Dull, dry skin that lacks elasticity is a hallmark of wintertime weather. From cold, blustery winds to hot, dry air indoors, it’s no wonder our complexions can lose luster during these chilly months.
So what can we do to keep skin smooth, moisturized — dare we say glowing — this winter? Here are the key dermatological ingredients, along with some simple lifestyle tips, to maintain skin’s healthy elasticity all season long.
What does skin elasticity mean?
Let’s do a little test. Pinch a tiny bit of your skin: does it spring back right away, or does it take a second? That’s skin elasticity. Technically speaking, elasticity is a measure of your skin’s ability to bounce back after being stretched.
This quality comes courtesy of elastin: proteins made by the fibroblast cells contained within the skin’s dermal layer. Just like collagen, we naturally lose elastin as we get older — as fibroblasts become less efficient with intrinsic aging. The official term is elastosis. We can also depress our skin’s ability to produce elastin, through extrinsic aging factors like smoking and sun damage.
How does winter weather affect skin?
Wintertime brings a host of changes to our environment — and also to our lifestyle. This can have a profound impact on our skin’s elasticity. Here what’s going on:
- Colder, drier outdoor air dehydrates the skin.
- Hot, dry indoor air further depletes skin’s water content.
- Longer, warmer baths and showers can strip skin’s oils and natural moisturizing factor (NMF).
The most common consequence of these wintertime changes is skin that’s dehydrated and lacking in moisture. It may look flaky or cracked, and not as plump.
Sometimes, these conditions can end up weakening your skin’s protective barrier, which can lead to inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation has been shown to damage both collagen and elastin.
Top ways to maintain skin’s elasticity
The good news: there are many things you can do to ensure that your skin stays healthy during the winter months. According to Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper), making simple adjustments to both your skincare routine and your lifestyle can keep your complexion glowing this winter.
Dr. Lee’s top active ingredients
- Salicylic acid: this beta hydroxy acid combats dullness by sloughing off dead skin cells, which can build up in wintertime and actually lead to cold-weather blemishes. Try SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Cleanser.
- Hyaluronic acid: a favorite for its extraordinary ability to draw in and retain water within skin. Find it paired with moisturizing squalane in SLMD Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
- Retinol: this vitamin A derivative has been shown to stimulate both collagen and elastin production. SLMD Skincare Retinol Serum, Dream On Retinol Night Cream, and Night Light Retinol Night Cream are formulated to gently boost the skin cycle overnight.
- Vitamin C: a powerful antioxidant that helps to minimize free radical damage and boost collagen within the skin. Try SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer and Bright Future Vitamin C Serum, both formulated for all skin types.
Dr. Lee’s lifestyle tips
- Bathe/cleanse with warm (not hot!) water and moisturize afterwards (for body, try SLMD Skincare Glycolic Acid Body Lotion, or ultra-repairing Body Seal).
- Switch from face wash to plain water in the morning if your skin is super dry, or alternate with a creamier cleanser like SLMD Skincare Daily Bright.
- Exercise regularly (outdoors when possible) to stimulate nutrient-rich blood flow to the skin.
- Wear sunscreen daily even during cold, cloudy weather.
- Eat comfort food in moderation, as sugar and refined carbohydrates can damage skin through glycation, which is when sugar molecules attach to proteins (like collagen and elastin) and cause damage.
Dr. Lee’s last word
Wintertime can be very harsh on our skin — especially if you have very dry skin, like I do. This is when I layer on extra Hyaluronic Acid Serum, so I can keep up with my nighttime retinol without worrying about dryness or irritation. This combination works very well for keeping my skin hydrated and moisturized, while reaping the anti-aging benefits.
—Dr. Sandra Lee