Now that it’s winter, you might notice that your skin is a little less shiny and a whole lot drier than it was during other times of the year — and this is no coincidence. As temperatures plummet and indoor heaters start cranking, there’s significantly less humidity and moisture in the air around us. The extreme contrast between cold temperatures outside and hot inside can also affect the skin and compromise the skin barrier, notes Marisa Garshick M.D., New York City-based dermatologist skincare specialist for Florajen Probiotics and Certain Dri. “Other factors, such as hot showers can also disrupt the skin barrier and strip away the skin’s natural oils, which can be drying on the skin,” she says. “And when skin gets too dry, it can actually increase oil production to try to compensate, which can leave people struggling with breakouts as well.”
Needless to say, there’s no time like wintertime to amp up your skincare routine. While you can do this by switching up some of your skincare products, you can also enhance the health of your skin during the winter months through the use of skincare tools.
You’ve probably seen them all over social media —especially TikTok — and may be wondering just what these seemingly odd devices can really do for your body’s largest organ: your skin. You may also be wondering if some of these devices are really all they’re chalked up to be and whether or not they’re mere gimmicks camouflaged as skin saviors. According to Dr. Garshick, certain skincare tools really do come in handy. “Some skincare tools are designed to help enhance the penetration of certain products or ingredients you are using, while others may be used as a cleansing device to help cleanse the skin to remove build-up, dirt, and oil,” she says.
Just as with skincare products, it’s important to know your skin needs to determine which skincare tool is best for you. Here, skin experts share tools they recommend specifically for the winter months and what you should know about each.
While you might not initially think of a humidifier as a “skincare tool,” you might be surprised to learn that these devices can work wonders on your skin. Humidifiers work by adding moisture back into the air, which can come in clutch during the winter months, especially to combat the dryness that accompanies indoor heating. This is especially true if you’re prone to eczema, a common skin condition that tends to crop up and worsen in dry, cold environments when there is little moisture in the air.
While a humidifier does not replace topical skincare products, Dr. Garshick notes that it does make it less susceptible to itching and flaking. “The moisturizers are not only trying to add moisture back into the skin but also use ingredients that help to support and strengthen the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss and can also provide an occlusive effect to help seal in any moisture,” she says. “For someone who is using moisturizers and still experiencing dryness of the skin, a humidifier is a great next step.”
Facial cleansing brushes
These devices are meant to provide a gentle exfoliation to the skin to eliminate dead skin cells, which can be quite beneficial during the winter months when your skin is more prone to dryness, however, just as with skincare products, not all cleansing brushes are created equal. “Many cleansing brushes are made of silicone that is designed to be gentle on the skin and helps to offer a thorough cleanse without aggravating the skin,” says Dr. Garshick. She recommends limiting your use of facial cleansing brushes to just a few times per week to minimize irritation to the skin.
While not quite comparable to an in-office LED treatment, at-home LED lights can still be effective at targeting different skincare concerns, such as acne reduction, collagen boosting, and overall improvement in skin tone and texture according to Dr. Garshick. “In general, these lights can be used all year round but are especially helpful in the winter months to help reduce any summer-related skin changes.”
You can find brands that offer red light, which helps produce collagen and others that give off blue light to fight acne. Danielle Gamble, esthetician at The Spa at 5th Avenue Aesthetics in NYC, suggests using an LED light 2-4 times per week in 20-30 minute sessions for brighter and clearer skin.
Just as with LED light, an in-office microcurrent treatment will always be the gold standard for helping to tighten and redefine the skin, however, the at-home devices on the market can work to stimulate your muscles to boost collagen for an overall improved appearance of the skin, explains Dr. Garshick. “While the winter months are a great time for in-office procedures, these devices can help to supplement and work together to enhance and maintain the results from in-office treatments,” she adds.
Gua Sha tools
These stone devices are all the rage right now for all the right reasons. Made out of jade, rose quartz, crystalline, or other pure stones, these Chinese-inspired devices help tone and rejuvenate the skin by improving blood circulation in your face. “Our lymphatic system — i.e. our lymph vessels, fluid, and nodes that help fight off infection and disease — can become stagnant, which can sometimes cause the skin to appear dull or congested, ” says Gamble. “Using a Gua Sha stone softly with a pumping motion can help flush toxins and fluids from your face, making it appear less puffy.” Gua sha can be done every day or a few times a week with the treatment oil of your choice.
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