incessant Seattle-like rain, the New Hampshire-esque snowstorms that have shut down the public transportation system in cities like Philadelphia, and the bone-chilling cold everywhere from Chicago to New York City, this winter has seemed particularly bitter and positively endless. Even Florida and California haven’t been spared, which is just uncanny. Adding insult to injury, Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog weather psychic (so to speak), saw his shadow on February 2nd, signaling six more weeks of winter, which means there’s no sign of this weather easing up any time soon. That furry, stinky, groundhog bastard! Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not his fault, but I have to take my hostility out on someone and so Phil is persona non grata right about now.Then again, if you live on the East Coast or even the Midwest, it doesn’t take a weather guru for you to know the chilly days are far from over.
Since we probably won’t be seeing amenable weather until April or May (sigh), we need to prepare accordingly and tend to our skin, which tends to suffer acutely during these dry, cold winter months. The products here will help restore moisture to your skin and calm any existing irritation (such as itchiness and flaking), taking you through the winter season and straight into swimsuit season.
Enjoy and stay tuned for tomorrow’s run-down of the body moisturizers you need to usher you through the remaining winter days.
Intraceuticals Hydration Gel, $89. Visit Intraceuticals.com
This is the ultimate pick-me-up for dull, dehydrated skin. When you apply a few pumps of the gel onto your face, you’ll feel a delicious cool tingle as the moisture penetrates your pores. Hyaluronic acid helps to promote collagen synthesis and make skin appear younger and more supple, while green tea extract soothes and calms the skin. I love how quickly the skin drinks up the gel — you literally feel like you’re quenching its thirst.
Patricia Wexler M.D. Anti-Aging Sensitive Skin Starter Kit, $39.50. Visit BathAndBodyWorks.com
Patricia Wexler M.D. is my homegirl (okay, only in my head, but still!). She’s been at the forefront of revolutionary new MMPi technology which inhibit the production of the enzymes known as matrix matalloproteinases (MMPs), which can break down the skin matrix, the area where collagen and elastin thrive. There are multiple types of MMPs and some are vital in helping your body heal wounds and perform other functions, but a correlation has been found between high MMP levels and wrinkled or dun-damaged skin, which means regulating these levels is key. Wexler’s MMPi-20 technology seeks to do precisely that, which is why she’s become such a key player in the anti-aging skincare realm. What I love about this range of products is that it delivers all the benefits of Wexler’s anti-aging products but also caters to those of us with temperamental skin that is prone to irritation. The products feature ingredients like: Wexler’s Sym-Calming technology, derived from oat components that battle skin irritation; Sym-Relief Redness Reducing Complex, a blend of skin-calming ingredients like chamomile, bisabol and ginger; and Wexler’s Advantage Anti-Oxidant Complex, which features soothing antioxidants like clove and green tea. The star products in the line are the MMPi20 Comforting and Renewing Serum and the Soothing & Renewing Night Cream — if you’ve got to pick two products from the line, I’d suggest investing in these.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $24.50 for 1.7 fl. oz. jar and $46 for 4.2 fl. oz. jar. Visit Kiehls.com
This is like the ice cream cake of moisturizers — it’s a popular and somewhat obvious choice, and yet there are few things quite as savory. A relatively lightweight product, the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream keeps your skin hydrated and smooth throughout the day — even when you’re stomping around town and arctic-like gusts of wind are slapping you in the face. Apparently, back in 2005, Kiehl’s chemists tested their new formula on a group of Kiehl’s-sponsored climbers who were venturing to scale the peaks rising from Greenland’s glaciers and, to their delight, the mountain climbers discovered that the cream kept their skin protected even under the harsh conditions to which they were exposed. Featuring ingredients like Antarcticine (a glycoprotein sourced from Antarctica), avocado oil, squalane, and Imperata Cylindrica (a plant native to Australia that endures in even the most arid climates), the cream will keep your skin looking smooth and healthy whether you’re headed to the desert or the glaciers.
