3 Top Tips To Save Your Skin This Winter

Winter is approaching and for most of us that means it is time to tackle our changing skin needs. As the air outside gets colder and the humidity decreases, indoor heat gets hotter and drier, which can lead to skin that is parched from moisture as the air around us, indoor and out, selfishly steals our reserves. Rosacea, which is commonly triggered by extremes in temperature, can flare more easily.  Eczema and psoriasis can flare too, and those with acne-prone skin may even start to see an increase in breakout.

Another tricky aspect we are presented with these days is that while winter weather may be imminently approaching, temperatures can range widely from day to day or week to week. One day it can be cold and blustery and the very next temperatures can soar into the 60’s, making it difficult to know what coat to wear let alone which moisturizer to use.  Wool and coarse fabrics can irritate your skin and add to the problem. Here is the solution to your winter skin woes:

1. Listen to your skin: It will always tell you what it needs, and what it doesn’t like. If your rosacea is flaring or you’re breaking out like you haven’t in a while, there is still hope. Try to pinpoint any triggers, avoid them when possible and be sure to stick to your skin care routine especially when you’re under stress. Perhaps you are overdue for a maintenance treatment or a visit to your dermatologist for a peel or skin care assessment? Did you run out of a skincare product that you love? Your skin will need different ingredients and products as weeks, months and years go by, but a common thread of consistency in your daily routine- cleansing, hydrating and sun protection- is important to prevent flares and keep your skin looking it’s most beautiful radiant best.

2. Check the weather: Just like you think ahead for seasonal weather changes, you should also prepare for the effects the changes in season will have on your skin. Learning to layer the right products and adding or subtracting ingredients throughout the year will lead to happier, healthier, more beautiful skin. Warmer days tend to be a bit more humid, so layers of antioxidant serums, hyaluronic acid serums and lightweight sunscreens may do the trick for you. Colder days, especially when it is dry and windy, may require a moisturizer designed to help seal in precious moisture. The body is drier than the face, and all skin loses water as you sleep and your body repairs damage from the day, so be sure to add a richer layer of hydration at night and find an easy to maintain humidifier to use in your bedroom as you sleep, allowing your skin to protect, replenish and restore its moisture bank.

3. Have the right skin care products ready in your arsenal: Key pieces are critical. Once you know which products you love and what works best for you,  make sure you have them supplied and available to use on the fly as needed. Once you learn to listen to your skin and remember to routinely think of your daily skincare as you would your outfit selection for the day, you will start feeling and seeing more consistency in your skin health. See below to learn how to select the best products for your skin needs.

If all your efforts still only get you so far, trust the experts- after all it is what we are here for!

Skincare products that help you cope:

Facial Serums with Hyaluronic Acid

Depending on how prone to dryness your skin is,  the cold air will quickly steal moisture from your skin. Layering serums, thinnest to thickest, under lotions and creams, helps to infuse your skin with deeper hydration. Topping off with the right lotion or cream will seal in all the good stuff so you’ll be best prepared for blustery, cold days.

I like to think of using Hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant, helping to pull in and hold water in the skin, as an ingredient that helps to fill the well. HA attracts water from the air around you and holds onto it, up to 1,000 times its weight, and is part of how your skin hydrates itself naturally. After a week or so of consistent HA use your skin’s moisture well will be replenished so you have better defense against dryness. As we age, we lose our reserves of naturally occurring HA so it’s important to supplement with it topically. Not only will it help you feel less dry but your skin will also plump up and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles will soften.

A few favorites: SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, Skin Medica HA5 and PCA Hydrating Serum

Facial Antioxidant Serums

Using antioxidant serums year round is a must. In the summer, we tote antioxidants for their protective qualities when layered with sunscreens and the same is true in the winter months. Some of us can upgrade to more emollient formulas in the winter for an extra boost of hydration. If you don’t already have a facial antioxidant you love, Alastin Skin Nectar, SkinBetter Alto, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic and Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum are all highly recommended!

