Glacial temperatures, lashing winds, and indoor heating can ravage your skin, leaving it scaly, parched, and drab. “These conditions suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dull and dry, as well as itchy and irritated,” explains Dr. Jessica Wu, a clinical instructor in dermatology at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
To shape up for the new season, start by exfoliating your way to baby-soft skin. “The skin cycle is ideal in infancy, when the outer layer of skin is replaced about every few days,” says beauty and health expert Julia Layton. While we can’t turn back time, we can scrub our way to a more radiant complexion by sloughing off dead skin cells “so fresher ones can take their place”—an especially important factor in getting glowing skin after a winter fraught with frigid temperatures.
What’s more, exfoliating primes your skin for optimal absorption of your favorite products. In short, “Exfoliation is the key to optimizing every skin care regimen,” says dermatologist Craig Kraffert.
Warmer weather is synonymous with sundresses and shorts—and few things pair better with the two than an all-over glow. But before you slot in a Saturday to catch some rays by the pool, think again: Sun damage is one of the biggest—and most lethal—culprits of saggy skin and unsightly pigmentation. “To protect itself from the damaging effects of the sun, your skin increases its production of the dark brown pigment called melanin,” causing “an uneven increase in melanin production, which produces irregular coloring,” explains The Mayo Clinic.
Moreover, “UV damage accounts for 80% of visible aging and greatly increases your rate for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma,” The Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Group reports. A better way to bronze from head to toe? A sunless self-tanner. Thanks to huge advances in this field, gone are the days of orange palms and reeking flesh, letting you look like a beach goddess without the long-term consequences. Which brings us to our next point…