Lierac Paris Concentré Mésolift Toning Radiance Serum, $60, and Lierac Paris Creme Mésolift Anti-Aging Radiance Cream, $54. Visit Lierac-USA.com
Forget Batman and Robin or Starsky and Hutch — this is the ultimate duo. The Lierac Paris Concentré Mesolift Toning Radiance Serum features: vitamins A, C, E, B5 and B6, which provide antioxidant protection (especially vitamin E) and brighten the complexion (particularly vitamin C); hyaluronic acid, which helps to preserve collagen and to ensure that moisture penetrates the cell membrane; and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese, all of which help to regulate cellular turnover and stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and keratin. Just a few drops of the Sunny Delight-orange serum will make your skin look more vibrant. Next, for a real 1-2 punch, apply the Lierac Paris Creme Mésolift, which includes the same ingredients as the serum, but also incorporates moisturizing apricot butter and lime wax, as well as Alpha-Hydroxy-Acids that gently slough away dead skin cells, activate collagen production, and fortify the skin membrane. Not only do these products help your skin look smoother and softer, but they diminish the appearance of visible aging signs, restore elasticity to the skin, and brighten the complexion. You’ll witness such a nice glow that it will feel like someone switched a light on inside of you.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Soothing & Fortifying 24Hr Hydrating Care, $27. Visit VichyUSA.com
As soon as I tried this extremely lightweight moisturizer, I felt like crying out, “Where have you bee all my life?” As you massage it on your face, you’ll feel the comforting rush of Vichy Thermal Spa Water penetrating each and every pore, along with microscopic grainy particles (a combination of minerals found inside volcanic rocks) that gently exfoliate and which are easily absorbed by the skin. I love the consistency of the moisturizer, which never feels heavy, oily, or cake-y, and how it leaves the skin feeling velvety soft.
AmorePacific Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System, $35. Visit Sephora.com
Spraying water on your face won’t do much to alleviate dry skin since it won’t ensure that the moisture penetrates the skin cell membrane, but just a couple of spritzes of the AmorePacific Mosture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System will, in fact, hydrate skin. Featuring bamboo sap, ginger root extract, ginseng root extract, and a bevy of minerals such as copper, zinc, and calcium gluconates, this mist not only delivers moisture but helps ensure moisture retention. Genius!
PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator, $28. Visit Dermstore.com or call 1.877.PCA.SKIN to find a practice that carries PCA Skin Products.
If you’re looking for a lovely nighttime cream, consider this creamy moisturizer, which contains shea butter, hydrolyzed wheat protein, olive fruit oil, and sweet almond fruit extract. The consistency reminds me of vanilla yogurt — it’s creamy without being greasy or chunky, and glides onto the skin easily. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll understand why they call it “beauty sleep.”
Weleda Everon Face Balm, $15. Visit Usa.Weleda.com
The word “balm” can be kind of frightening since we associate it with thick, medicinal treatments (like Tiger’s Balm, for example), but there’s nothing to be scared of when it comes to Weleda’s Everon Face Balm, which features moisturizing sweet almond oil and beeswax, which creates a protective shield around your skin. It’s a product I’d reserve for the winter season, when inclement weather is an everyday occurrence, but it does work wonders within that context.
Relastin Ultra Emollient Zinc Firming Complex, $99. Visit Relastin.com
Remember how infatuated I was with the Relastin Eye Silk? Well, that was just me dipping my little toes into the Relastin ocean, my friends. You see, the marquee Relastin product is the Ultra Emollient Zinc Firming Complex, which aims to rejuvenate and moisturize skin. The product makes a correlation between zinc and the production of collagen and elastin — according to Dr. Jacob Waugh, the Chief Scientific Officer of Revance Therapeutics, Inc. (the company that produces Relastin), an increase in the concentration of zinc leads to a corresponding increase in elastin synthesis. The Ultra Emollient Zinc Firming Complex, then, helps to kick start elastin production while also containing antioxidant-rich Vitamin E and C and skin-firming peptides.
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser, $6.99, and Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15, $14.09. Available at national, food, drug and mass merchandisers. Visit Drugstore.com
Normally, I shun cream cleansers from my bathroom cabinet — it’s probably completely psychosomatic, of course, but I tend to feel like creamy cleansers leave a film-like residue on my skin, and it gives me a serious case of the “yucks.” My experience with Aveeno’s Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser, however, was entirely different. For one, once you rinse it off, your skin feels squeaky clean (if you use it in the shower, you might literally hear a squeak or two). The first time you use it to wash your face, you might feel a rather pleasantly soothing cooling sensation. Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, both the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser and the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer rely on the key ingredient feverfew, a perennial herb related to chamomile that helps relieve redness, soothe irritation, and protect the skin from free radicals. If you’re having an adverse reaction to something you ate (or maybe something you touched), I’d suggest using these STAT, since they will in fact alleviate the symptoms you encounter.
DermaQuest Skin Therapy Hydrating Gel Mask, $59.50. Visit SkincareRX.com
Unlike most masks, which are thick and creamy and tend to harden after a few minutes, the DermaQuest Skin Therapy Hydrating Gel Mask covers the skin with a clear and ultra-thin coating. The mask doesn’t dry or harden, but after allowing it to work its magic for 5-10 minutes, you’ll notice your complexion feels softer and looks smoother thanks to ingredients like moisturizing sodium hyaluronate and skin calming willow bark extract, aloe leaf extract, green tea extract, and lavender water.
