By Madaline DonnellyLast Friday, I went up to the very glamorous Chanel offices on N.Y.C.’s 57th Street—seriously, I felt like I was IN an oversize Chanel perfume bottle—to preview a new line of top-secret products (more on that later). While there, I met dermatologist Amy Wechsler (who also happens to be one of just two doctors in the U.S. who are board-certified in both psychiatry and dermatology, just FYI). With a nor’easter blowing through town, I asked her for help on battling dry skin. Below, her advice:
Take a shorter, slightly cooler shower.
I know, its wintertime. You wake up, you’re freezing, and you have to hop in the shower. So you jack up the water temperature and don’t exactly rush to get out. The problem? “The hotter the water, the more drying it will be,” says Wechsler. “Instead, steam up the bathroom for a minute—without wasting too much water, of course—and don’t let the water get scalding hot.” Keep your shower time under ten minutes.
Product placement, people!
“Unless you’re working in the fields or have just been exercising, chances are your forearm isn’t dirty,” says Wechsler. So there’s no need to attack it with dehydrating antibacterial body wash, for instance. And if you have just been working in the fields? “Make sure your soap is mild (like Dove Sensitive Skin or Cetaphil) and use your hands instead of a washcloth.”
“Right after you get out of the shower and towel off—before you even leave the bathroom—that’s the perfect time to moisturize, because your pores are still open,” says Wechsler. The lotion will absorb in one to two minutes, and then you’re free to get dressed.
Humidifiers: Not just for babies.
“The problem with winter is a real decrease in humidity. On top of that, our heating systems suck all the remaining water out of the air, and our skin gets really dry,” says Wechsler. The solution: humidifiers. Just make sure to fill them with cold water so bacteria can’t grow inside.
Change up your routine.
“Most people can’t get away with the same skin-care routine year-round,” says Wechsler. “You want to cut down on scrubbing and cut down on toning if you’re dry. If you moisturize once a day in summer, moisturize twice a day in winter.” And pay attention to ingredients. Anything that could be drying (the big ones are alpha- and betahydroxy acids and things like beads) should be avoided.