The days get shorter, the temperature drops, and leaves start to fall to the ground. It’s getting closer to winter and as the season changes, you might notice some changes in the way your skin behaves. If you think it’s okay to stick to your regular skincare routine, you might not give your skin the proper care it deserves.
Prepare your skin for the colder weather and switch up a few of your skincare habits to maintain healthy and glowing skin.
For a better and more accurate treatment plan for your skin during winter, consult a board-certified dermatologist from Team Dermatology.
What Happens to Your Skin in the Winter?
Whether it’s to protect your body from heat, cold, or environmental pollutants, your skin is your natural barrier against the environment.
The cold winter air does not just make your skin feel colder. It also makes it a lot drier than usual. That’s because the air has less humidity during the winter season and the dry air draws the moisture out from your skin. It doesn’t matter if you think you have oily skin. The winter air can still affect your skin and make it lose more moisture than usual.
Winter Skin Issues
While dry skin is usually harmless, this can still lead to more uncomfortable skin issues like roughness, flaking, and itching. In worse cases, dry skin can aggravate more serious skin conditions like the following:
While acne can occur any time of the year, the colder season makes it even harder to keep a blemish-free face. Because your skin is drier than usual, your body will need to work harder to produce more sebum, or oil that keeps your skin hydrated.
When bacteria and dead skin cells are trapped underneath the sebum, you get acne. Unfortunately, excess sebum isn’t the only factor for winter acne. The cold air also triggers stress in your body, causing even more breakouts.
The cold weather during winter triggers eczema flares. When this happens, you may experience dry, red, and itchy skin. This is not a contagious skin condition, however, it does damage your skin barrier, making it more prone to irritation and dry skin.
Your lips have a relatively thinner layer of protection, so it is always the first to experience dryness during the colder season. The lack of moisture in the air results in chapped lips, with symptoms such as flaking, cracks, sores, and even bleeding
Especially triggered by the cold weather in winter, Raynaud’s Disease happens when your peripheral blood vessels abnormally react to the cold. A person who has Raynaud’s Disease might experience tingling, discomfort, or even numbness. The color of their skin might also change to white or blue.
Windburn is a skin inflammation that happens when the cold winter wind blows onto your skin and causes dryness, redness, and burning. This is usually painful and uncomfortable, and also a result of prolonged exposure to the cold.
Also commonly called the “winter rash”, the winter itch is exactly what it sounds like. It is the itch triggered by cold and dry air during winter. In worse cases, the itch can lead to irritation, scaling, and even bleeding.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune skin condition where your body produces too many skin cells and they end up becoming dry and flaky patches on your skin.
Just like eczema, psoriasis is triggered by the colder weather during winter. Its symptoms of itchiness and pain can often worsen when the temperature drops. Unless managed, psoriasis can cause extreme discomfort.
Also called “cold hive”, cold urticaria is an allergy to the cold. Its symptoms include red and itchy rashes on the skin which manifest right after prolonged exposure to the cold. Unfortunately, cold urticaria isn’t just triggered by the cold air or wind, but also by cold water, and even cold surfaces on objects.
Flushing with small bumps on the face is the most common sign of rosacea. This skin condition, like psoriasis and eczema, is triggered by dry air. It can flare up any time of the year, but this skin condition is especially common (and worse) during the winter season.
Skin conditions like these need proper treatment. If you experience any of these skin conditions, call us at Team Dermatology for professional dermatology or skincare advice.
Importance of Winter Skin Care
Your skin functions and reacts differently during winter. This is because the colder and dryer air makes it harder for your skin to regulate itself. When you don’t pay attention to its needs, you might end up getting dull, dry, and patchy skin, even when you think your skin is healthy enough.
Here at Team Dermatology, we place importance on updating your skincare routine during winter to adjust to your skin’s changing needs.
Best winter skincare routine tips
Even if you have a skincare routine that you swear by, chances are you still need to update it to fit the needs of your skin during winter. Here are the best skincare tips our board-certified dermatologists recommend during winter:
Lock in the moisture in your face with a good moisturizer. It’s best to do this while your skin is still damp and you just washed your face.