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream, $38 for 1.7 oz. tube and $54 for 3.4 oz. Visit Dermalogica.com
Ideal for dry or mature skin, this complex formula features such ingredients as: moisturizing hyaluronic acid; antioxidant-rich grape seed extract; silk proteins; cooling and soothing cucumber extract and aloe leaf extract; silk amino acids, egg yolk extract, which is said to help clarify skin, removing excess oil; bitter orange extract; and more. The one caveat: this product contains Vitamin A (retinol) which can help reduce the appearance of visible aging signs, but which can function as an irritant for those with hyperactive, sensitive skin.
Intraceuticals Contour Eye Gel, $149. Visit Intraceuticals.com
Dew drops wouldn’t feel as soothing and cooling as this delicate gel, which hydrates the eye area and reduces puffiness with its mix of vitamin E, green tea, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. Your skin absorbs it almost as soon as your fingertips pat the epidermis, which is absolutely remarkable. If you’ve had a rough night and you apply some of this around your eyes, no one will know how little sleep you’ve gotten.
Liz Earle Superskin Eye & Lip Treatment, $55. Visit Us.LizEarle.com
As soon as you apply this botanical treatment around the eye area, you’ll feel the skin tighten a bit as it attacks those pesky lines and wrinkles with its blend of pear seed extract, West African shea nuts, white lupin protein, pomegranate extract, quince extract, cranberry seed oil, borage oil, vitamin E, and rosehip oil. You can also apply it along the outer corners of the mouth, where wrinkles tend to form to give you the despised “prune mouth” effect, and watch as the treatment smooths those ridges and crevices right out.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado, $25.50. Visit Kiehls.com
This eye cream has ranked among my favorites for many years now — the fatty acids found in the avocado oil and the shea butter help to soften and hydrate the area underneath and around the eyes, while vitamins A and E provide antioxidant protection. Not only is it effective, but it never seems to get into your eyes (a common problem with eye creams), which makes it all the more lovable.
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Lip Butter in Dark Chocolate & Peppermint, $2.39. Visit Drugstore.com
Talk about bang for your buck! For less that $5, this lip butter moisturizes lips with a blend of cocoa butter and vitamin E (which also protects against free radicals) and titillates your senses with chocolate-y scents such as Dark Chocolate & Cherry (my favorite since it reminds me of a Mon Cheri chocolate) and Dark Chocolate & Peppermint.
Dermalogica Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex, $26. Visit SkincareRX.com
This lip treatment smooths and hydrates your pout thanks to vitamin E, avocado oil, shea butter, hyaluronic acid, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and cocoa seed butter, but what I love the most about it is its clever applicator. Shaped like a lipstick tube, the Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex features a slanted perforated tip so that, when you twist the bottom, the product spurts out of each hole like tiny strings of pasta. You then glide the lip treatment, which has a petroleum jelly-esque texture, over your lips and you’re good to go! There’s no mess, no having to dip fingers into some tube and possibly transfer germs, or any other sloppy application mishap.
PCA Skin Peptide Lip Therapy, $20. Visit Dermstore.com
I cringe to write the words “lip plumping” since I tend to associate the phrase with the vast array of lip glosses that promise to give women Angelina-esque pouts and yet make them suffer through a really painful, burning tingling sensation to get these results. But, in the case of PCA Skin’s Peptide Lip Therapy, fuller lips are a viable option without any of the accompanying pain. Ingredients include: a BMX Complex, which includes a blend of tomato and barley that attacks flakiness; hydrating shea butter and aloe leaf juice; bisabolol, a chamomile extract with anti-inflammatory benefits; safflower seed oil, castor oil, and sunflower seed oil, which contain omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that help the skin retain moisture; and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, which stimulates collagen production. When you apply it on your lips, you’ll notice they smooth out a bit, and those ridges and wrinkles flatten out to create an even, smooth surface.
Bach Rescue Balm, $5.95. Visit NelsonsStore.com
This paraben-free lip balm targets dry, rough, cracked lips with a blend of five plants: Malus pumila (known as Paradise Apple), Helianthemum nummularium (the scientific name of the Rockrose, an evergreen trailing plant with bright yellow blossoms), Clematis vitalba (known as Old Man’s Beard, a flowering shrub), Impatiens glandulifera (commonly referred to as Ornamental Jewelweed), Prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum), and Ornithogalum umbellatum (known by such names as Star-of-Bethlehem and Grass Lily). These particular plants are rarely used in skincare products, so there’s no scientific evidence of their healing properties, but the lip balm does replenish lip moisture. That being said, it takes a second to get used to the balm’s consistency — when you first dip your finger into the lip balm pot, you’ll notice it’s extremely hard and you may have to dig your fingernail in there to scrape some of the product out. Once you apply it on your pout though, your mouth will curve to form a nice, happy smile.
** The products discussed in this piece were submitted as press samples for review and editorial consideration by each company’s publicity department or representative.