Wet, Grey West Coast
Challenge Vancouver is probably the best place in the country to weather the winter, skin-wise, but West Coasters don’t get a free pass, says Dr. Marcie Ulmer, a dermatologist at Pacific Dermaesthetics. “Indoor heating still dries out skin, which makes it dull and flaky.”
Intervention Exfoliation is your best chance at mustering a midwinter glow. Dr. Ulmer recommends professional microdermabrasion sessions (from $150), during which a tool polishes away the uppermost layer of skin and vacuums up the dead cells, clearing clogged pores.
Prevention While burning UVB rays are weaker during the winter, deep-penetrating UVA rays are ever-present even on the greyest days. Dr. Ulmer suggests adding an antioxidant- and nutrient-rich serum with vitamin C before an SPF 30 moisturizer. “Think of antioxidants as sunscreen superchargers,” she says. “They help prevent and treat sun damage by protecting skin cells from the oxidative stress caused by UV light.”
Dry, Frigid Prairies
Challenge Prairie air holds very little moisture, so even hearty complexions can become sensitive and red, says W SkinCare founder Lorinda Zimmerman (Hollywood A-listers fly in to her Vancouver and Toronto clinics just for her cold laser treatments). “I see clients from Calgary and Edmonton, and they have the highest rates of rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.”
Intervention Zimmerman swears by low-level laser therapy ($150–$300), which dials up cellular renewal and collagen production. The no-pain procedure makes for a firm, dewy face and can also help heal skin affected by rosacea and eczema. It’s often paired with a half-hour of microdermabrasion, but Zimmerman suggests Prairie dwellers steer clear of that add-on come winter. “It’s just too much for sensitive skin to handle.”
Prevention Zimmerman favours serum-moisturizer duos for winter, like the rich and firming Bio Jouvance Caviar Age Defying Serum ($84) and Cream ($90).
Challenge Icy gusts that sweep the East Coast can cause chapping and broken capillaries. “Think about when you hang your laundry out,” says Dr. Rob Miller, a Halifax-based dermatologist and a professor at Dalhousie University. “If you’ve got a nice wind going, it dries a lot faster.”
Intervention Come winter, he sees a surge in demand for intense pulsed light photorejuvenation ($250–$500), which evens out skin tone and tackles broken blood vessels. During an IPL treatment, a flash of light penetrates the skin and causes blood vessels below its surface to constrict, thereby reducing redness. The procedure is best done at the height of winter paleness so skin isn’t immediately re-exposed to the sun’s strongest rays.
Prevention “Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize,” says Dr. Miller, who likes CeraVe products—they’re packed with ceramides, lipids that help skin retain hydration.