It’s well-known that cold weather can make your skin dry and itchy, but can it age it too? We take a look at the good - and the bad - effects of winter on your skin.
Cold weather makes your skin drier: lower humidity, stronger winds and lower temperatures all suck moisture out of your skin, leaving it looking rough and flaky. Dehydrated skin has an impaired barrier, less moisture and fewer natural oils, and is more sensitive to everyday irritants, so it is more likely to flare up in reaction to things like soap, shampoo, perfume and detergents.
Visible signs of dehydrated skin
Dry skin can certainly look ‘aged’ in comparison to well-hydrated skin; without all that vital moisture and natural lipids (fats), it isn’t as plump and supple as healthy skin. Wrinkles, cracks and roughness can all look exaggerated, which can have the effect of the skin looking older.
However, this is not true ‘ageing’; dry skin in winter may look different, even more wrinkly, to naturally normal or oily skin, but cold weather doesn’t itself cause wrinkles. That’s down to other things than cold, factors such as exposure to pollution or smoke, changes to skin structure and fat distribution as we age, repeated muscle movements that cause wrinkles, and most significant of all, sun exposure.
One thing that can have an indirect effect on the skin in winter is getting less vitamin D if you’re wearing more clothes and are outside less often. Vitamin D is vital to skin cell production, so it needs topping up if you’re living in colde, darker regions.
The good news about cold weather
On the plus side, colder weather does bring some good news for the skin! Firstly, you’re likely to get less sun exposure, and therefore experience less of the sun damage that causes ageing.
You’re also less likely to get flare-ups triggered by sweat or heat. Cold can lessen the effects of inflammation, and reduce puffiness. You’re also more likely to get a good night’s sleep when the nights are cooler, and sleep is very important to healthy, calm skin.
For acne sufferers, cold weather can act as an astringent, closing pores and regulating the production of sebum.
What can you do to protect your skin?
There are several things you can do if you’re worried about the effects of cold weather on your skin. Here’s some tips to keep it looking healthy and hydrated!
- Use an oil-based, unfragranced moisturiser every day
- Feed your skin with regenerative oils, such as rosehip or sea buckthorn
- Make sure you get enough omega fats in your diet
- Supplement with vitamin D
- Keep central heating low
- Invest in a humidifier
- Use sunscreen, whatever the temperature
- Stop smoking
Recommended products for winter skin:
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Bath & Body Oil
with lavender, hemp and olive
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.