BBRRRR! A high of 16 today and a biting wind. My face feels dry and drawn and my limbs look positively reptilian. After 50, our estrogen loss results in dry and crepey skin from top to bottom. And winter’s cold combined with the dehydrating effect of hot air heat can leave one positively parched. Extra effort is called for.
Although our first instinct on coming in from the chill is the lure of a hot shower or bath, the heat of the water causes even further dryness. So best to limit time in the H2O and settle for warm, not hot water. I have found several great body washes to make this time productive.
My latest find is Huile de Douche Shower Oil from L’Occitane. Enriched with almond oil, it has a heavenly scent and upon contact with water, transforms into a foam that gently cleanses and hydrates the body. It also makes shaving a breeze.
I am also a fan of the True Blue Spa line from Bath and Body Works. All the products are loaded with shea butter and Vitamin E. I like to alternate the Super Rich Shower Cream with the Fresh Foaming Body Buff for exfoliation. It polishes the skin and then lavishes it with nourishing shea butter. I also use it anytime my hands look particularly needy and it leaves them smooth and soft. Avoid harsh deodorant soaps now in favor of super fatted ones like Dove or any found at natural food stores that contain olive, almond or coconut oil, all great hydrators. In winter, I switch up my facial cleanser to something creamy and foamy like Prescriptives All Clean (available online). Fragrance can be a deal killer for me, but this smells like ripe tangerines.
Our skin is thinner and more sensitive now and deserving of gentler care! Itchiness can be a problem, winter or not, so slathering on the body cream or oil is important. If you are REALLY uncomfortable, try the soothing benefits of colloidal oatmeal in a warm bath.
Always towel off gently, using a blotting rather than rubbing motion. And apply body oil or cream immediately while skin is warm and moist for better absorption. I love the Lay It On Thick cream that is part of the Tru Blue regimen but have also been experimenting with creams that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids for resurfacing dry skin. Try SkinCeuticals Body Retexurizing Treatment or AmLactin Ultra Triple Action Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy, a great drug store find. To stay replenished, give your arms, legs, hands and feet another dose at bedtime. And treat yourself to a paraffin treatment when you get a mani/pedi.
Keep a small tube of hand cream in your bag and apply several times daily. The cold is particularly harsh to hands where skin is so thin, as well as nails and cuticles. I like Aquaphor and L’Occitane Dry Skin Hand Cream. Use generously and work into cuticles to ward off dry, brittle nails and hangnails.
Dr. Jessica Wu, celebrity dermatologist, says that skin loses up to 25% more water in winter. She suggests staying hydrated by employing a humidifier, ingesting fluids and applying moisturizer before heading outdoors. I like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair with SPF 30 which does double duty.
Don’t forget those chapped lips. My saviors are Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment and Kiehl’s Lip Balm which doubles as a clear lip gloss. Use them alone or as a base for smoother lipstick application. For DIY lip exfoliation, mix 1/4 tsp. sugar with a dab of Aquaphor or Vaseline and rub over lips. They’ll thank you.
*Kudos: to Christie Brinkley who, at 60, made the cover of People in a swimsuit!! That’s progress, girls. And inspirational. Hotness and beauty have no age!
Original art by Johanna Bohoy