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Celebrity Skincare Guru, Kate Somerville, Talks Cold Weather Skincare

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Photo courtesy of Kate Somerville

It’s no secret that winter weather can wreak havoc on our skin. Dropping temperatures can mean dull, dry, and even severely-irritated complextions. That’s why we tapped celebrity skincare expert Kate Somerville (Ahem, Jessica Alba, Debra Messing, Olivia Wilde, and MaryKate Olsen) to get her most important winter skincare tips to help us keep looking our best all year long.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, how you got into the business, and what you love about what you do.
“Growing up, I had horrible eczema all over my body. I looked for different remedies to solve my own skin issues. I got into skincare because I knew what it was like to feel uncomfortable in your own skin. It really does affect your self-esteem—it affects everything, actually. That’s what gave me the compassion to make this my career. Skincare is my calling! When I began my education in the field of esthetics over 20 years ago, I knew I wanted to focus on skin health. My goal was to create my own clinic where you could experience clinic-level results, but in a comfortable, beautiful environment. A place where we would not only change skin, but also empower men and women to take control of their lives and help them achieve their skin-health goals! Every product I have is developed from a real need that I see in my clinic, and they are all tested and proven by our nurses and estheticians to ensure they’re delivering real results! I developed my product line because I can’t see everyone personally, but through my products, I can help people see real results in their skin.”

What are some common skin problems people experience in fall/winter?
“Skin is dryer during the colder months, so use more hydrating formulas in your serums and moisturizers. Winter is when you want to do the work—getting rid of the damage done during the summer months. I use a lot more peels, glycolic, lactic, enzymes, and retinols during winter. I up all my clients on their usage of retinols and peeling products during winter and have them use a heavier moisturizer. My new DermalQuench Liquid Lift + Retinol Advanced Resurfacing Treatment is a gentle way to increase retinol usage, as it’s hydration coupled with retinol—key for winter! PFC oxygen carriers bring retinol into deep layers of skin where it’s needed, without giving surface burn.”

What are the products we should be using during the chillier months? 
“My three steps to beautiful skin, no matter the season are: Exfoliate, hydrate, and moisturize! Dry skin is dead skin cells, so you need to exfoliate! People are often weary to exfoliate when their skin is feeling dry. Look for exfoliating formulas with fruit enzymes, like pumpkin, pineapple or papaya enzymes, like found in my ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment. These gently dissolve dead skin. Stay away from products containing sharp nuts or seeds, because they can actually damage skin. Hydration is all about hyaluronic acid and moisturization, which seals in hydration (use a moisturizer specific for your skin type). Hyaluronic acid is water-based and really thin, so it will evaporate unless you to seal it in with a lipid, aka moisturizer.”

What’s your personal holy grail product?
“Coconut oil is so versatile and great, especially for the chiller, winter months. I cook with it, add it into my DIY hair mask, and even rub into my skin before I get out of the shower.”

What about makeup?
Benefit Blush, Chanel Lip Gloss, and my IllumiKate CC Cream SPF 50. I like my makeup and skin looking fresh and youthful. ”

What’s the #1 “don’t” when it comes to skincare?
“Don’t forget your SPF during the winter months! Many people think it’s safe to forgo sun protection during the winter months because the sun rays are not as powerful. Not true! You should never leave the house without applying sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30. Even in the winter and on cloudy days. I recommend looking for sunscreens with ingredients that contain either physical or chemical blocks and always look for broad spectrum protection, which means protection from all UV rays.”

What’s the #1 “do”?
“Exfoliate! Exfoliation should be a part of every skincare regimen. If you’re in your 20s, exfoliate twice per week. In your 30s, 3 times. 40s and above, up to four times (depending on skin type). Exfoliation is really important because it lifts dry, dull skin and allows products to penetrate and work more effectively. For those with sensitive skin, I recommend exfoliating with lactic acid because it dissolves the dead top layer of skin without causing irritation. Lactic acid is mild and gentle, yet super effective—plus it helps with textural issues. Try my ExfoliKate Gentle. Dry brushing is a great way to exfoliate the body. It also promotes circulation and stimulates your lymphatic system.”

Any non-product things that have changed/saved your skin? 
“I’m a bath person. I take a warm bath every morning. Taking daily baths has helped me to keep my eczema under control. If I’ve been working out or feel sore, I add epsom salts. There’s a store in Santa Barbara called Salt, and they carry exotic salts that I use in my bath. They have a salt cave that you can go sit in, and it’s absolutely amazing!”

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