Winter may be on its way out, but for many, saying goodbye to cold weather means falling under the weather one last time. As if being sick wasn't enough, your skin takes a beating too. Dehydration sets in (thanks in part to over-the-counter cold medicines), and all signs of life drain from our complexions.
By the time our bodies are on the mend, we're left with parched skin, red patches and a complexion befitting of an extra on The Walking Dead. To help whip our skin back into shape, we talked to E! Style Collective contributor Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a New York-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Columbia University Medical Center for post-sickness skin care tips.
Cleanse gently: "Taking long, warm steam showers can help open sinuses," MacGregor said. "Be sure to avoid gels, foams or abrasive agents when washing your face and use a gentle hydrating cleanser instead." Since soap can strip skin of its moisture, try an oil or cream cleanser, like By Terry Cellularose Nutri-Pure Comforting Balm Cleanser to hydrate while you clean.
Feed your skin nutrients: Vitamin C isn't just good for the body, the antioxidant can help brighten the face. "Along with sunscreen, morning antioxidants are essential," MacGregor said. To help revitalize peaked skin post-flu, apply an antioxidant-rich serum stuffed with skin-treating ingredients like Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Firming Serum, which contains rosehips, carrot, lemon, sweet orange and grapefruit along with vitamin C.
Keep skin hydrated: "Immediately after the shower, reach for hydrating moisturizers with hyaluronic acid and ceramide to lock moisture into the skin," advised MacGregor. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion is made with these ingredients plus soothing niacinamide, something MacGregor also recommended to help calm the skin.
Protect with SPF: No matter how rundown you feel, sunscreen is a must if driving, sitting near a window or heading outdoors (no matter how dismal the weather). After being sick, MacGregor suggested using a hydrating sunscreen (like SkinMedica TNS Daily Moisturizer) to protect skin and nurture it back to health.
Lay off the retinoids: "It is best to skip your retinoid for a few nights, particularly if you have irritation around the nose from frequent nose blowing," MacGregor advised. Instead, treat red and cracked skin with a skin-mending salve, such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment. "It can help heal irritation around the nose," she added.
The best way to tackle sick days? By returning back to work looking better than ever.
By Terry Cellularose Nutri-Pure Comforting Balm Cleanser, $68, available at Bloomingdale's; The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Firming Serum, $160, available at The Organic Pharmacy; CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion, $14, available at Ulta; SkinMedica TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer, $88, available at SkinMedica; Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $7, available at Target