Dry winter skin seemsÂ as inevitable asÂ catchingÂ a seasonal cold. But it doesn't have to be that way! Keeping the skin on your faceÂ soft andÂ vibrantÂ through the chilly months starts withÂ howÂ you wash it. A few tweaks to your cleansing routine can make all the difference, saysÂ Francesca Fusco, MD, of Wexler Dermatology in New York City. Here, she points out the mistakes we're all making at the sink, and more importantly, how to fix them.
You're using the wrongÂ cleanser
Come cold weather, you need a hydrating formula, says Dr. Fusco. Hydrating cleansers are gentle, and don't disrupt the skin barrier, helping to keep it moisturized. We like Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18; glossier.com). The name describes its exact texture. And it hasÂ a subtle rose scent that helps calm both your skin and your racingÂ mind. Use it on a dry or damp face, and splash warm water to rinse for seriously smooth skin that feelsÂ squeaky clean.
You're washing your whole face
If you haveÂ typical combination skinâwith some greasy spotsÂ and othersÂ dry as a desertâa one-size-fits-all regimen is not for you. In the morning when you don't have much grime to get rid of, tryÂ using a cleansing wipe only on yourÂ T-zone, suggests Dr. Fusco. That way you canÂ avoid stripping your drier spots ofÂ the little oil they do have. Yes To Cucumber Soothing Facial Towelettes ($5; drugstore.com) smell yummy, and will leave you feeling refreshed, not sticky. In the evening, useÂ a sensitive skin cleanser all over and follow with a wipe that hasÂ witch hazel (a gentle de-greaser) on the oily T-zone.
You're exfoliating chapped skin
On windy, wintry days when your skin feels raw,Â avoid particulate scrubs (think sugar scrubs) and cleansers that containÂ salicylic acid (for breakouts) or alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid (a common ingredient in chemical peels). These could end up irritating your skin even more, Dr. Fusco warns. InsteadÂ consider a oil facial cleanser, whichÂ can help heal raw skin. TryÂ bareMinerals Oil Obsessed Total Cleansing Oil ($30; bareescentuals.com). It starts as oil, but with a little water transforms into a nourishing, hydratingÂ cream.
You've never tried micellar water
These no-rinse cleansers containÂ tiny oil particles thatÂ draw gunk out ofÂ your poresÂ and dissolve itâno H2OÂ necessary.Â They're aÂ great option in the morning or after the gym, says Dr.Â Fusco. Garnier's Micellar Bi-Phase Water ($7; target.com) gently melts away makeup (even waterproof mascara) without drying effects. But if you'reÂ wearing a full face of makeup, or several layers of SPF lotion, a traditional facial cleanser isÂ your best bet.
You're washing twice a day
ChancesÂ are, you're over-cleansing. If you washedÂ at bedtime, a simple splash of water in the a.m.Â is adequate,Â Dr. Fusco says. After all, whatever products you appliedÂ at bedtimeÂ are still doing their thing and provide an extra boost when you layer your morning products on top. But if you don't want to quitÂ your morning cleanse, tryÂ a few swipesÂ ofÂ a cotton pad dampened with micellar water, or use a non-sudsy milk cleanser.Â Korres' Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cleanser ($26; sephora.com) is soothing with antibacterial ingredients like amaranth seed extra and honeysuckle.Â And remember, when you do cleanse, be sure to useÂ warm water, not hot, which can be irritating to sensitive and rosacea-prone skin, adds Dr.Â Fusco.