The cold and dry winter weather is harsh on your skin. Due to the lack of humidity in the air, the skin becomes more reactive, dull, dry, and flaky. The skin hungers for moisture, but the dry winter air affords it very little.

Cold Weather Affects the Skin

(Pixabay / mary-troublemaker)

Just as the outdoor air is dry in winter time, so, too, is the inside air. People crank up heaters and radiators to increase the temperature, creating the same dry environment within the home. Wherever it goes, it seems the skin is punished.

Winter is particularly tough on people with delicate skin conditions, but even normal skin can take a beating in winter. You might observe dry scaly patches developing on skin areas that are generally unaffected the rest of the year.

Wintery weather precipitates a loss of moisture in the stratum corneum, the outermost skin layer, resulting in skin that flakes and cracks. Winter can also exacerbate problems like rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Sunshine often helps ward off psoriasis, but since the sun does not shine much during the winter months, the scaly skin condition can become more inflamed.

Winter is also the season for flu and colds. As a precaution against germs, people wash their hands more than usual, often using hot water and soap that leave the skin dry, rough, and itchy. In addition, people often take long, hot showers during winter to get warm, but this, too, can dry and shrivel the skin. Winter wind doesn’t help either. It decreases the already-low humidity levels, further depleting the natural oil in the skin.

Counteracting the Effects

You need more than moisturizer to counteract the effects of winter weather. Instead of taking long, hot showers, use lukewarm water, and limit your shower to less than 10 minutes. Use mild soap, and moisturize immediately afterward.

Choose your moisturizer carefully, avoiding products containing petroleum-based ingredients that will further dry and deplete your skin. Protect your skin by wearing warm clothing and gloves when going out. Install a humidifier in your home to put moisture back in the air. Drink enough water to hydrate your skin. Keep exercising, too. It will help you look and feel better.