Even top docs suffer from dry, itchy, overly-sensitized winter skin. What makes them different from us is how they handle all that flaking. We got them to open up their beauty cabinets to share their regimens—and the superstar products—that keep their skin glowing.
Denby Engelman, Director of Dermatologic Surgery at New York Medical College in Manhattan
Skin type: Combo
My wintertime prescription: Moisturize aggressively as the temperature drops and the humidity gets lower. I look for products with ceramides, such as Cerave Moisturizing Lotion, since they protect the outer layers of skin from water loss. I also use Skinceuticals B5 Hydrating Gel, which contains naturally occurring antioxidants that help soothe inflamed skin.
My skincare secret: I massage my face with argan oil twice daily before applying my moisturizer—it really helps to combat drying.
For my body: I stock up on Neutrogena Norwegian handcream. I keep one in my car, in the pockets of my coats, on my desk at work.
I tell my patients: Switch to a non-soap cleanser to avoid the overly drying effects that some soap-based face washes can cause.
Meghan O’Brien, Physicians Formula Consulting Dermatologist
Skin type: Normal to dry and prone to mild eczema
My winter prescription: I use a retinoid and sometimes have to decrease its use in the winter to manage the dryness it can cause. Alpha hydroxy acids help with cell turnover but are gentle enough to use in the drier winter months. I like Physicians Formula Wrinkle Corrector and Firming Moisturizer. It has AHAs and my goal is to get anti-aging benefits from my skincare regimen.
My skincare secret: I try to take short showers with lukewarm water—the more contact you have with soap and water, the drier your skin will be.
For my body: In the summer, I use a body lotion with SPF. In the winter, I skip it—my body is totally covered up due to the cold—and use a rich, creamy moisturizer instead.
I tell my patients: Moisturize your skin as soon as you step out of the shower—if your skin is still damp it will absorb moisturizer even better.
Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell, Founder of VMV Hypoallergenics, clinical dermatologist and dermatopathologist
Skin type: Dry, sensitive and prone to pigmentation
My winter prescription: I’m a huge fan of virgin coconut oil because it contains fatty acids, which are easily absorbed and have a healing property for dry, scratched skin. It’s also non-acnegenic, which some people are surprised to know.
My skincare secret: I place a bowl of fresh water on the floor while I sleep. It helps to hydrate the air and moisturize dry skin. I also try to keep the window slightly open and lower the indoor temperature to make the air less dry.
For my body: I use the same products on my body as I do my face. VMV’s petroleum jelly—Boo Boo Balm—also contains coconut oil and has antiseptic properties.
I tell my patients: Choose products with fewer ingredients. The fewer the better, since these types of products tend to be less irritating and cause fewer allergic reactions.
Gervaise Gerstner, L’Oreal Paris Consulting Dermatologist
Skin type: Dry
My winter prescription: I stick to the same routine as in the warmer months, but layer a serum under a night cream for a hydration boost. .L’Oreal Paris Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm on top of L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Dark Spot Correcting and Illuminating Serum is excellent.
My skincare secret: To keep skin healthy and hydrated, eat foods rich in Omega 3 oils, like salmon.
For my body: When winter comes, my hands and heels get even more chapped and dry, so I slather on Aquaphor.
I tell my patients: If dead skin is sitting on the surface, thicker moisturizers aren’t able to penetrate. An in-office microdermabrasion treatment takes off flaky skin so you can get the most benefits from your face cream.
Anne Chapas, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine
Skin type: Normal
My winter prescription: I swap out lightweight gels and lotions for heavier creams and ointments. One of my wintertime favorites is La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP; it's rich but absorbs quickly.
My skincare secret: Look for lactic acid, shea butter or lanolin, since these tend to seal water in the skin and prevent the skin from drying—I use Amlactin.
For my body: The body can generally tolerate thicker and greasier formulation than the face. I use Aquaphor on my hands and legs frequently in the winter; it’s also great for lips but I don’t use it on my face since it could lead to breakouts.
I tell my patients: Dry skin is more prone to irritation and rashes. Keeping your skin moisturized will greatly reduce winter itch.