Brrr. We say it every year as the seasons change, don’t we? How we’re so totally ill prepared to feel so cold and we get a shock to the system. Even though, as sure as night follows day, winter follows summer - no matter how wet, cold and windy our summer might have been and how cheated out of a summer we might feel.
For me, winter starts at the beginning of October. My birthday is at the end of September, and until then, no matter the weather, I’m still in my summer clothes (I’m lucky if we get an Indian summer, if not, I’m cold).
But then, post birthday celebrations, the wind down to winter starts. I begin embracing all that winter means to me - 60 denier black tights, red wine and roast dinners.
However, the one thing I never manage to plan properly for is winter skin. The ravages of winter from the cold, wet, windy weather (the same weather as summer sometimes, just with more iciness thrown in) to the artificial indoor heating and scratchy scarves wrapped around the lower half of our faces all signal bad news for our skin.
Hope is not lost though - we can take steps to protect our skin during the winter, so that it remains happy and healthy. Ready for when we emerge from our woolly, carbohydrate fuelled winter cocoons eager to face the spring.
So learn how to prepare for winter skin along with me!
Why Does Our Skin Struggle During the Winter?
Each season has its own skin health depleting challenges. Spring and summer can cause havoc with their heat rashes, sweating, air conditioning and strong sun. Autumn and winter have their turn with harsh coldness, wind burn and dry indoor heat.
Wet, windy weather and cold temperatures are all harsh on the delicate nature of our skin. Wintery weather, even if relatively mild, can strip the skin of its natural oils that moisturise the skin and form a protective barrier.
This loss of oil means that the skin can become dehydrated, irritated, dry and inflamed. Especially so if we already have sensitive or stressed out skin.
When the weather turns from warm to cold, it isn't just the temperature that has an effect, either. Humidity also drops, taking with it, moisture in the air.
Therefore, our skin struggles to maintain its hydration levels resulting in dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin can lead to dry, rough, flaky, inflamed skin, and skin so dry it can crack.
Not only that, when the temperature drops, we tend to have different habits that can also affect our skin.
We might have longer, hotter showers and baths, which can cause the skin to feel dry, as well as cranking up the heating at home and in our vehicles, which reduces moisture in the air, again causing dryness and dehydration.
It’s not only at home or in our cars that we succumb to this dry heat, either. Workplaces, trains, shopping centres, bars and restaurants - they all want to make us feel comfortable by turning up the thermostat and we can’t escape the dry, low humidity conditions.
What Exactly is Winter Dry Skin and What Causes it?
The medical name for dry skin is xerosis. It’s caused when the barrier function of the outer layer of the skin, or the stratum corneum (which is the uppermost layer of the uppermost section of our skin - the epidermis) is compromised.
This can happen when the stratum corneum loses oils, or lipids, meaning that the barrier function, stopping toxins, microorganisms and other invaders from entering the body through the skin, no longer works as well.
Moisture from the air is essential for this barrier function to work well, and in the winter, moisture levels in the air are lower. Add to that the impact of dry indoor air and long, hot showers, and our skin becomes unhappy, stressed and dehydrated.
Signs of dry winter skin to look out for include:
Chapped lips and brittle nails are also a sign that winter is taking its toll.
So, what can we do about dry, dull skin in the winter? (Aside from moving to a hot country. Remember those?) Here’s our top tips for glowing winter skin!
How to Reduce Your Chances of Having Dry, Dull Skin Over the Winter
Preventing dry skin in the first place is key, but we can’t all avoid the harshness of winter, so replenishing lost moisture is also essential.
Tips for Preventing Dry Winter Skin
Prevention is better than cure, they say. So here’s some lifestyle advice for helping to prevent your skin from becoming dehydrated, irritated and dull this cold season:
- Take showers over baths to limit your exposure to hot water and avoid the temptation to stand under the water for any longer than a few minutes (maximum, five).
- Avoid harsh, artificially scented soaps and shower gels and use natural products instead.
- Always pat your skin dry with a soft towel, rather than rubbing at your skin.
- Apply a facial moisturiser and body moisturiser within a minute or two of coming out of the shower - if in doubt, slater on another layer once the first one has dried to help seal in moisture.
- Always use hand cream after washing or sanitising your hands - pro tip - if your arms are exposed, add a blob to your elbows at the same time, as they can become particularly dry.
- Where possible, avoid turning the heating up too high at home or in your car.
- Place a bowl of water above, or a wet towel over, your radiators at home to add humidity to the air and replace frequently Wear hats and scarves (not scratchy ones, so it’s best to avoid wool) to cover as much of your face as possible to protect it from the elements.
- Continue to drink plenty of water and herbal teas and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure that you’re also hydrated and nourished from the inside.
- If your clothing becomes damp, change out of it into dry clothes as soon as possible.
Tips for Rehydrating Dry Winter Skin
It’s difficult to completely avoid the dreaded dry winter skin, so here’s our tips for putting back the moisture that’s been lost…
- Never use soap on your face to cleanse or remove makeup, it’s simply too stripping of the natural oils - opt for a gentle, plant based oil creamy cleanser instead
- Never skip the moisturiser, especially on the face - opt for facial moisturisers that contain glycerin, a humectant that works by attracting moisture from the atmosphere to the skin, such as our Calming Hydration Day Cream
- Consider a deeply hydrating serum too - look for like ours, that contains squalane, a type of emollient that helps to trap moisture into the small spaces between the skin cells, helping to keep it hydrated
- A heavier facial moisturiser, such as our Overnight Replenishment Night Cream which is packed with plant oils, is also ideal for helping to seal in moisture overnight whilst the skin repairs itself
Choosing the Right Winter Skincare Products
At Sönd we truly understand skin. Whatever your skin type, be that acne prone, dry, oily, sensitive or stressed out, we understand. We have skin that’s prone to acne breakouts and acting all contrary ourselves.
That’s why we developed our range of alkalising skincare products - because we simply couldn’t find the products that we needed to support our skin.
Our hero ingredient is our unique silica salt complex that hydrates and nourishes the skin deep within the lower layers, helping it to retain moisture and encouraging healthy cell renewal.
All year round, our products will work hard to protect your skin, no matter what the weather is saying outside. Come rain or shine, your skin will glow with radiance and health. So go on, treat your skin this winter - it’s crying out for it!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.