Frozen. Chilled female face covered in snow ice

Igor Stepovik

Three months ago, everyone seemed to be moaning about the heat and humidity. We blotted our sweaty brows and dusted oilabsorbing powder on shiny noses. Today it’s a different season and a different skin-care story.

“The reasons people usually come in during the fall is because they’ve had prolonged sun exposure, so they have a lot of new sun spots,” says Christen Michel, a licensed aesthetician with Aurora Medical Spa. “Also, they’re pretty dehydrated and dry from traveling, and they usually haven’t been sticking with their skin-care routine because they’re so busy over the summer.”

Michel begins with a complete skin evaluation and discussion of skin care products and practices in the client’s home. She then likes to provide an exfoliating treatment, such as a mild chemical peel or microdermabrasion.

Connie Stein, a licensed aesthetician at Stonewater Spa, Salon and Boutique, takes a similar approach. “I would advise the client to have a cleansing facial with a mild peel to get prepared for winter dryness and lack of humidity,” she says. “What you want to do is start with a clean slate.”

Once the skin is professionally exfoliated and hydrated, both Michel and Stein suggest a simple at-home routine that will cleanse, exfoliate and moisturize during the dry winter months. Hyaluronic acid is the agreed-on ingredient that will keep skin looking fresh and hydrated throughout the season.

Produced naturally in the body, hyaluronic acid is a complex sugar that acts as a lubricant for joints and is sometimes injected into arthritic joints to enable smoother motion. The substance also occurs in the skin, helping to maintain moisture, but it diminishes with age. Particularly as the atmosphere becomes less humid, adding hyaluronic acid through topical products helps protect against dryness.

Additionally, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxy acids and retinols are ingredients to look for in exfoliating products. “This helps keep those skin cells shed, so you don’t lack that glow,” Michel says.

Stein notes that dry indoor air can be remedied somewhat with a humidifier. “Putting a humidifier in the bedroom at night is very helpful.”

Sunscreen remains a crucial part of the skin-care routine year-round. Michel recommends a broadspectrum SPF 30 either used in conjunction with other morning products or included in a daytime moisturizer. “I wish everyone knew that you can’t stop using sunscreen,” she says. “You take one step forward and two steps back when you do that.”

Regular facials and other types of corrective treatments, such as laser or intense pulsed light therapy, can help supplement the beneficial effects of a good home-based routine. Treating your skin right will correct some of the damage done while keeping you looking fresh and glowing throughout the holidays and beyond.