Super Gentle Exfoliants

You might notice that treatment ingredients and acne medications  suddenly begin to irritate your skin as the weather gets colder. This is because as your skin loses moisture and naturally occurring protective oils, active ingredients penetrate more deeply. To counter this, use actives less often and sandwich them between serums and moisturizers. If they still irritate you, switch it up and try these clever products from RestorSea, which exfoliate without any irritation and help to enhance skin function and barrier repair. RestorSea Intensive Treatment 10x is a safe and non-irritating alternative to retinols. Apply RestorSea Rebalancing Lotion on top for additional hydration.

Facial Moisturizers

Your moisturizers will never work better than they do when layered over your favorite Hyaluronic Acid and Antioxidant Serums. And for some of us, these layers of serums might be enough, especially when topped in the day with a protective sunscreen. For those who need a bit more, we recommend finding a formulation designed for your specific skin needs. Drier skin types can use moisturizers morning and night. For combination-to-normal-to-dry skins, we say sleep in one that you love, remembering to slather your neck and chest too.

Dry Skin: Skin Medica Dermal Repair, MD Rejuvena Ultra-Rich Hydration, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream (for extra-dry skin)

Normal-to-Dry Skin: Epionce Medical Barrier Repair, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore, Sente Dermal Repair Cream, Skin Medica Total Defense and Repair SPF

Oily or Combination Skin: SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50, NeoCutis MicroDay

Hydrating Masks

1-2 nights a week you can apply a hydrating mask. For very dry skin, apply a cream or gel based mask like SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque  for 10-20 minutes, tissue the mask off and then apply your regular nightly routine. For normal to dry skin, apply your evening skincare and then a sheet mask over the products, wearing the sheet mask, like SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Restorative Masque for up to an hour or even overnight. Make sure you’ve got a good humidifier going while you sleep, too. Certain essential oil diffusers also infuse the air with moisture with the adding bonus of sleep-enhancing essential oils like Lavender or Chamomile. In a pinch, take a tip from our grandmothers and great grandmothers and place a bowl of water by your bed- it doesn’t work nearly as well as the other options but it’s certainly better than nothing.

Lips, Hands, Feet, Body

Dry, chapped skin can start to appear on the hands, legs and body as soon as the weather starts to change. Keep a bottle of liquid coconut oil (Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Liquid Coconut Oil) in the bathtub and apply it to your whole body while the water is still running. A little coconut oil goes a long way and the warm shower water helps you spread it evenly over your whole body (do not apply to feet while standing in the shower and be especially careful not to slip getting in or out!). Before drying off, try applying 1-2 pumps of an exfoliating, hydrating body lotion. Some of my favorites are: PCA Body Therapy, AmLactin Hydrating Body Lotion, SkinFix Extra Strength Soothing Body Cream and Theraplex Emollient for Severely Dry Skin.

Replace hand soaps with richer moisturizing formulas and keep hand lotions next to your sink in the bathroom and kitchen and apply after every hand wash and in your purse for when you’re on the go. Pro tip: If you don’t like your hands to feel greasy, just apply the formula to the back of your hands from time to time. Keep your hands covered with gloves or mittens on especially cold days to protect them from cold, dry air.

To better manage dry cracked feet, begin by exfoliating regularly. Most of us get pedicures less frequently in the winter but when you do, skip the exfoliating callus remover and more aggressive exfoliation methods offered at spas as they can go wrong, making you more prone to cracked heels. Instead, when you step out of the shower, apply an exfoliating serum designed specifically for the feet, then apply something rich like Aquaphor and put on your socks. For less dry feet use a milder exfoliating and hydrating formula when you get out of the shower and before you go to bed.

Lips need love too! Physically exfoliate them gently with your toothbrush then apply a hydrating lip serum. Top off with something more occlusive and reapply it throughout the day. Keep it easy by having a travel version in your bag at all times.

