It’s easy to assume that dull, dry skin needs moisturizer or a brightening serum, but in fact, more important than what you put on your skin is what you take off of it.
Here’s the thing: We naturally shed lots of dead skin every day, but our healthy shedding process can be hindered by oily skin, dry skin, midlife changes, and aging. Sadly, when skin doesn’t properly dispose of and replenish itself, the results are not so attractive. We’re left with a complexion that is flaky, dull, wrinkled, less firm, uneven, and with enlarged, clogged pores.
It makes perfect sense that during winter (when our skin reaches its paramount dryness), dead skin accumulates, shiny new skin doesn’t get a chance to surface, and we’re left looking lackluster. Instead of covering up dull skin with makeup or going crazy with bronzer and highlighter, the solution is to exfoliate. Exfoliation removes the abnormal buildup of dead skin cells and reverses its appearance-hampering side effects.
We talked to Paula Begoun, founder and innovative force behind Paula’s Choice Skin Care, about which exfoliation products are most effective and which ingredients to avoid. “Optimum skincare is all about being gentle, which is why failing to treat skin gently always makes numerous concerns worse, not better,” Begoun says. “Being gentle on your skin will make a world of difference, and sooner than you might think!”
When it comes to exfoliation, being gentle means avoiding products with ingredients that aggravate and sensitize skin, including fragrance (synthetic or natural) and SD- or denatured alcohol. It also means skipping abrasive scrubs and brushes with stiff bristles that are harsh on skin. Instead, seek out products containing skin-friendly alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and lactic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid, which work to exfoliate, moisturize, calm redness, and make skin glow.
Begoun recommends her own Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and Hydropeptide Exfoliating Cleanser.
How often to exfoliate depends on your skin type. “If you have advanced signs of aging, sun damage, clogged pores, or a combination of concerns, twice per day can produce beautiful results,” Begoun says. For other skin types, once a day or once every other day may be best. Experiment to see which combination gets you closer to the best skin of your life.”
Always follow with a moisturizer or serum that contains both humectants, such as glycerin, urea, or hyaluronic acid, plus occlusive agents that lock in moisture, such as petrolatum. Try Glytone Hydration Intensifying Serum, a lightweight formula with plant sugars, ceramides, and amino acids that boosts water content and maintains skin’s natural barrier for healthy skin that glows.
Don’t miss these other tricks for fighting dry skin this fall and winter.