Winter is about so many amazing things. Snuggling up in with a warm cup of tea and a good book, curled up in front of the fireplace with family and friends, hot baths scented with your favourite smells and extra-long hot showers that warm your bones through and through. Winter can be about playing in the snow, long walks, skiing and snowshoeing. But all those fantastic winter follies have one thing in common; they can all be very drying to the skin.
Why Blame the Winter? There are a few different factors that affect your winter skin.
Indoor Heating- As the temperatures drop, indoor heating at home, work and in your cars tends to go up. Increased heat causes the air to become drier. As the air becomes drier more moisture from your skin is lost to the dry air. The loss of moisture from your skin can cause your skin to thicken (meaning dead cells stay around longer) and can even crack or split
Humidity Levels Drop-- Winter weather tends to cause a drop-in humidity. Humidity refers to the water vapour content in the air. In the summer months, humidity tends to be higher, with considerable decreases in the winter. Less humidity in the air results in dryer skin, especially in combination with increased indoor heating.
Your shower temperature is much warmer in the winter- Long, hot showers that strip the skin of natural oils contribute to dryness and skin barrier dysfunction.
Dehydration-- You tend to drink less water in the winter than in other months. However, you are still losing (evaporating) water from your skin even if you do not feel thirsty. A lack of water can cause dehydration, leading to drier, more wrinkled and weathered skin.
The Snuggling Effect-- Snuggled in blankets and warm clothing does not allow your skin to breathe as much as it does when you have less coverage which causes your skin to dry and dehydrate more.
Natural Body's Response-- Your body naturally responds to colder temperatures by thickening and shedding less dead skin cells, and even your skin's sebaceous glands (oil glands) slow in response to the cold.
Go on the Defensive for Healthy Winter Skin
Knowing how and why your skin dries, wrinkles, cracks and splits in winter months more than other months should lead you to go on the defensive.
Provide your body with key nutrients that help to protect the skin from within. Give your skin structure with Collagen. Collagen is a structural protein in the skin that helps give skin that youthful look of plumpness and elasticity. The dermis is made up of key components, including over 90% collagen, fibroblasts, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Collagen helps to heal skin dryness and redness and restores the moisture that weather takes away during the cold winter months. When moisture is restored through collagen production, skin elasticity and tone improve, giving your skin a smoother, more vibrant glow. Collagen's popularity has grown not only because of its supportive skin attributes but support for bones and joints. Look for reputable brands that provide collagen in powders, capsules and chews
Restore skin moisture and smoothness with Omega-3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid is beneficial for heart and cognitive function. It is well researched for its benefits for the skin. Fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil play a key role in healthy skin function and appearance. Additionally, these fatty acids are needed to produce signaling molecules called eicosanoids, which alert your body to respond to inflammation such as dry, chapped skin. They are also necessary to build the structural barrier of the skin, which may help the skin retain moisture and prevent excessive dryness and roughness. Without the essential fats found in fish oil and other foods, your body would not have adequate nutrients to soothe, heal and rebuild the skin
Use an all-natural body lotion and make sure that it is free from harmful chemicals. Applying the lotion right after your shower or bath is a great way to rehydrate the drying effects of the hot water, and the timing of application can help lock in the moisturizing lotion. Use a humidifier at home to help keep moisture in the air. Bundle up outside against the elements but unbundle when you get home, especially if you have a humidifier.