Oh my quads!

When the temperature tanks, it’s not uncommon for your complexion to get red, flaky, or itchy—three telltale signs of dehydrated skin. Not only can these textural changes be uncomfortable, but they may also make signs of aging more visible. “Moisturizing is essential year-round but even more so during the winter months because dehydrated skin makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable,” says Celia Forner, founder of Alleven Skincare. “The cold temperatures combined with indoor heat simply suck the moisture right out of your skin.” Womp womp.

While your usual hyaluronic acid serums and moisturizers can help with this, on their own, they may not be able to give you the relief (or the dewy skin) you’re after. If you really want to maintain a healthy, bouncy complexion during the coldest months of the year, you need to hydrate on multiple levels.

“Research has shown that the fatty acids in our skin that keep it supple and smooth decrease by up to 20 percent during the winter months,” says Anna Lahey, founder of supplements brand Vida Glow. She explains that since skin care only reaches about 3 percent of your skin, a rich cream can only do so much—which is why you may need to pair these products with other forms of hydration to close the loop.

These days, we have a whole lot of different ways to do exactly that. Keep reading to find out why it’s worth adding more than one of them into your routine to combat the effects of winter skin.

1. Topical products

There are certain hydrating ingredients that any dermatologist will tell you should be mainstays in a winter skin-care regimen: Hyaluronic acid draws moisture into the skin, ceramides strengthen the skin barrier to lock in all that moisture, and squalane (which derms have called”the big gulp of moisture”) acts as a lubricant to soften and smooth your complexion.

“Another lesser-known but super hydrating ingredient is Chlorella Vulgaris extract, which helps skin retain moisture while soothing and hydrating, and niacinamide, a more popular ingredient, which helps to increase the collagen and keratin production to keep skin firm and healthy,” says Forner.

To make the most out of your topicals this time of year, dermatologists recommend avoiding harsh cleansers, swapping out lighter lotions for heavier creams (and applying them when skin is wet so they can work to their maximum potential), and opting for occlusive formulas (think: the Vaseline people swear by for slugging) that create a protective seal over the skin to prevent moisture from escaping into the environment.

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