Hey everyone! Let's talk winter in Upstate NY. Snow. Slush. Wind. Salt. Ice. It's basically been permafrost since January. And don't forget, the heat is blasting, fireplaces, pellet stoves and wood stoves are also burning 'round the clock. It's a recipe for disaster for your skin! If you're sensitive like me, your rosacea is in full swing and there is not enough lip balm on the planet to ease your cracked lips. How do you offset the winter skin madness? It's not easy but it is very straightforward if you have the right tools.
First: Hydrate. Yea, I know, sounds simple, but if you're not drinking enough water you'll be off to a rough start. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated, so stick with your sippy cup all day long. Your skin, hair and nails will appreciate it.
Second: Quench your dry skin after that burning hot shower. I know you love to boil yourself for a solid 30 minutes in a hot shower or tub at the end of the day, but it's stripping you of every last drop of oil and moisture your skin has. My current favorite products are by Truly. Their Blueberry Kush CBD Body Lotion and Blueberry Kush Body Oil contain 300 mg of CBD and extract of 1000 blueberries! So, not only are your refreshed and covered with antioxidants, who doesn't love the natural anti-inflammatory properties of CBD? And it smells amazing! I love this as a part of my nighttime ritual. Use the lotion all over and the oil on the backs of you hands, feet, elbows and knees. Your skin will thank you in the morning.
Third: Now that your hydrated and lubed up, what are you using on your face, neck and chest? Have you been skipping sun block because it's winter? How's that mascne? I mean, who cares about the fine lines around my mouth when I've been wearing a mask for a year anyway? It's easy to fall prey to some less than savory habits during the pandemic, however, we can start looking at this crazy period in our history as a valuable time to get into a better routine. How about the perfect products to luxuriate in, so when it's time to kick the masks to the curb (and I hope and pray this happens at some point this year), you'll unveil a glowing and radiant you? I, for one, plan on emerging from this mess looking like a goddess, because let's face it, being holed up in the house in yoga pants and a fleece robe for a year makes everyone look like a wreck. My advice is to start with some very basic products that are the foundation of your routine, then add some fancy items down the line. So here it goes...
I use all the products from PCA Skin that we also sell in our office. After so many years of trial and error and many tubes and pump bottles ending up in the "skin care graveyard" in my bathroom, PCA Skin has hands down won my heart. And I'm not saying this to sell you product - seriously. It's medical grade, excellent ingredients, tons of research and development in the making and generous size containers. It is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way. Your skin is the largest organ in your body so you should treat it with only the good stuff. I recommend a cleanser that suits your skin needs (for dry, blemish-prone or normal type), toner, hydrating serum, retinol, daily moisturizer, nighttime mask and SPF. It may sound like a lot, but the whole shebang should only take you about 6 minutes. Really, I've timed myself and I use a few extra serums because, well, you know, this IS what I do for a living (ok, I lied, more than a few).
My regimen: I have sensitive skin with rosacea and I'm 51 years old (yikes! yes, I am). I use the Creamy Cleanser, Hydrating Toner, Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum, ExLinea Peptide Smoothing Serum, Dual Action Redness Relief and Sensitive Skin Retinol. Intermittently, I use the CliniCalm 1% if I've had a procedure or my face is raw from wearing an N95 mask for 12 hours and I use SPF50 year round every day of my life. I add HydraLuxe Moisturizer and Neck & Decollete Cream a few days a week as well. Oops, almost forgot, Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster for the chapped lips. It sounds exhausting, but it's really not. This is self care. My day usually starts at 5:15am and ends around 10pm. The hours in between are spent caring for my patients whether it's in my office or at the hospital in the ICU. If I can't take 6 minutes for myself twice a day to care for my skin, then I'm doing something wrong in my life. I've made my skin care routine a ritual. It calms me down after a long and miserable COVID-filled day and it energizes me in the morning to take on new challenges and be creative in my office. PCA Skin has a serum for every skin concern and condition, from acne prone to mature and dry, you will find a product that you will love, I guarantee it. If budget is an issue, my next go to is The Balance Set by The Ordinary. It's only $29.00 and you can add a peptide product and SPF for a little extra oompf. Their products are clean and clinical and they are famed for the biochemistry behind their formulations. You won't be disappointed. Another line I adore is Tatcha. More expensive than The Ordinary but less than PCA Skin, Tatcha streamlines their product lines with easy to follow regimens. They are based on Japanese beauty ingredients and are really quite amazing. You can sample their products by trying one of their Starter Ritual Sets and see how you like the products. Hint, the Rice Polish is amazing. Ultimately, I urge you to find a brand or combination that works for your skin and your budget.
Fourth: Now for the fun part. You have a skin care routine down and you're feeling wonderful, what else can you do? There are a myriad of treatments you can indulge in while it's still winter and you're not in direct sunlight. I recommend this time of year for resurfacing, either a peel, microneedling or laser. Peels can be light, like an enzymatic peel for sensitive skin to a deep 6% Retinol or combo TCA, Lactic Acid and ALA based peel which is highly active and not for the feint of heart. Follow any of these with quenching and healing masks and serums recommended by your provider. PCA Skin makes a lovely post-procedure kit that I give all of my patients to use after peels and microneedling. Any good quality provider should give you recommendations on products to use after heavy resurfacing to speed healing - we all have our favorites :) Bye-bye fine lines, hyperpigmentation and bumpy texture, hello smooth and radiant.
Sixth: Plumping and smoothing. Topical HA's are a literal Godsend, but, sometimes we need a little more. Hyaluronic acid based lip fillers like Restylane Kysse not only provide volume, but also provide improved texture and hydration to even the driest, most chapped lips. Because of the hydrophilic nature of HA, water is constantly being drawn into the lips which maintains volume as well as moisture. You will literally use less lip balm if you have lip filler. Again, this is a good time to have your lips done, you're wearing a mask so you can cover up all those bruises and swelling during your healing time, lol.
So friends, take your winter break to engage in some self care. When it's time to crawl out of the snow and lock down, your skin will be healthy and you will have given yourself some love. Get that #galvanicglow and live the #galvaniclife.