Blustery winter weather has a way of sneaking up on even the most attentive beauty addict. “One of the most frequently asked questions I get from women of all ages is, ‘How can I treat my dry skin?’” explains skincare expert Cornelia Zicu, whose lavish Fifth Avenue day spa clientele includes everyone from Hollywood A-listers to politicos, business tycoons and royalty. “There are a number of simple things you can do every day that will help condition your skin and make it healthy. Some are unexpected; many are natural but all are easy to do.”
Known for her dedication to natural ingredients - inspired by the homegrown remedies passed down from grandma in her native Romani - Zicu's new line doesn't launch until next spring, but in the mean time, try these tips she offers up for keeping your skin gorge when the weather isn't:
- SEE AN EXPERT According to Zicu, the basis of any reliable skincare routine is a visit to an expert, be it at a spa, a dermatologist or a medical professional. "This person, however, should not be a sales person at a product counter in a department store."
- CHANGE WITH THE SEASON "The beauty products you use during the spring and summer may not meet your needs during the fall and winter." She advises consulting an expert to see which products to switch or add to your skincare routine.
- MOISTURIZE During the day, use lighter products; follow up in the evening with a moisturizer containing stronger active ingredients. If the weather is particularly harsh, avoid going outside after using anything with potent active ingredients. "Doing so will only exacerbate the effects of the pollution, wind and temperature outside on your skin."
- GET BALANCED If you have acne or problem skin, include at least one or two products with strong active ingredients as part of a daily routine, but complement them with products that calm & heal.
- DRINK YOUR 8 GLASSES Heavy clothing, moving snow or ice and navigating through crowded stores during the holiday season can work up a lot of sweat so drink plenty of water and attempt to cut down (or eliminate...if you're feeling particularly strong-willed) caffeine. "Even if you maintain a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, caffeinated drinks dehydrate the body down to the cellular level. Any H2O absorbed by the fruits and vegetables you eat will be eliminated by drinking coffee or soda."
- USE A HUMIDIFIER Humidifiers allow your skin to absorb moisture in the air while you sleep. If your office allows, add one there as well. "Add a few drops of essential oils to the humidifier -- and even the ventilation system of your car -- for added benefits."
- LIMIT HOT SHOWERS & BATHS Hot water dries out skin, so trim a few minutes and degrees off your shower. Room temperature water is particularly important for anyone with rosacea or sensitive skin.
- THERE'S ALWAYS TIME FOR GEL If you're too pressed for time to moisturize after you hop out of the shower, try a gel that does triple-duty by cleaning, hydrating & exfoliating.
- EXFOLIATE Once a week should suffice during winter; excessive exfoliation can not only cause dry skin, but exacerbate it.
- WEAR SPF 15 OR MORE ALL YEAR The rays of the sun are out 365 days a year – including the rain, sleet and snow. Apply an SPF about 45 minutes to one hour before going outdoors. And if you're spending time outside, re-apply it roughly every half hour, depending on how strong it is.
- Lesley Scott