Don't be a Flake

January 11th, 2010

I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves the whistling of an old radiator heater. It’s a comforting sound that’s reminds me of being a kid, settling into my cozy bed on a chilly New England night, feety PJs in full effect. That whistle meant a toasty flow of warm air was on its way.

It’s also a sneaky siren. Calling your moisture. Just a quick whistle and whisk! It’s gone.

Let’s face it. Literally. Winter temperatures went down and your skin dried up. Spring isn’t on the horizon for months and your face is a lackluster reminder of scraping ice off windshields and winds that cut through the heaviest of coats.

Through proper care, winter’s woes melt away and uncover a fresh glow for spring.

Winter’s Rough Stuff

The combo of cold weather with cozy fireplaces and heaters leads to dry flaky skin, a virtual keratin desert. Dry air, both indoors and out, literally pulls moisture out of your skin. Read: you’re flaky.

Exfoliation is the key to spring recovery. Thick skinned? Try a Vitamin A peel or microdermabrasion. If you have a softer side, enzyme or fruit acid peels are better for more sensitive skin. Begin with once-a-week treatments, increasing to twice a week as spring approaches. Check out:

Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel

la prairie Cellular Microdermabrasion Cream (This one is my fave, and yes, it’s stupidly expensive…but it has diamonds, fresh water pearls and quartz crystals, woman!)

Maximize Moisture

Good moisturizers provide not only rehydration but nourishment and cell protection. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types until you find one that suites you. Look for one with humectants, which grab onto water and hold it to the skin. Hyaluronic acid is one of the best, holding up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water. Other natural humectants include Vitamin E and panthenol, a form of Vitamin B5.

If you’re hesitant to moisturize because your skin tends to be oily, be aware that you can be oily and still be dehydrated.


With higher concentrations of nourishing ingredients, think of serums as moisturizers kicked up a notch. Look for ones that boast Omega 3-rich essential fatty acids such as evening primrose oil or borage seed. Or silicone, another emollient that creates a breathable barrier—oxygen in, no water out.

Mom always said take your vitamins. Listen to the woman. Detoxify and undo what winter with skincare products containing antioxidants like Vitamin C and E. They heal, support cell growth and pave the way for Vitamin A (Retinol, Retin-A) products that stimulate collagen growth. The result is even-colored and toned skin. Check out:

Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum Collagen Booster

Pur~lisse preserve age-delay serum

GoldFaden Stem Cell Serum

What to Avoid

Products you shun during your recovery routine are just as crucial as those you treasure. Avoid products with alcohol, witch hazel, and salicylic and glycolic acids. And bye bye squeaky clean. See you never. Squeak equals no more natural oils. Avoid any cleansing products with detergents, like sodium laurel sulfate. Instead wash with gels or creams, not bar soaps. Sure you don’t get as many bubbles but you’ll get thanks from your healthy skin.

Here’s a great video by Dr. Neal Schultz (a well-known Park Ave derm) on how to deflake yourself…

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6 Responses to “Don't be a Flake”

  1. stacy says:

    do you like the juice beauty line? ive never used it but i want input from someone whos used it. but i dont know anyone. have you? im on the fence about the whole organic/natural/synthetic beauty product thing.

  2. Cheryl says:

    i do like some of the Juice Beauty line (this peel, for instance). I will say that some of their products do kinda smell a little oddly, and I can’t stand their serums (very liquidy, a drawback to organic ingredients). a few other organic lines that are good: Pangea (, Ole Henriksen (not sure if they are 100% organic), Origins (they have a good 95% organic cleanser available at macy’s).

  3. Mary says:

    I swear by the Ole Henriksen serum. Also had good luck with Roc microdermabrasion pads (thanks Cheryl!) for refining skin tone when the winter blahs hit. Still looking around for a winter moisturizer – turning 40 has increased the need for moisture, but without removing the breakouts – ack!

    BTW: you rule!

  4. Hi Cheryl,

    Great article. I just wanted to quickly chime in on the organic ingredient comments.

    The only difference between organic ingredients and non-organic ingredients is that there are no chemicals, pesticides, or other harmful aspects to natural ingredients. This does not impact consistency, as in “liquidy” serums – most likely their serums are more runny because of their formula and the ratio of their ingredients. For example, the first ingredient in Juice’s Blemish Clearing Serum is apple juice – Smoothing serum is white grape juice.

    Please don’t confuse formulation choices for drawbacks to organic ingredients.


  5. Cheryl says:

    completely agree! thanks for your comments.

  6. I really liked your article and look forward to your next story. Thanks alot keep up the great writing.

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