Winter is here, and so is rain, snow, wind, and a number of harsh conditions that can seriously affect our skin health and appearance. Cold weather causes a series of reactions on the skin that you need to counter if you want to show a radiant and glowing complexion throughout the whole winter.
WINTER SKIN DAMAGE
No matter how many layers of warm clothes you wear from feet to head. When the temperatures drop, your skin moisture drops with them. Dryness is the most evident consequence of cold weather on the skin. While high summer temperatures make your skin produce more oil, cold weather has the opposite effect.
Low temps are accompanied by less humidity outdoors and dry environments produced by heating and fires indoors. This temperature fluctuation plus the wind and other outdoor stressors can cause irritation and inflammation. To al this, we have to add the fact that we drink less water in winter. The result is poorer skin hydration, that is, dry, flaky, and itchy skin.
On the other hand, skin microcirculation is also affected by the cold. Under low temperatures, the skin capillaries constrict in order to reduce the blood flow through the skin. It helps to maintain the body temperature and the capillaries will go back to normal after the exposure. Nevertheless, these alterations in skin microcirculation can cause facial redness, telangiectasia or spider angioma.
The effects of the above-mentioned external stressors plus the friction of clothes against the skin can eventually damage the hydrolipidic barrier. This hydrolipidic barrier, also known as the acid mantle, is a layer made of naturally occurring oils and lipids that are necessary to maintain skin balance and protect it from external stressors. Disruption of the acid mantle makes the skin more vulnerable to all the winter stressors, thus falling into a spiral in which the skin will be less capable of recovering itself from continual aggression and loss of moisture.
WINTER SKIN CARE
To minimize the effects of winter on the skin and prevent the characteristic dryness that comes with it, we highly recommend adapting your skincare routine to the new season. Here you have some tips:
- Use a gentle skin cleanser.
Try to use a soft skin cleanser with milder surfactants and fewer fragrances to help to preserve the hydrolipidic barrier that gets thinner and more fragile in winter. For your hands, cleaning them often with hand sanitizer nowadays is a must. To reduce the drying effects of alcohol-based sanitizers, moisturize your hands more often.
- Enhance your skin moisture.
Reinforce your skin moisture in your skincare routine. You can use a thicker day cream in winter, add a moisturizing serum to your regime, or apply a moisturizing mask more often. The options are endless.
We highly recommend boosting vitamin C in your skin using INNO-EXFO Bio C once in a while. It will prepare your skin for the cold season.
Don’t forget to moisturize your lips frequently, and drink plenty of water!
- Humidify the environment.
It is a good idea to counteract the air dryness caused by heating devices by using a humidifier at home. It will make the ambience more bearable for your skin.
- Avoid too hot showers.
I know you will hate me for this one, but a long steamy shower is not good for your skin. Hot water damages the acid mantle and weakens the skin barrier. It can lead to dry skin or worsen it if you already have it. Lukewarm water showers are much more advisable.
- Apply sunscreen all year round.
UVR does not magically disappear in winter. Keep in mind that solar radiation can damage your skin even on cloudy days and cause photoaging. For more info on this, check our article: PHOTOAGING: WHY AND HOW SUN EXPOSURE ACCELERATES THE SKIN AGING PROCESS.
Furthermore, the snow reflects the sun rays up to 80 % – a lot more than sand or water at the beach – so use a stronger sunblock if you go to the mountain.