Dry skin, at any age, can be very painful to deal with. And when you add in hormonal changes that occur in our 40s that lead to even more changes in our skin, it can exacerbate the concern. New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD says during menopause, lower levels of estrogen makes you prone to thinning, wrinkling and more dehydrated skin. Here, top skin experts share their best advice for ramping up the moisture to get skin back in balance.
It all starts with the right cleanser says Minneapolis, MN dermatologist Sheilagh Maguiness, MD. “Stick to a gentle, hypoallergenic facial cleanser and use it twice daily,” she advises. We like the oil-to-milk texture of ISDIN’s Essential Cleansing Oil ($50) and the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for Dry to Normal, Sensitive Skin ($12). “You’ll want your cleanser to be gentle so it doesn’t strip your skin of any essential oils,” adds Dr. Peredo. “Follow this with a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid just for dryness.”
Dr. Maguiness advises applying the moisturizer immediately after cleansing. “You’ll want to do this while your skin is still wet to effectively trap water in and prevent more dryness.”
Next comes a vitamin C brightener which Dr. Peredo says has to be a hydrating one. “The key is it has to be tolerable. I recommend a formula that is very lightweight and hydrating like my Skinfluence Advanced Vitamin C Brightening Booster ($148) which is fast-absorbing and helps support collagen production with out the heavy scent associated with vitamin C.” To combine the moisturizing and vitamin C step into one, Dr. Dennis Gross’ Vitamin C Lactic Dewey Deep Cream ($75) is an ultra-rich daily cream that is not irritating or drying to those with sensitive or reactive skin.
Nighttime is the right time for cellular renewal and a night cream or mask, like EltaMD Skin Recovery Night Mask ($50), which can target redness, dryness and defend against free radical and UV damage with consistent use. Typically, a retinol is recommended to help increase cell turnover, however, for dry skin that may be a tall order. “If you can use retinol at night, that would be preferred to help with anti-aging, however, if you cannot, there are many retinol alternatives available,” shares Dr. Peredo.
New York oculoplastic surgeon Robert Schwarcz, MD developed a gentle, backuchiol-based face oil designed for nightly use that hydrates and targets dullness. “My Orvos Bakuchiol Natural Anti-Aging Complex Oil ($130) is plant-based and I chose bakuchiol as the main active because I wanted to get the anti-wrinkling effects without drying out the skin too much.”
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“Don’t over-exfoliate or use physical scrubs on your face, like ones containing beads or seed pieces,” adds Dr. Maguiness. “These can exacerbate dryness and are generally too harsh, causing irritation and tiny abrasions on your skin.”
While what you use and how you use it will help rebalance the skin’s moisture levels, you can also help the process with your showering habits says Dr. Maguiness. “Avoid using very hot water to wash your face or shower, as this will only worsen the dryness and strip away natural oils on the surface,” she says.