I'm lying on my couch, last night's teased hair scraped back into an impromptu bun, dosed up on DayQuil and doing my best to feel beautiful. It has been a crazy week of excessive caffeination and nowhere near enough water (beauty's #1 friend). Seriously, I feel like I have been through a war.
This happens to me every time the seasons change. The temperatures dart up and down, my immune system goes nuts and I end up sniffling incessantly. A couple of DayQuil capsules cure that quickly, but I always find those medicines dry me out like crazy. My skin ends up looking sallow and all the moisture gets sucked out of my lips. It is, simply put, kinda gross. Does that happen to you, too?
Even before I was popping DayQuil with alarming regularity, I started to get anxious about the change of seasons. It can be rough on the old face, for sure. Chilly breezes plus extremely hot radiators and super-hot showers all wreak havoc on how we look, let alone feel. I knew I wanted to do something preventative, so I trotted up to Union Square Dermatology, the office of amazing dermatologist Dr Anne Chapas (who, incidentally, has amazing skin).
My treatment of choice was a pumpkin peel -- how October! Pumpkin peels use enzymes to do all the work, which makes it a much better treatment than a glycolic peel if you have sensitive skin. The goal is to leave the room with fewer lines and better skin clarity, otherwise known as looking younger.
As I lay on the table, face a-tingling, I thought, "I can't believe I am so festive that I've actually smeared pumpkin all my face!"
It was a very quick process, and when I got up and looked in the mirror, I couldn't see much difference. The next day, though, I noticed that the lines on my face looked softer and less pronounced. My skin was clearer and brighter, and I was so happy!
In case you don't have the time or money to go lie on a table somewhere and be pampered, never fret! There are lots of easy, quick treatments you can perform at home which will give you a similarly fabulous effect.
My first suggestion would be to make your own pumpkin peel! This is so easy: just combine two teaspoons of canned or cooked pureed pumpkin, 1/4 teaspoon of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of honey. Combine them in a cup, wash your face as usual, and then apply the mixture to your dry skin. Don't put it in your eyes, that's just silly. Leave this lovely goopy mess on your face for about 15 minutes, then wash it off gently with warm water, and moisturize.
Your skin will be more sensitive to sunshine after this, so -- even though I know you wear sunscreen EVERY DAY! -- be sure that you apply a little more of it than usual for the next couple of days.
One of my new favorite skincare discoveries is peel pads. This is usually an AHA or glycolic solution on a cotton pad. I love them because they're so foolproof: You know you're using the right amount, and you simply slap yourself around the face with them and then get on with your life.
I'm currently using Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads, which are 10% glycolic acid complex and 2% salicylic acid. They're good for acne or problem skin, they work to minimize pores, and they have "anti-aging benefits," whatever that means. What I can tell you is that when I use these, I can actually see the difference. You would hope so, too, because they aren't cheap!
Dr Dennis Gross has an Extra Strength Alpha Beta® Peel product, for which the reviews are excellent. You could also try the Bliss That's Incredi-Peel! Spa-Strength Glycolic Resurfacing Pads.
Use these kinds of products at night, after you wash your face, and before putting on a superbly rich moisturizer.
If you're a little more traditional, you could go the ultra-strength serum route. Again, this is something you apply at night. Kate Somerville's Quench Hydrating Face Serum is a cult product, and Peter Thomas Roth's Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Serum is a life-saver, too.
You don't necessarily have to do all these things if you don't want to, but do be aware that when it gets colder and drier, your skin's needs will likely change. I use completely different skincare in summer and winter. Do you do the old switcheroo when the seasons change? What are your favorite anti-aging products?