Cosmetic dermatologist Natalie M. Curcio, M.D., MPH offers her go-to picks for achieving an-at home glow this season.
- Gentle Cleansers: In the winter, opt for a more gentle cleanser that is hydrating, but still cleanses the skin and removes makeup, mascara and surface debris from the skin.
- Exfoliating Cleansers: Mix in an exfoliating cleanser two times per week. Choose a formula with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and/or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs include glycolic, citric, and lactic acid. They are used to remove dead skin cells. Products containing AHAs include cleansers that can regularly prepare your skin to better absorb other products and stimulates the growth of smooth, evenly pigmented new skin.
- Masks: As for at-home beauty routines, nothing beats a nourishing and exfoliating mask. I suggest incorporating one into your skincare routine one to three times a week. Look for ones that contain natural fruit extracts like pumpkin, papaya, and pomegranate for enzymatic exfoliation.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that must be topically applied to the skin for maximal efficacy. It is a potent antioxidant that scavenges free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules that break down skin cells and cause wrinkles), such as those found in environmental pollutants and after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. In fact, vitamin C is particularly effective when used in conjunction with vitamin E. Vitamin C is also a critical factor for collagen synthesis.
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA): Apply under your favorite moisturizer. HA is a sugar naturally found in our skin that holds water. Adding additional topical HA fortifies the skin’s natural barriers to help bring moisture to the surface of the skin. As the skin is more hydrated, it feels tighter and looks smoother, improving fines lines.
- Skin Brighteners: Winter is the perfect time to work on those brown spots that you may have accumulated over the past summer. Skin brighteners are used to improve the appearance of brown spots, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and other skin discoloration. In the past, there were only products with hydroquinone, which can lighten areas around the dark spots and its brightening effects are only temporary. Newer, safer skin brighteners are available without the risks of hypopigmentation.
- Defensin Creams/Serums - Defensins are molecules released by neutrophils (immune cells) that stimulate a master stem cell in the skin to make new basal cells in the epidermis (top layer of skin) to grow and then cause a new epidermis to grow. Therefore, with a new “fresh” top layer of skin, people see global visual improvements in fine lines, wrinkles, texture, sagging, pigment, and pore size.