Beauty

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A Top Dermatologist on How to Layer Moisturizers (by Skin Type)

In the radiator-parched, withered-feeling days of winter, more is definitely more when it comes to skin care. It’s not about slapping on every product in the medicine cabinet, however. Instead, top New York dermatologist Robert Anolik has given us a focused plan by skin type.

While we love daily serums—for brightening, fine-line smoothing, reining in breakouts, and more—Anolik says to consider them a base layer in the winter. “Serums are thin, fast-absorbing liquids that make an excellent delivery mechanism for bioactive molecules,” he says. “But I wouldn’t rely on a serum for all my moisture.” Anolik, a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, explains how to combine our favorite hardworking serums with thicker, more emollient moisturizers and sunscreens (the latter provide an added bit of hydration) for the perfect cocktail to leave any skin type dewy, plump, and glowy-healthy all winter long.

Skin Type: Oily

For those of us who are more prone to breakouts or who generally have shinier skin, Anolik advises starting with a lightweight serum, like a hyaluronic-acid-based one, for instantly plumping moisture without excess oil. “There’s a misconception that oily skin types don’t need extra hydration,” he says. “It can also feel as though serums are moisturizing enough on their own, but often that sense is coming from soothing ingredients. On the whole, they aren’t enough for our skin in cooler, drier winter temperatures.” Accordingly, he recommends something thicker (preferably with soothing, noncomedogenic ingredients) to follow, along with mineral sunscreen.

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Skin Type: Dry

Anolik recommends layering several serums if your skin needs a major dose of hydration. “Keep the texture in mind when it comes to order,” he says. “Apply the thinnest products first.” But again, serums leave skin only slightly more moisturized, so for dry skin, finishing with a rich, thick cream is essential. Follow that combination with creamy mineral SPF.

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Skin Type: Sensitive

If you regularly battle irritation and redness, winter makes for an even more uncomfortable skin situation. First, Anolik says, cut out known aggressors: “Ease up on exfoliation in the winter if you have sensitive skin—you just don’t need to do it as frequently.” Second, make sure that your products are free of fragrance and other irritants. Equally important is adding in soothing extracts—coconut oil is a favorite of Anolik’s, as is niacinamide (known as B3, and a key ingredient in Marie Veronique’s glowifying serum). Anolik suggests following with a lotion designed to calm skin, plus a layer of mineral SPF (all-mineral formulas are especially important if your skin is sensitive, as chemical sunscreen ingredients are some of the most irritating compounds used in the beauty industry).

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