We've heard the warning before: "Winter is coming." In fact, we've heard it for about seven seasons of Game of Thrones. Still, not once during Jon Snow's defense against the White Walkers did we see him ready his skin for the inevitably harsh winds and icy climate past the Wall. Luckily, we're planning on being far more prepared this winter than Snow was.
It's time to face the facts: The moment the temperatures change — from a moderately cold winter to a polar vortex — your skin suffers first. "As temperatures fall and the air gets drier, your skin pays the price," says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. In frigid conditions the skin is less able to protect itself. "This can lead to cracks in the outer layer of skin, loss of hydration, and ultimately, inflammation," he says.
So, how do you combat the sort of climate that leaves your skin dull, dehydrated, and defeated? You need a major skin-care upgrade. Both Dr. Zeichner and dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor, MD, suggest using thicker moisturizers equipped to protect the skin's barrier. Another skin saver? Kinder, gentler cleansers that hydrate (rather than harsh exfoliating or foam formulations), since skin irritation can increase along with dryness in colder weather.
Finally, an effort to hyper-hydrate and soothe the skin should never come at the cost of ditching daily sun protection. Sure, you may not be seeing as much of the sun, but UVA rays — the aging and cancer-causing ones that penetrate through windows and clouds, and into the deepest layer of skin — are still kicking, all day, every day.
As you continue to battle the elements, here’s how to keep your skin glowing.