Freezing cold temperatures, dryness , the wind! This is New York when winter hits. All you want to do is put some oil all over your face to make the dry skin disappear, lotion your hands every 5 minutes, and its still not enough. Top it off with realizing that what comes after winter is spring/summer and really we should be thinking about all the things you want to look great for then, like your legs, or that glowing fresh face. We wanted to speak with Joanna Vargas, who knows more about skin than we do to help get us through winter looking bright!
Is there anything that everyone should change no matter what their skin type is in the winter?
First, you should only use tepid water to wash your face. Even when you’re taking a shower, even though the temptation is to turn it on to scorching hot, it’s actually really drying for your skin. It throws off the moisture balance and you’re going to get eczema, you’re going to get dry patches and it will be uncomfortable.
Everybody needs to add as much good fat into their diet as possible because no matter what your skin type is, you’re going to have issues with dryness. As far as regular routines go, you should try to only exfoliate once a week.
As far as skin care products for the winter, are there any ingredients that we should look for or any that we should avoid?
I would be careful with over-peeling, like using too much retinol and glycolic acid. Avocado oil, jojoba oil and olive oil are amazing ingredients to use in winter because they’re all anti-inflammatory. They all restore moisture and balance to the skin and they’re safe whether you have skin that breaks out or you have skin that’s super dry.
Do we still need to use SPF in the winter?
Absolutely. Even though it feels cold outside, you’re still getting damaging UV light hitting the skin and it’s really important, even in the winter, to use between a 20 and 30 SPF every day.
As far as a skin regiment in the morning, do you think it’s important to change your face wash as well? Or is it ok to keep using the same one from the summer?
If you’re using something that has a lot of glycolic acid in it or things that really dry out the skin, then you absolutely need to make a change. A cleanser that has anti-inflammatory properties in it or a cleanser that’s more of a balm or an oil — I think that’s a little easier for the skin to take and a little better for you.
- Add more avocado into your daily diet because avocado helps hydrate from the inside. It contains Omega 3 fatty acids and it contains B vitamins, which are really good at helping the skin maintain a moisture balance.
- Sleep with a humidifier. It gets so dry indoors in the winter and that’s almost more damaging than being outside in the cold weather.
- Think of fatty acids that we have in the kitchen that would be good on the skin, like coconut oil, olive oil. You can just dab a little on your skin.
- Another shocking thing that is soothing to the skin is raw apple cider vinegar. It has to be diluted or raw.
It can’t be the kind you put on a salad.
Yeah. If you dilute it one-to-one and you dab a little on cotton ball and put on your face at night as a toner, it is so healing and so soothing for the skin that it really cures anything. It’s sort of like one of those magical cure-alls for the face. It’s good for breakouts, it’s good for dryness — it’s good for anything.
Should you start layering your skincare in the winter, even if you have oily skin? Should you be using a serum, an oil and a cream all on top of each other? Is there something that’s better or worse?
You really do need a serum in the wintertime in order to get proper hydration and nutrients into the skin. A base for all skin types would be a serum or a face oil that contains jojoba because jojoba allows the skin to have a moisture balance. They’re lighter in weight and are more highly concentrated, so you definitely need something underneath that barrier that you’re creating with your day cream.
As I know you don’t do a lot of invasive procedures, what alternative treatments do you suggest for things like varicose veins on the legs that might be better suited for the winter, when any side effects are less likely to be seen?
Lots of women opt for the leg injections to get rid of spider veins more in the winter when no one can see the bruising it creates.
Would the advice you gave for taking care of the face also hold true for the rest of the body, like your hands, back and feet?
Yes, all recommendations for the face should apply to hands back and feet. In fact when someone is having breakouts on the body I always treat the skin on the back the same as the face.
For dermatological work and having treatments done, what treatments should you do in the winter as opposed to when the sun is back because of any sort of irritations that might happen? What are the most popular treatments and which ones do you recommend for the winter?
Clients plan out a series of laser treatments in the winter. Once you get laser treatments, you have to be super careful about going into the sun because you can damage all that fresh collagen that you’re trying to grow. That gets planned out. I’m sure that dermatologists are so busy all winter long with that kind of thing. I’m not a huge fan of invasive treatments, so the clients that I tend to attract are clients that want non-invasive types of things that they can do year-round, but laser would be something that they would plan out during the wintertime. Anything like that. Any kind of resurfacing treatments are only safe to do in winter.
What do you think about supplements? Do you think that they work and that we should include them in our routine for the winter?
I’m all-in when it comes to supplements. My tendency when it comes to my own clients is to gravitate towards Dr. Frank Lipman, who has a couple of things that just make it easier for people to manage the supplement category in their life. He makes really great shakes that have a ton of vitamins. I always tell clients to maybe do Recharge as your breakfast shake in the morning because it cleanses and it gives you a lot of good energy to start your day and it also, again, if you’re balanced on the inside, your skin will be balanced on the outside. He also has a hair, skin and nails vitamin that I love. You’re not going to have good skin if you’re not putting good stuff into your body. It’s really that simple.
That’s good advice no matter what time of year.
There’s no magic pill. It’s just good diet and good routine.