Winter Skin Issues and Health Tips
December 26, 2017
Cold weather can be rough on the skin. Even if your skin is perfect nine months out of the year, winter can cause you to crack and itch. It’s unfortunate, but, like a cold, it’s just a fact of winter. When the weather is cold, your skin will suffer. However, it can be combated. All you need is an understanding of why and how the winter affects your skin.
How cold weather affects your skin
Cold weather has five major aspects that lead to negative effects on your skin. The first is low humidity. As the weather begins to cool off in the autumn and winter, humidity levels drop significantly. Humidity on both ends of the spectrum can be bad for your skin. High humidity in warm weather will cause your sweat pores to be more active, leaving you more prone to breakouts. However, in the winter the combination of low humidity and cold weather can cause your skin to dry out as the air sucks more moisture from you.
Indoor heating won’t do your skin any favors, either. Most heaters will cause what little moisture is in the air to evaporate, lowering the humidity even further. Of course, this will worsen the effect of the cold weather on your skin.
If you’re noticing your skin becoming reddish, or even coping with broken blood vessels, it is likely due to rapid temperature changes. Even if the temperature change is only a few degrees, going from cold weather to a warm, heated house can put stress on your blood vessels. As they contract and expand to cope with the temperature change, there is an increased risk for breakage and more room for them at the surface of your skin.
Cold winter weather is actually better for people who are prone to breaking out with acne. Reasonably, the drier skin and closed-off pores caused by low humidity should be more resistant to oils. However, the common winter diet can easily reverse this effect. Teen Vogue broke it down well:
- Baked goods, such as Christmas cookies, are loaded with sugars which attach themselves to proteins and create “advanced glycation end product.” That end product will lead to saggy, dried out skin, and leave you more prone to breakouts.
- Fatty protein found in cheese will leave your skin puffy and dark, especially around the eyes.
- Eggnog lovers would be remiss to learn that dairy can increase the rate of oil production, also leading to more breakouts.
It’s remarkable that Santa’s cheeks remain rosy with the number of cookies and milk he consumes, and anyone less jolly should not expect the same.
Finally, you should watch out for the wind. While wind has been shown to have an effect on the skin, dermatologists aren’t entirely sure what it is. “Windburn,” as it’s commonly known, has a very loose medical definition. One of the few agreed-upon aspects of windburn is that wind can be a direct irritant to the skin. This causes layers to get removed, leaving your skin more exposed to the elements.
Winter skin care tips
If you want to brush up on your skincare for the winter, you’ll be happy to learn that it isn’t difficult to keep your skin looking good. Most of the effects of cold weather on your skin can be easily solved with a moisturizer. Moisturizer will not only reverse the drying effect of low humidity but will also leave your skin more protected against oils and irritation. If you don’t already have a moisturizer in your skincare routine, this Healthline article works as a wonderful guide to finding a healthy one.
Summer skincare products may need to go out the window, especially if you’re treating acne. Acne products often have a drying agent in them, which is great in high humidity. However, in low humidity, further drying out your skin will lead to an increase in oil production. If you want to stay acne-free, you should be using a moisturizer and a gentle, hydrating cleanser.
Finally, consider trying a diet this winter. As mentioned above, what you eat can have a huge effect on your skin. You can use this to your advantage by changing your diet to help take care of any skincare issues you may have.
Cold weather in the winter is rough on the skin, but it is not the common cold: you can easily prevent and combat it. A good skin care routine and understanding of risks will keep you glowing this winter.