Hands- Dr. Day’s Handle With Care, Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, Aquaphor

Feet– Clarisonic Pedi-System, Clarisonic Pedi Boost Renewing Peel, Isdin Podos

Lips-RestorSea Lip Magic, EpiCeram Lipcare, Aquaphor

For questions about how to best treat your skin, please call us. We can help answer your questions over the phone or in person during a consultation with Dr. Day or myself (Holly Montgomery).

Many of these products are available on our online store! If you’re not yet signed up for access please call us at (212) 772-0740 and we will happily register you! Access allows you to store our recommendations and other favorites so you can order them as needed or have them shipped automatically, making life that much easier.


The following in-office treatments are some our favorite skin savers in maintaining glowing skin during the winter months:


Hydrating Facial Peels


Clear and Brilliant


Hyaluronic Acid-based Filler


Impact of Air Pollution on Your Skin

The world we live in is rapidly changing. Our body, starting with our skin, is under ever greater assault from pollution and toxic elements in the environment that it has not yet evolved enough to neutralize on its own. The consequences can range from irritation and premature aging, to organ damage and at worst, cancer. This is mostly from oxidative stress, which is defined as an over production of destructive reactive oxygen species (ROS) and an inability of the body’s natural antioxidant network to neutralize them before they do damage to skin and other organs. The generation of ROS is initiated by three major components relating to pollution: particulate matter, ozones and aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR). The good news is that there are ways to protect against the damage and repair at least some of the damage done.

The Facts

Let’s look at some recent numbers issued by the World Health Organization (WHO):

92%-that’s the percentage of people around the world who live in cities that do NOT comply with WHO air quality standards.

6.5 million- that’s the combined number of deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution. That number has more than doubled since 2012.

Life expectancy – In Europe, one year of life expectancy is lost for every person due to exposure to particulate matter (PM) from air pollution. This is mostly due to the increased risk of heart and lung diseases. The effects of pollution on skin are also profound, seen as increased risk of skin cancer, skin sensitivity, premature skin aging, discoloration, dryness, dullness and roughness.

Pollution is in fact a mix of many, many components which makes it difficult to say exactly which one of the different elements are responsible for the skin changes we see. In the laboratory, it is possible to expose cultured human skin cells to certain pollutants one at a time. A few examples of specific pollutants tested include Benzo-a-pyrene, urban dust, ultrafine dust, and diesel exhaust.

Surprisingly the real threat often doesn’t come from these particles themselves, it comes from the chemicals that find a way to attach to them. Urban dust for example, contains a cocktail of 224 toxic chemicals – from polyaromatic hydrocarbons to pesticides and heavy metals. And, while the particles of pollution are usually too large to penetrate skin themselves, many of these chemicals attached to them are not. Cigarette smoke is another major pollutant, and that has been shown to consist of over 6,000 chemicals!

The laboratory tests are able to measure not only how the cells react to different pollutants, but also which ingredients can protect them against the negative effects caused, for example, inflammation. From there, products can be developed to protect against the damage and repair the damage done as much as possible.

The relationship between air quality and skin conditions

There is a clear correlation between spikes in air pollution and increases in the number of people suffering from skin problems such as acne, hives and eczema. It is clear that air pollution is not just affecting skin on a cosmetic level, but also poses a real threat to skin health.

A recent study done in Korea evaluated the clinical effects of outdoor air pollutants in patients with chronic eczema. Researchers measured daily outdoor concentrations of PM, nitric oxides and volatile organic compounds to estimate each patient’s exposure to air pollution. They found a direct correlation between outdoor particulate concentration and presence of symptoms, showing that ambient air pollution was an aggravating factor for these patients.

Those living in highly polluted areas have significantly worse skin hydration than subjects living in the cleaner suburbs despite making better lifestyle choices (such as cleansing routines, water consumption and greater skin care product usage). In addition, compromised skin barrier function were found in the urban dwellers. While there is sadly a lack of in-depth research in the area of air pollution and skin health, there is clear scientific evidence that skin barrier function and skin hydration are among the most immediate and significant threats air pollution imposes on our skin.

