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The Mass Media

Treating Winter Skin

On top of the commuting calamity that is winter in New England, the frigid air leads to some major backlash on our skin. Many of us struggle with dry patches and, worse, widespread acne breakouts.
Although the cold weather is finally loosening its death grip on the greater Boston area, many of us are still scrambling to hold down the fort as far as skincare goes.
I have always had a difficult time with dryness, while most of my friends deal with a combination of oily and dry skin. My skin has become a living nightmare this past winter with negative degree weather, high wind chill, and the collateral damage of stress and my daily makeup usage.
This year, I began heavily experimenting with products to not only fix the damage that has already been done, but to maintain some of the stability my skin has reached.
I have always been a little wary of products that claim to be good for your skin because many companies misrepresent themselves with clever word choice. However, in an act of slight desperation after a bad breakout, I picked up a thing or two from my friends and dished out a little extra cash to find products that have, in all honestly, completely turned my skin around.
Cleansing and Toning
First thing’s first: I’ve found that rotating products and “surprising” my skin each day tends to be most affective for my skin. So, I tend to alternate the cleansing products I use. I won’t list everything I rotate with, because I use a lot of sample products.
Obviously, the key to maintaining good skin is keeping it clean and completely taking off your makeup at the end of the day. It is not enough to just use a face wash – I recommend using actual makeup remover first and following up with a face wash.
1. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution, 250ml for $23.50
The one makeup remover I absolutely cannot live without is the Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution, or the Crealine H2O Micelle Solution in the original French packaging. I discovered this makeup remover by accident while in Montreal in 2013.
I have heard many great things about the product, and that it is even used by many professional make-up artists. After using it for the past two years without fail, I absolutely believe it. It is non-rinse, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic. You just soak a cotton ball in the water-like solution and it wipes away even waterproof makeup like it’s nothing.
2. Make Up For Ever Sens-Eyes, 3.38 oz for $24.00
Since my eyes are a little sensitive, however, I like to use a separate eye makeup remover applied with a Q-tip. My go-to, which has absolutely zero burn no matter how careless I am around my eyes, is the Make Up For Ever Sens-Eyes designed especially for waterproof makeup.  A little goes a long way!
3.  Murad Clarifying Cleanser, 6.75 oz for $26.00
One of my most favorite discoveries this winter was the Murad skincare brand sold at Sephora. After using make-up removers, I wash my face once with this clear, gel-like face wash. It contains 1.5% Salicylic Acid, a critical ingredient for acne control, and menthol, which burns when you first start using the wash but actually cools your skin down.
4. Murad Clarifying Toner, 6 oz for $22.00
Most nights I follow up my cleanser with this toner, which includes witch hazel to tighten your pores. The first night I used this toner, I was frightened by the burn—it has a very strong medicinal scent and though not painful, you’re definitely aware of it on your skin.
“I use the same product and I’ve found that it works a lot better if I only put it on certain problem areas,”  Sana Rashid, a sophomore at UMass Boston, added. “If I put it on my whole face, my skin gets irritated and dry. A little bit goes really far.”
My problem areas are particularly spread out, so I can usually get away with applying the toner to my whole face. The toner also works great as a final cleaner to make sure you got every last bit of makeup off.
Bonus Treatments
I consider bonus treatments anything that is not critical for every day use. On weeks that are especially bad, I use them nightly – but recommended use is only a couple times a week. 
As a side note, I try to avoid using my toner when I’m going heavy on the bonus treatments. It is easy to over-treat your skin and make matters worse!
1. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal mask, 3.4 oz for $25.00 
I am a big fan of facial masks, and I cannot sing my praises enough about the Origins Charcoal mask. Charcoal masks seem to be getting big – everyone I know is using one. Charcoal apparently absorbs up to a couple hundred times its weight in impurities, and white China clay, another active ingredient, has a similar affect. 
The crazy thing about this mask is that I see almost same day results. When I use the product consistently for a couple days, there is a huge reduction not only in blemishes, but in scars as well. I try to leave the mask on for as long as possible beforfe rinsing it off to get the full effect.
2. Oirigins Super Spot Remover, 0.3 oz for $15.50
I began using the Origins Charcoal mask at the same time as the Super Spot Remover, and I have never had such an effective combination. Again, I feel as though I saw immediate results with the spot remover.
All it takes is a small dab of the spot remover on any blemishes or scars. The remover dries quickly and actually burns quite a bit, so expect a little pain. You do not need to rinse off the spot remover, but your skin will feel tight, so applying moisturizer after the product is dry is a good move.
Moisturizers
1. Jergens Ultra Healing Lotion, 33 oz. for $7.99
I am normally the type to stay away from drugstore brands, largely because in most cases I feel that more costly products tend to do a better job. I have always used Jergens as a body moisturizer, though, and I have never had any complaints.
Since your skin is extra dry during the winter, however, face moisturizers do not always cut it. I recommend using a body moisturizer for your face after any treatments and right before you put on makeup.
2. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Day Cream, 50 ml for $22.00
Once when talking to a beautician at Sephora, I mentioned I have a problem with severely dry skin. She gave me an excellent suggestion that I have done every day since.
Take a really hydrating facial moisturizer and mix the tiniest drop with your foundation. I have found that not only does it keep your foundation looking extra fresh, but it adds one more layer of moisture that is always great for your skin.