No matter how many aspects you love about the advent of cooler weather, there’s one unfortunate side effect that no one loves: dry, itchy, bumpy skin. This can put a damper on some of the season — after all, it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re resisting the urge to scratch, enduring the pain caused by raw, exposed patches, or trying to cover up problem areas so no one can see.
Conditions typically worsen as temperatures drop and winds grow stronger, and can become more problematic if not treated. That’s why we’ve tasked dermatologists with sharing some of their personal picks for relieving and reversing even the most severe of cases. Here, they break down their go-to ingredients and products for achieving head-to-toe hydration, even on a budget (spoiler: they’re all under $25).
Marguerite Germain, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in South Carolina, recommends Vanicream® Moisturizing Skin Cream ($7) for those with sensitive skin, as it’s free of fragrances, dyes, and preservatives. “Its gentle ingredients help restore and maintain skin’s moisture levels and can even help soothe eczema and psoriasis,” she says. For optimal hydrating results, she recommends applying body moisturizers within one minute of getting out of the shower, when pores are still open and better able to absorb moisturizing products.
[Editor’s note: As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment for a medical condition.]
The rich, fragrance-free Eucerin® Intensive RepairTM Lotion ($9) contains natural moisturizers, along with alpha-hydroxy acids, to help bring tough, parched skin back to life. “Alpha-hydroxy acids work to exfoliate and remove dead skin buildup, helping to eliminate roughness and flakiness, and leaving you with a healthy glow,” explains Jenny Liu, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Minneapolis. She cautions that the product shouldn’t be used in conjunction with retinoids. “It may sting upon contact and will increase the risk of sunburns, therefore sunscreen should be worn in the morning,” she adds.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
Dr. Sapna Palep, MD, of Spring Street Dermatology℠ in New York, says CeraVe® SA CreamTM for Rough & Bumpy Skin ($17) delivers on its promise to help treat parched skin. “It contains salicylic acid to exfoliate and soften dry, rough skin, along with lactic acid to renew the skin’s surface,” she explains. “It also has three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) to help restore the protective skin barrier.” In cold weather, keeping that moisture barrier intact is essential!
The hero ingredient in Neutrogena® Hydro BoostTM Hydrating Body Gel Cream with Hyaluronic Acid ($8) is hyaluronic acid, which Ronald Moy, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of DNARenewalTM, says helps to attract and lock in moisture from the environment. “Not only does it retain moisture, but it’s non-greasy and delivers better results than any expensive moisturizer I’ve tried,” he admits. “It works well if used nightly for moderately dry skin, and can be reapplied throughout the day as needed for those with severely dry skin.”
The non-greasy Lubriderm® Advanced TherapyTM Lotion with Vitamin E and B5 ($8) is among Dr. Moy’s dry skin go-tos. “It contains essential lipids found naturally in the skin, along with vitamins E and B5, for replenishing moisture barriers and providing added nourishment,” he adds. Try slicking it on before bed to seal in serious hydration while you sleep, so you can wake up to soft, smooth skin.
The Skinfix® Eczema+TM Targeted Body Balm ($24) was formulated with those who suffer from eczema and dermatitis in mind, so you know it’s got to be hydrating. The product contains colloidal oatmeal for calming irritation, sweet almond oil for relieving itching, and zinc oxide for locking in moisture. “It’s a rich all-over moisturizing body cream that relieves conditions caused by dryness, leaving skin feeling soft and soothed,” says Kavita Mariwalla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. The balm also has Sephora’s® clean seal of approval and over 1,500 “loves” from Sephora customers.
If you have eczema and are looking for relief, pick up a tube of Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream ($10). “It has licorice extract and oatmeal to help hydrate, moisturize, and calm the skin at the same time,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Capital Laser & Skincare℠ in Maryland. “There is good science to show that it helps to ease dry, itchy skin, and with regular use, can [help] decrease flare-ups of itchy eczema.” Consider your skin soothed.
Drs. Marguerite Germain and Elizabeth Tanzi are paid Allergan® consultants.
Dr. Kavita Mariwalla is a member of the Skinfix® Scientific Advisory Board.
Product prices may vary from the time this article was written.
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