Anti-Pollution Measures To Protect and Restore Your Skin

Cleansing: I was intrigued by the numbers showing how many different chemicals are attached to pollution particles. I recommend a two-step process for cleansing, the first using a cleansing wipe or makeup remover pad and a second pass or wash with a cleanser to remove any remaining makeup, dirt, grime or pollution left on the skin. Cleansing brushes work better than just using your hands to wash your face.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Orally in doses of 500 to 750mg twice a day or topically in brands such as Olay, Nia24, Skin Medica, SkinCeuticals and others, is one of the hardest working ingredients and is at the top of the list in being able to successfully reduce the negative effects of urban dust, cigarette smoke, diesel dust and benzo-a-pyrene, found mostly in urban living environments. In all these tests, it significantly reduces the damage caused to the skin cells, protecting them and helping them to recover better. It also strengthens the skin barrier and actively repairs UV damage – giving your skin all-round protection against environmental stresses

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD): One form I often recommend to my patients is GliSODin. This is an oral supplement containing melon SOD combined with wheat gliadin, and has been shown to increase the body’s antioxidant defenses and also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Hydration: both by drinking water and from using excellent products on your skin is key in making sure your skin functions at its best in protecting and strengthening the natural skin barrier.

UV Protection: still one of the biggest environmental stressors. An SPF product should always be part of your daily skin care routine.

Antioxidants: both topical and by mouth. These include Vitamin A, C, D, B-complex and B3 as noted above.

Adaptogens: These are natural ingredients that help balance out and modify the effects of stress on the system. These include Superoxide dismutase, CoQ10 and Resveratrol, ashwaganda, curcumin, and ginseng, among others. The best way to incorporate these into your regimen is through fruits and vegetables and spices. They are also available in supplements such as Nutrafol, which was designed for hair growth, but is one I often recommend to my patients as an anti-pollution supplement.

Protect Your Skin

The threat from pollution is real and it is not getting any better any time soon. Protect your skin and your health by eating a high antioxidant diet, adding in select supplements, properly cleansing your skin and using products with ingredients specifically tested against the most common toxins in pollution. And, do what you can to re-use and re-cycle so we can restore our planet while we still have time.


Beautiful Skin and the Traveler

“Doing nothing gets you nowhere” 

This picture was taken when I traveled to Dubai last month. Work truly is pleasure!


I’ve always loved to travel and if you follow any of my posts on instagram, twitter or facebook you’ll know I travel a lot for work to lecture and serve on advisory boards. My love of travel goes way back to my childhood when as a little girl, my parents would pack up the three kids and take us away on family trips for work or fun as often as my dad could manage around his busy doctor schedule. The airport itself was as exciting as any destination we reached and we dressed up for the plane as if we were going to a party. Travel by car or train was just as exciting and the idea of an adventure always got my heart racing with excitment – the feeling has never worn off. It may have something to do with the fact that I still live in the same city and even in the same building where I was born and raised so I have the comfort and security of knowing where home is and that makes a new place, hotel and scene intriguing. Or maybe it’s just me.

As I sit here now, on a plane on my way home from a great dermatology meeting in Dubai, I can still feel the excitement of going to the airport, the thrill of the plane making its way down the runway, the exhilaration of takeoff, the soothing hum and rhythm of the cabin as it cradles it’s precious passengers and carries us miles above the earth giving us heavenly views of clouds and the land and sea below, taking me to or from a place I’ve heard so much about and have been looking forward to exploring. I love the work when I get there, I always learn as much as I teach, and I always leave myself time to walk and explore, and of course post pictures on my social media so I can share the experience and look back on the memories later myself too.

Everyone needs their beauty rest!

Adjusting to Time Zones

The one thing about travel that can be the most challenging is dealing with the havoc it wreaks on the skin. Totally not acceptable. Sounds superficial, I know, I’m used to it and I know better. I know it’s more than just skin deep and when I see tired travel-worn skin I know there’s way more going on below the surface and adjustments that need to be made to stay healthy in mind, body and skin in order to make the entire trip more productive and fun.

