Is winter getting the better of your skin? Dry skin not only leads to itchy, flakey skin and doesn’t allow makeup to play nicely together, but it also accentuates fine lines and wrinkles. One product you need in your arsenal at all times is a hyaluronic gel, which plumps the skin and adds moisture deep in the the dermis. It feels like a really light jelly and instantly makes your face look brighter, smoother and plump.It also feels fantastic on skin that has recently had peel or laser treatment. Or wind burnt skin. Or really, any time your skin feels dry and tight.

I’ve tried several and these two are my favorites.

Dermaquest Advanced B5 Serum, $69. This gel formula uses B5 and hyaluronic acid to penetrate the skin at a cellular level, providing much needed moisture, while making the skin look fresh and younger.

JF Aesthetic HP Gel, $99.  This lightweight gel contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin. Apply to damp skin for best results.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel , $70, uses B-5 and hyaluronic acid to moisturize, calm and plump fine lines.

Another way to combat winter skin is to gently exfoliate the skin so dry skin doesn’t accumulate on the surface, making skin look older, dull and uneven. You can do this in one or two ways; manual or chemical exfoliation. Some retinols, or chemical exfoliants, can be very strong and irritate the skin further, so choosing the right retinol can be tricky, especially if you have sensitive skin.

While I’ve tried quite a few, my favorite for times when my skin is sensitive is definitely  JF Aesthetic R●nol 20 Serum, $99. This serum feels like water when applied to the skin. Honestly, I wondered if my press sample had been baited and switched. There was no traditional retinol feeling or scent and nothing felt warm or tingled. It felt just like water was being applied to the skin. In actuality, it’s a medical-grade serum that contains the highest amount of retinol allowed without a prescription. Yet it feels like water. I never had any kind of negative reaction to this, which has happened to me lately when I test stronger products. All I got was refreshed, brighter skin!

If you are looking for a serious at-home micro-dermabrasion option, (manual exfoliation), check out DDF’s new Revolve 400X Micro-Polishing System. It involves a motorized brush (think mini-Clarisonic), different brush heads and a special polishing gel. Unlike other similar products, this brush completes 400 rotations per per minute. You can use it up to two times per week and your skin feels very smooth, very fast. I didn’t find it to be too harsh at all and have been incredibly pleased with how soft and smooth my skin is since I’ve been using the Revolve 400X. It couldn’t be easier. You wash your face, apply a thin layer of the gel, which includes very fine granules, and use the rubber pad to massage your face. Afterwards, you rinse and your skin is glowing. It’s not as abrading as other systems I’ve tried. But since it rotates in a complete circle, it pulls strongly in one direction. Be very careful using this on your cheek, as a klutz like me could easily have it jump on to your eye if you aren’t being very careful. Other than the strong rotational pull of the brush,  I’ve been really, really pleased with the results! It also comes with a cleansing brush head that can be used with your favorite cleanser and can be used at two different speeds. Not too shabby for $98.

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