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Winter is kind of a beast to our skin. As we trek to work or shovel snow off the pavement, the cold air and harsh wind can leave our faces feeling raw and red. Add the stress of the holidays along with temperature changes from moving indoors to outdoors, and it’s basically a recipe for our skin to protest.
So if you’ve always wanted to get a facial, winter is the best time to try them. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can be lower during the winter (depending on where you live), which is great. Some ingredients, such as face acids, can increase photosensitivity and pigmentation with sun exposure.
Monthly winter facials are also a great “treat yourself” experience to help:
- restore moisture
- reset your skin
- aid in circulation
Get the right facial and your skin will be as rejuvenated and glowing as if it were summer. Let’s look at the components in a facial that help your winter skin.
Our skin cells tend to turn over more slowly in winter. A light exfoliation treatment can help revitalize gray winter skin and help even out discoloration or pigmentation.
Winter time is also the perfect time to try a gentle peel, which requires you to stay out of the sun when possible. No biggie when it’s cold and dark out! Just curl up with hot chocolate and stay indoors instead. A peel can do wonders in brightening your complexion and helping you feel refreshed.
Pro-tip: Try a light glycolic peel for rejuvenation or a salicylic peel if you’re acne-prone.
Typically in cold temperatures, water evaporates out of your skin, sometimes leaving it dry and flaky. This can happen even with a solid moisturizing routine in place at home.
A hydrating mask provided in a medical-grade facial can reduce redness associated with irritated, dry winter skin (and even plump the skin to remove and smooth fine lines). A hydrator with concentrated hyaluronic acid goes a long way in helping your skin hang onto water, firming skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Pro-tip: Use cult-favorite ingredient hyaluronic acid to keep your skin plump throughout winter.
In addition to giving you a fantastic instant glow, many facial treatments seal in a layer of vitamins and antioxidants that helps protect your skin from the elements. Antioxidant blends can help reverse the free radical damage we accumulate with sun exposure and pollution.
Many antioxidants also help reduce inflammation, improve cell circulation, and encourage the growth of new skin cells.
Pro-tip: Get a serum or oil packed with antioxidants to help seal in the important, active ingredients.
A serum with growth factors can help reduce the signs of age by stimulating collagen production, improving skin tone and texture. Natural substances made by our bodies, aka growth factors, help rejuvenate skin cells — repairing damage and increasing firmness and elasticity.
Ask your facialist if they incorporate antioxidant and growth factor serums that get sealed in by a soothing and protective hydrator.
Pro-tip: Make sure you tell your facialist what products you use! They’ll be able to tailor their products to suit your skin.
We hope you take advantage of a massage while you’re getting a facial, too. You deserve the self-care! If you don’t have time or the cash for a facial appointment, check out our guide to doing chemical peels at home or try our editor’s picks for at-home masks that work.
Just remember: Even if the sun “isn’t out,” remember to use sunscreen to avoid damage. UV rays still get through clouds. They may be even stronger if the clouds are reflective. Keep up the moisturizer and sunscreen even in the winter, and your skin and future you will be thankful!
Dr. Morgan Rabach is a board-certified dermatologist who owns a private practice and a clinical instructor in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. She graduated from Brown University and earned her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. Follow her practice on Instagram.