For extra nourishment, swap your lotion-based moisturizer with a cream. The cream has a richer and heavier consistency so it forms a stronger and thicker barrier on your skin, preventing moisture from escaping.
Switch to Hydrating Cleansers
Heavy cleansers are stronger when it comes to stripping dirt and oil from your face. To prevent dry skin, switch to hydrating cleansers. Hydrating cleansers prioritize moisture, so you don’t have to worry about your skin drying out.
Limit Hot Showers
It may seem like hot showers would be the perfect thing for winter, but try to limit it as much as you can. As wonderful as it feels, the hot water can be drying to your skin because it strips the moisture more. We’re not saying you should shower with very cold water, but try to decrease the temperature if you can.
Treat Acne-Prone Skin with Hydrating Products Too
There’s a common misconception that acne-prone skin does not need moisturizers or hydrating products because they might worsen acne. That is not true. In fact, your skin needs hydration now more than ever. Without it, you’re only encouraging the production of more sebum, and increasing the chances of more blemish growth.
Avoid Harsh Scrubs and Scented Products
The cold and dry weather makes your skin more sensitive to harsh chemicals and harsh textures, so try to avoid harsh brushes, loofahs, scrubs, chemicals, and scented products which can trigger skin irritation.
Exfoliate for Smooth, Supple Skin
The dryer the weather, the duller and more irritable your skin is. To prevent dead skin cells from piling up, exfoliate your skin regularly. The smooth, exfoliated skin also makes it easier for the moisturizer to settle and work.
Be careful not to over-exfoliate though! This can lead to even more dryness and sensitivity.
You Still Need Sunscreen!
You might not see the sun shining as bright as it does during summer, but don’t ditch your sunscreen! The UV rays can still damage your skin even when you don’t feel or see the burn.
Use a Lip Balm and Reapply When Necessary
Your lips are among the first to experience the harsh colds of winter, so make sure to carry a lip balm with you everywhere and reapply when necessary. The lip balm acts as a moisturizer that locks the moisture in and keeps your lips from chapping.
Be Aware of Irritating Skincare Products
If you’re using potent skincare products such as vitamin C serums, retinoids, and other exfoliating chemicals, set them aside during winter, and swap them with more gentle products. The cold and dry winter air makes your skin more sensitive to chemicals so these products might only dry out or irritate your skin.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Many winter clothes aren’t gentle on the skin. Some fabrics can be rough while others can be itchy or irritating. To protect your skin from the harsh fabrics used in your common winter clothes, try layering soft cotton clothes.
Take Care Of Your Diet
A bad diet can ruin the fanciest skincare routine. After all, your skin gets nourished mostly by the food that you eat. To maintain a healthy glow even during the winter, eat less processed foods and have more whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids.
Limit Alcohol Intake
The colder weather seems to make drinking alcohol a good idea, but it can cause dehydration so try to limit your alcohol intake. Drink more water instead.
Stay Hydrated and Drink More Water
As you lock in the moisture in your skin with moisturizing products, do not forget your water intake as well. Drinking enough fluids during winter ensures that your body (not just your skin) gets the proper hydration it needs to function effectively, even during the cold winter. It also helps supplement the moisture lost through your skin.
Use a Humidifier
Using humidifiers during the cold and dry seasons helps regulate the moisture in the air. The humidifier increases and maintains hydration in the air so your skin does not dry out.
Use an Overnight Mask
Need an extra boost while you sleep?
An overnight mask’s potent hydrating ingredients penetrate your skin while it regenerates in your sleep, so it’s a great choice for softer and more hydrated skin during winter.
Keep a healthy glow during winter
Winter is a wonderful season for the holidays, but it can also cause skin dryness or irritation. Because the cold and dry weather makes it hard to keep healthy and glowing skin, it is important to update your skincare routine so that you address and meet your skin’s needs.
Although you can start taking care of your skin from home during winter, a board-certified dermatologist can also help you evaluate your skin and recommend the best steps to take to address any specific concern you have about your skin.