Winter is officially here, out summer wardrobes are packed away and we’re reintroducing our sweaters to the world.
And it’s not just our wardrobes undergoing a transformation.
During the cooler months, our skin faces its own set of challenges. Chilly air plus dryness from indoor heat can wreak havoc. In the winter you may find your skin feeling dry, tight, or even painfully cracked.
Here we’ll delve into the intricate relationship between cold weather and your skin, cover the science behind those changes, and provide essential cold-weather tips and remedies based on your SkinSize™.
(Don’t know your SkinSize™ yet? Find it here.)
Read on for methods to keep your skin radiant and healthy in any weather. Say goodbye to winter skin woes and embrace the season with a glowing, well-nourished complexion.
First, let’s talk all things skin barrier.
The skin barrier is made up of the outermost cell layer of your skin (aka the stratum corneum). It’s comprised of dead skin cells that are compacted together with ceramides and cholesterol, creating a tight surface. The first layer of cells protects the inner cells from the outside world.
The skin barrier serves a dual purpose: shielding us from external irritants and preventing the loss of precious moisture that would otherwise evaporate from our skin.
A good gauge for your skin barrier’s health is the front of your legs. Are they cracked and dry?
Don’t worry if they are – plenty of people experience this in the winter. It can happen if you forget to moisturise, or if you take a hot shower after coming in from the cold.
If there’s dryness in the skin on your legs, trust that it’s the same for your face. The skin on your face is extra sensitive to harsh environmental factors, which is why moisturising is so important!
Most people need to increase their moisturiser use during winter. That goes double if you spend more time outside or live near the sea, where it’s windier.
If you normally use a light lotion, it might be a good idea to upgrade this to a richer cream moisturiser. Make sure it has ceramides and cholesterol to restore your skin’s barrier.
What does this mean for your SkinSize™?
SkinSizes™: 01 / 03 / 05 / 06 / 09 / 10
If you have one of these types and are prone to acne or rosacea, expect flare-ups during winter. These SkinSizes™ are more sensitive to extreme temperature changes, which triggers an inflammatory response.
Simply moving from cold weather outside into a hot room can change the vasodilation of your skin. This will lead to more flushing.
To keep flare-ups at bay, use lots of moisturiser and layer up while outside. When inside, try to keep your distance from the infrared heat that can come from heating systems.
SkinSizes™: 02/, 04/
These are drier skin types, which means switching to a rich moisturiser is best. To avoid clogged pores and ensure maximum hydration, try for creams with humectants rather than occlusive agents.
At night time, a high quality cleanser is a must. Clogged pores mean that you’re likely using the wrong products.
If you have acne or rosacea, it won’t necessarily get worse in winter. But like some other SkinSizes™, you may feel the effect of temperature changes. Extreme cold or heat, especially from indoor heating, can cause flushing or trigger flare-ups.
SkinSizes™: 07/, 08/, 11/, 12/
Even with your strong skin barrier, lower sebum levels can lead to an inflammatory response from extreme temperature changes.
Extra moisturiser and cozier winter layers will keep you protected indoors and out. And don’t get too close to that radiator!
How else to have healthy skin during winter?
Here are some extra tips from the Klira dermatology team on how to keep your skin happy during the colder months:
- If your skin is stinging or tender, stop using active products. Increase your moisturiser use and ensure that you are cleansing the skin properly before going back to active treatments.
- Cover up with hats and scarves – but look out for itchy fabric or restrictive material, and remove when indoors.
- Avoid any skincare that contains alcohol, especially exfoliants.
- Never use a physical exfoliant, no matter what the season.
- Prioritise silk as the material for least irritation (silk pillowcases are particularly helpful).