We take a look at what happens to your skin in winter and some of the best ways to combat the effects of dry and cracked skin as a result of cold weather.

 

Woman blowing snowImage Credit: Pexels

Christmas is scarcely over a month away, which means we have something to look forward to and think about in the cold and harsh winter months.

Unfortunately, there are other things that we are really not looking forward to, and some that we are not so excited about - such as dry and cracked skin.

As such, we’ve put together a guide packed with all the necessary precautions on how to keep on top of your daily winter skin care routine, and how to adjust it to cope with the bitterly cold winds and rain.

So, let’s take a closer look at some of the things you can be doing…

Avoid Long Hot Showers

 

Woman on a showerImage Credit: Pexels

 

Whilst hot showers might seem like a practical idea during the cold, dark winter months, they actually do our skin far more harm than good.

Among the many skincare revelations that have emerged in the last few years, along with the fact that a poor diet is bad for your skin, this is one of the most inconvenient truths and one of those that people are often rather unwilling to compromise on.

Unfortunately, that does little to change the fact that those 10 minutes under a hot shower that we enjoy every morning and / or evening might make us feel a whole lot better, but they are really doing far more harm than good.

Despite the feel-good qualities of using hot water, it will dry out the skin and leave it feeling taut, sensitive and itchy. This can have particularly negative effects if you forget to apply moisturiser after getting out of the shower.

This same point applies for long hot baths as well, which not only means your skin is directly exposed to hot water for an overly long period of time and normally means that you are soaking in some kind of soap or product, which is also going to cause your skin problems.

Whilst it is touted for its germ killing abilities and often considered the best way to get ourselves clean, hot water isn’t great for our skin, it’s far better to have shorter showers in luke-warm or even cold water to save our skin in the long run.

The optimal time to use a moisturiser is within five minutes of having showered, as that is when your skin is able to absorb the most moisture, so make the most of this time to help your skin.

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate

We have long extolled the virtues of regular exfoliation. That’s to say that we know how much of a difference it can make and strongly believe in its skin-restoring powers.

Whilst it’s something that really you should be doing all year round to give yourself a better chance of clear, brighter skin, exfoliation really becomes important in the colder months.

brown sugar in pot

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

This is the time when your skin really needs the benefit of moisture and clear pores to help regulate the growth of new cells. If you are particularly susceptible to taut, dry skin, then it is absolutely essential that you incorporate regular exfoliation as part of your routine.

It’s true that exfoliation won’t rid you of all your winter skin problems, but it will certainly help your skin absorb moisture and alleviate the negative effects of too many dead skin cells.

Moisturise

This is seemingly an obvious suggestion, but many people either forget or choose not to regularly apply a moisturiser either topically or for general use.

The ultimate weapon against, dryness, soreness and redness of the skin is deeply nourishing moisture that can penetrate right through the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin.

It can be difficult to stay on top of a regular skin routine, but if there’s one thing that you really cannot afford to forgo in the winter months, then it’s moisturising.

Afterall, what effect does winter really have on our skin?

Snow on a forestImage Credit: Pexels

 

As the weather starts to get colder, our skin often starts to become dry and loses most of its glow.

When it starts to get seriously cold, your pores will begin to close up as much as they can to try and keep you warm.

Unfortunately, this has the knock-on effect where a buildup of heat underneath the epidermis has trouble escaping through the shrunken pores - potentially leading to excess oils below the surface of your skin.

It’s this that will lead to the all-too-familiar outbreaks of redness, itchy rashes, and potentially even spots.

Using a moisturiser will help to keep your skin as soft and supple as possible, ensuring that it can properly produce new cells as well as shedding the dead ones.

Hydration

Glass of waterImage Credit: Pexels

 

Come rain or shine, staying hydrated should always be near the top of your daily list of priorities. Good hydration can provide a whole host of health benefits, but can really help when it comes to your skin.

Naturally we drink more water during the summer months as it’s so refreshing in the hot weather and we tend to prefer hot drinks in the winter due to their warming qualities.

Whilst hot beverages are a perfectly reasonable way of staying hydrated, it remains important that we drink just as much water in the winter months as we do in the summer.

It’s also worth remembering that caffeine is a diuretic and so will work to flush water out of your system, so if you’re taking in a lot of it, then make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well.

By staying hydrated, we increase the levels of moisture in our skin, which helps a great deal in keep it soft and reducing dryness.

Drinking enough water each day will help your body to regulate its temperature, which means that your pores are less likely to shrink which leaves your skin feeling dry and itchy.

 

Wrap Up Warm

Woman on winter clothingImage Credit: Pexels

We’ve established that taking care of skin in winter is absolutely essential, but it’s not always a question of diet or having the right skin care products at your disposal.

Half the battle against winter weather is wearing the right clothing in the first place. The wind can often chafe at your skin and strip it of its natural oils, leaving it dry and sore.

One of the areas that is normally the most affected by the cold weather are your hands. Your knuckles are particularly susceptible to dryness and peeling.

Whilst a rich and nourishing hand cream is absolutely essential for keeping your hands soft and happy, investing in a decent pair of gloves will also go a long way towards mitigating dry skin in winter.

Coats, scarves and hats are also all very important in keeping the cold at bay, not least because of your immune system, but to make sure you make it through the winter in one piece.

Conclusion

So to recap, the main points to remember are:

  • Avoiding Long Hot Showers
  • Exfoliation
  • Moisturising
  • Hydration
  • Wrapping up Warm
 

Whilst these are all relatively straightforward ways to fight the cold weather, it is very easy to forget or neglect keeping up with them as part of your routine.

We often tend to over complicate skin care in winter. In reality, it boils down to common sense. The most important things are remaining disciplined and consistent.

 

It may seem like a lot of hassle and effort at the time, but looking after your skin throughout the winter months is something you will see the benefits of both instantly and in the long term.