Top moisturizers for dry winter skin

Luxe skin-care products to soothe dry skin, from $13.

By Jessica Pollack

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Dry, oily, combination or sensitive skin -- we all need something different to maintain a supple, healthy complexion in the face of winter's harsh breath. Helen Manis, a consultant at Art of Facial Surgery in Toronto, advises starting with these good-skin rules for winter, regardless of skin type:

3 rules for winter skin care
• Wear sunscreen
• Drink lots of water
• Maintain a healthy diet

For skin-type-specific winter care, here are some tips and our product suggestions.

Dry skin
What happens:
Dry skin gets even drier, and often suffers from increased patches of dry skin, flakiness and irritation.

Look for:
• A rich moisturizer that contains ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, squaline, vitamin E or shea butter.
• Tip: products with aloe vera have an added soothing effect.

Try:
• Kiehl's Cryste Marine Ultra Riche Lifting and Firming Cream, $68
• La Roche Posay Nutritic (2.5 per cent biolipids for dry, 5 per cent biolipids for ultra dry), $24
• Kinerase Cream, $90

Oily skin
What happens:
Surprise -- oily skin can suffer from dehydration. Dehydration is different from dryness in that dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks oil.

Look for:
• Moisturizers with glycolic acid, or with glycolic acid as well as salicylic acid, to help regulate sebum production and maintain moisture levels.

Try:
• NeoStrata Daytime Ultra-Smoothing Cream, $35.99
• B. Kamins Bio-Maple Matte Moisturizer SPF 15, $55
• Vichy Thermal Fix 1, $31.

Combination skin
What happens:
Areas that are normally dry are plagued by even more dryness and/or flakiness, plus winter dehydration.

Look for:
• Products for specific areas -- light moisture for oilier areas and hydrating products for flaky patches.
• Tip: Ensure the irritated areas of your skin are not medical issues (like dermatitis or eczema). Check with your dermatologist if you aren't certain.

Try:
• Vichy Thermal Fix Serum, $35 (to be used before your usual moisturizer)
• Biotherm Source Therapie Super Active, $60 (to be used before your usual moisturizer) 

Sensitive skin
What happens:
Sensitive skin can react to harsh conditions with inflammation. Some sensitive skin has an underlying redness condition, often in the T-zone, that can be exacerbated in colder months. Skin is most vulnerable on sunny and cold winter days -- UV rays plus icy temps plus biting wind…ouch!

Look for:
• Anti-inflammatory or antiredness creams. Products that indicate that they are for "sensitive" or "reactive" skin, or those that offer soothing effects, are a good bet.
• Tip: If you exfoliate your skin, be sure to avoid areas of sensitivity or treat them extra gently to prevent further irritation.

Try:
• Cliniderm Soothing Lotion, $12.99
• RoC Calmance Soothing Moisturizer, $20
• Vivier LEXXEL IDS Redness Relief Moisturizing Cream, $60

Protecting your skin against the winter elements with the right products for your skin type will keep it feeling comfortably hydrated and healthy throughout the season. If you aren't sure what your skin type is, visit a dermatologist to discuss skin-care options.

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