August 23 2014

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Get The Better Of Winter Skin


This column features weekly tips and advice from a revolving cast of industry leaders, on hand to discuss your beauty dilemmas, from blemishes to Botox. To submit a question, e-mail

I’m beginning to notice signs of colder weather on my face and can’t seem to combat the dry patches and overriding dullness. What can I do now to prep for winter’s real onslaught in the next few months?

The leaves are falling, the barometer is on the descent, and your summer skin is officially in shock. But as odd as it sounds, this is the perfect time for a chemical peel. Like most people, you probably helped yourself to a little tanning when it was warmer. Tanning is trauma to the skin, though, and like a brushfire is to a forest, it can take clearing away this “debris” to accelerate the healing process. Something mild to moderate, like a Jessner’s peel, will remove the retained, dull skin and make way for new healthy skin to grow.

The second key step is to focus on moisturizers that are creamier. These products have added emollients that will fill in tiny cracks and smooth out your complexion. If you tend toward shiny, oily skin, try looking for silicone-based creams as they are oil-free. And always continue to use sun protection, no matter what time of year it is. I prefer those with UV blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide because new research shows that, in addition to sunlight, interior light sources as well as infrared lights can damage deeper skin cells, and these ingredients are helpful as a broad-spectrum defense.

Winter heaters can also be a culprit. They are just as bad as air-conditioners when it comes to drying out the skin. Using a clean and fresh water humidifier will definitely help you get your beauty sleep.

Ellen Marmur, M.D., is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. A skin cancer survivor herself, Marmur specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She recently published Simple Skin Beauty, a book that focuses on how to maintain the health and beauty of your skin at every stage of life.

Photo: George Marx/Getty Images

The Doctor Is In