Our skin changes with the seasons, so it isn’t uncommon to to feel that your skin is sometimes more oily, inflamed or dry. But why does your skin look worse in winter months?
Cold weather, with its low relative humidity, and indoor healing reduces skin moisture. In addition, with the cold weather, the skin's blood capillaries constrict, preventing the proper delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the dermis. And, the cells of the epidermis, which is the layer that suffers most from the lack of hydration, are not renewed as fast as usual and dead cells accumulate. The result? Dull, dry, flaky skin, as well as winter itching.
Taking care of your skin health is important not only because it is our calling card, but above all because it performs many of the body's essential functions. It protects us from external agents, such as bacterias and viruses, and from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, which damage our cells. Among other things, it helps us to eliminate certain bodily wastes and regulates our body temperature.
No skin type is spared from the effects of winter cold. That's why we give you some tips to protect your skin in winter and make it look radiant, youthful and healthy skin.
10 tips for protecting your skin in the cold weather
- Apply moisturizer daily and several times a day. At this time of the year, cream or petroleum-based moisturizers are better than lotions for normal to dry skin, as they give you deep hydration. In case of sensitive skin, pick a moisturizer without fragrance or lanolin. Remember to carry a hand cream and lip balm with you and moisturize your lips as well. This is essential for people suffering from skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.
- Avoid abrupt changes in temperature. While it may be tempting to crack up the heat against the cold weather, keep your home at a reasonable temperature. Experts recommend an indoor temperature between 20 to 23°C.
- Take warm showers instead of hot water. Although a hot shower or baths can sound great in winter, it removes natural oils. Dermatologists recommend showering with warm water for no more than 10 minutes, as this dries out the skin. And, don’t forget to apply moisturizer after bathing.
- Don't overdo the hand washing. Too much cleansing can dry out the skin. Try to use mild products, if possible without sulfates. In the case of people who have to wash their hands constantly for work reasons, the use of gloves is recommended.
- Protect yourself from the wind. Wear gloves and soft, natural, loose-fitting warm clothing to prevent skin irritation. In addition to protecting you from dry wind, they keep you warm.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Increase your intake of vitamins C and minerals through fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, kiwis, peppers and broccoli. Not only are they necessary for healthy skin, but they also boost your immune system. Also, remember to drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day.
- Keep away from tobacco and alcohol. Both substances generate free radicals that negatively affect the health of your skin. In addition, alcohol enlarges the blood vessels causing facial redness.
- Protect yourself from the winter sun. Sunscreen is not only for summer, experts recommend its use on a daily basis. Use sunglasses, especially if you are in areas with snow, since it reflects 80% of solar radiation.
- Humidify the environment. Dry air absorbs moisture from the skin, contributing to dryness and itching. Using a humidifier in your home can be a great help not only for your skin, but also for your nose and throat. It’s important to clean it frequently, as bacteria can proliferate in stagnant water.
- Take supplements.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) is found in many tissues, such as the skin, and is essential in maintaining its hydration. Hyaluronic cid supplements help increase HA production and stimulate cell proliferation of fibroblasts, which are the cells that produce collagen. Scientific studies have shown that HA supplements improve skin hydration.
- In addition, new research places omega-3 fatty acid supplements as a valuable option in dermatology due to their anti-inflammatory effect in skin conditions and UV radiation photoprotection.
En caso de presentar alguna alteración en la piel que te preocupe, no dudes en consultar a tu dermatólogo.
- Hidratación o nutrición: ¿Qué es lo que tu piel necesita? - AEDV (2015) Academia Española de Dermatología y Venereología. Disponible en: https://aedv.es/comunicacion/notas-de-prensa/hidratacion-o-nutricion-que-es-lo-que-tu-piel-necesita/
- Kawada, C. et al. (2014) “Ingested hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin,” Nutrition journal, 13(1), p. 70. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-70.
- Thomsen, B. J., Chow, E. Y. and Sapijaszko, M. J. (2020) “The potential uses of omega-3 fatty acids in dermatology: A review,” Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 24(5), pp. 481–494. doi: 10.1177/1203475420929925.