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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

Dr. Dennis Gross tells us the best and worst skincare ingredients for winter

It’s winter, and baby, it’s cold outside. All we want to do is keep ourselves wrapped in our blankets while drinking hot cocoa on our couch, waiting for spring. The temperature dip brings us its own set of hair and skin concerns. Thanks to all the wool hats, our hair feels dry and staticky in winter.

Our skin feels like a desert and needs extra moisturizing than summer, thanks to the dry air. During this time, investing in a humidifier is a great idea. “Running a humidifier pulls moisture back into the air to improve dry, itchy skin and help it retain that hydration,” New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Marina Peredo told Real Simple. It can also help with allergies.

Most of us love taking long hot showers in the colder months, but that’s a bad idea. New York City-based dermatologist Shari Marchbein told Allure, “[It] strips the skin of sebum, the healthy fats, and oils necessary for skin health, and dehydrates the skin.” It could make dry skin drier and healthy skin dry. Plus, it’s not great for your hair, either.

We know hydration is key in winter. Getting a humidifier and limiting hot showers can help your skin, but you can’t forget skincare products in the winter months. In an exclusive interview with The List, New York City-based Dr. Dennis Gross tells us what skincare ingredients you should be adding (and avoiding) for healthy skin all winter long, irrespective of your gender.

Dr. Dennis Gross loves these skincare ingredients for winter

Dr. Dennis Gross is considered one of the best dermatologists in the country, so when he told us what skincare ingredients would be a blessing for your skin in winter, it’s only natural to add them to our routine. Who doesn’t want amazing skin all year round, right?

Dr. Gross told The List, “Exfoliating acids (alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids) not only make the skin look smoother and feel softer by removing a layer of dead skin from the surface, but they will also allow your moisturizing products to penetrate deeper and work more effectively.” Try Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel, perfect for dehydrated and sensitive skin for winter.

The next ingredient to stock up on is ceramides. Dr. Gross told us, “Ceramides are a type of fatty acids that work as emollients when formulated in skincare products. This is a great ingredient for dry skin because it helps to lock in hydration, strengthen the moisture barrier, and protect the skin from external aggressors.” If you’re using chemical exfoliants and retinoids that are pretty potent, using ceramides can reduce irritation (via Byrdie). It can also help reduce inflammation and keep your skin baby soft.

You can’t complete a winter skincare routine without humectants that keep your skin hydrated. Dr. Gross said, “Hyaluronic acid is another obvious choice for dry winter skin. The molecule has humectant properties and draws moisture from the air and holds it on the skin’s surface. This also helps slow transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which is when water evaporates from the skin.”

Dr. Dennis Gross recommends avoiding these ingredients in winter

Your skin will thank you for adding chemical exfoliation, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid to your winter skincare routine. Here board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross advises us against using three skincare ingredients in the chilly weather.

The first one is benzoyl peroxide. Dr. Gross told The List, “This ingredient is harsh and over drying. There are plenty of other alternatives to combat acne that play much more nicely with the skin. Instead, try salicylic acid or blue LED.” He added that blue LED targets acne-causing bacteria and will never dry out the skin. You can try the blue LED light therapy at your dermatologist’s office or get your own, like Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite Dpl FaceWare Pro, which also has the red light therapy feature to combat wrinkles and inflammation.

Fragrance is another. Dr. Gross told us,” During the winter, skin tends to be dry and easily irritated. Fragrance can irritate skin — I say to avoid it entirely. Instead, opt for natural fragrances in skincare that have a dual purpose. “He suggests trying cucumber extract, which has a beautiful, refreshing smell and has a soothing effect on your skin.

The third ingredient is soap-based surfactants. Dr. Gross said,” These strip your moisture barrier and can cause dryness, redness, and irritation. Especially during the winter, you want to take extra good care of your moisture barrier.” They’re often found in cleansing products and can damage your skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF), leading to saggy skin and premature wrinkles (via Verywell Health).

Originally published at on November 9, 2022.


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