When I travel to different time zones, I do my best to transition to that time zone during the flight by planning my nap and awake times and adjusting the light to help me acclimate even before I arrive. I try to pick flights that optimize the process. It takes a little planning but makes all the difference in minimizing jet lag and getting the most out of the trip. This way I hit the ground running and can be the most productive when I work.

Staying Hydrated

Hydration is key. This means more water, less salt and less alcohol. I said it was important, I didn’t say it was fun. I also said less, not none. The longer the trip the more important this is. I’ve seen people whose feet and ankles swell to 3 or more times their size, and that can take days to resolve. Wearing compression socks can help along with leg elevation when possible, walking during the flight or stopping to walk if you’re in a car, and also doing flex and point foot exercise when sitting. And of course, I repeat, more water, less alcohol, less salt.

Packing for Your Skin

Preparing your skin for travel starts even before you leave the house. If you’re a last minute packer, I recommend making a skin-travel kit that’s always ready to go. Most of us notice our skin gets dry when we travel and if you’re prone to eczema or psoriasis this can trigger a flare. It’s especially important to have a great moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking water won’t make the outer layers less dry so you need to moisturize and hydrate the skin directly. If you have oily skin and break out, the stress of traveling can trigger a flare leaving you both oily and dehydrated at the same time. It’s not always easy to pack all your acne medications when you travel but it is important to maintain your routine to minimize any breakouts when you least want one.



The one thing you need to coordinate and organize ahead of time is a travel skin-care kit so you can avoid any skin catastrophes that might ruin your trip.

Carry-on (travel size):

  • Hand cream: can also be used on the body as needed
  • Pre-moistened cleansing cloths: test the brand ahead of time and look for one with cloths that are softer rather than abrasive on the skin
  • Sunscreen: a good tinted sunscreen can double as a foundation for travel purposes
  • Lip balm
  • Tissue
  • Nail file
  • Hair tie- scrunchy: they may be out of vogue for public use, but are perfect to keep your hair off your face on a long flight or car ride without pulling or stressing your hair
  • Antiperspirant
  • Airplane socks: a travel luxury, yet totally necessary. You can buy them at any drug store and enjoy warm, soft feet on the plane.
  • Eye cover and ear plugs: nothing says beautiful skin better than a good nights’ sleep, or a nap on the plane in this case (the baby screaming behind me was barely audible once my earplugs were in). Tip: noise cancelling headphones are good but may not be as comfortable for sleeping.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Avene water spray


It’s very helpful to have an emergency travel kit. This should include:

  • Cortisone cream: this will save you in a pinch if you get a pimple, bug bite or any irritation of the skin that leaves it red and itchy. When you travel, you come into contact with so many different materials your skin isn’t used to and this can be an issue for those with sensitive skin.
  • Zeasorb powder- this is great for shoes and the body for those who sweat when they travel. It is absorbent and will keep you dry and comfortable and will help prevent your feet and shoes from getting stinky, which will make you much more popular with your fellow travelers.
  • Benadryl: great to help you sleep and also good if you tend to have eczema or allergies that flare when you travel. Be careful not to take if you’re the driver. In other words, don’t “operate heavy machinery” after taking.
  • Ibuprofen or Aspirin: depending on what your stomach tolerates.
  • Cleanser, moisturizer, serum, prescriptions products from your dermatologist: it’s important to maintain your regular routine as much as possible.


Never count on the hotel soap or moisturizer to keep your skin healthy when away from home. Depending on the length of your trip you can pack a separate set of products for your trip or use the travel size from your carry on. I’m a master of packing so I take carry-on for almost every trip. When I do check in a bag, I go all out even adding my absolute favorite products and perfume – it almost makes it worth checking a bag. Almost.

Sign Off

We are almost into descent and time for me to sign off.  I had a great trip, so happy I planned ahead and made the most of the time. A little, simple planning made all the difference. I’m ready to get back to the office and see my patients, which is my greatest joy and passion.