Behind all of those skincare products that keep us looking young and feeling beautiful, there’s actually a lot of science. In fact, that’s what attracted Lizz Starr to the field. We asked the industry veteran—now executive director of global product development for Origins—why the winter is so hard on the skin.
LN: Why is winter such a stressful time of year for the skin?
LS:We get that question a lot, and most people think the problem is that you’re exposed to dehydrated harsh cold environments outside, but in fact what’s inside is a bigger offender. You have low humidity in recycled office air, but moist air outside, which doesn’t leave skin a chance to equilibrate and can leave you dull, dry and flaky. You’re inside 70 to 80 percent of your day, so that’s a big contributor to dry skin.
LN: What do you recommend for keeping skin moisturized during the winter?
LS: Rethink your cleanser. People love their foaming cleansers—I do, too—and several are suited for dehydrated skin. But if it’s stripping your skin, it might be time to trade in the bubbles for a creamy cleanser. Moisturizing is a must in the colder months, and I like the idea of exfoliating before moisturizing because you clear the path for better penetration. If you’re a regular moisturizer user and your skin becomes dry in the winter, it might be time to graduate to ultra- or rich-weight moisturizer. Also, a humidifier is a great plan—even in your office. A small desk unit can do miracles. And drink a lot of water. Being dehydrated can accelerate the signs of aging. It’s such an easy fix—you don’t need a Botox shot or filler, you just need to hydrate.
LN: Is there a best time to moisturize?
LS:We always encourage moisturizing at bedtime, especially for the face, because a couple things happen to skin at bedtime: For one, the pH decreases at night, which means that it sloughs off more slowly and you get accumulation of dead surface cells. Using a night cream will help you wake up more radiant and luminous. The other thing that happens is that your temperature rises at night. Not a lot, but enough to make the skin more porous so it loses more moisture. I always encourage using a night cream, as well as a daytime cream with an SPF.
LN: What’s the difference between moisturizers for the hands, body and face? Can you use them interchangeably?
LS:You could probably use hand and body products interchangeably, but I wouldn’t use a hand or body product on facial skin. It has less collagen, so your face wrinkles and sags sooner than your body does. When we make facial skincare, we create it to address those concerns. We have a great moisturizer called Starting Over to address the first signs of facial aging. New in February, we’ll have the Youthtopia Lift Collection. Even though facial skin has less collagen, we can pump it up. We use lots of great plant-based active ingredients that restore skin and make wrinkles less visible.
LN: Along those lines, is there a difference between a lotion, cream or body butter?
LS: Generally the name denotes a different degree of emolliency, with body butter being richest. Typically, companies produce different consistencies to appeal to different skin types. So in the winter when skin is dry, it might be time to graduate to a thicker moisturizer.
LN: What ingredients would you look for in a good moisturizer?
LS: Origins has its heritage in plant-based ingredients and we use as many as we can. There’s tremendous power in nature and we have an untapped resource at our fingertips that’s renewable, so it doesn’t deplete the planet. We love plant-based glycerin and trehalose (which comes from corn). They give you that satisfying instant moisture that thirsty skin needs and wants. The use of lipids for longer-term barrier repair also is really important. We use grain-based lipids, so the skin stays hydrated longer.