Winter Skin Problems
It’s no secret that the winter months are especially hard on the skin. What with plummeting temperatures and a lack of humidity in the air; it can be a struggle for skin to retain moisture. Warm wooly jumpers, central heating and wood burning fires can make the problem worse leaving you chapped, dry, cracked and peeling, anxiously awaiting spring.
Fortunately, you aren’t condemned to months of suffering.
Here are some common winter skin problems — and how you can fix them.
Dry skin and dehydrated skin are two separate conditions— it’s important to know the difference.
Dry skin is actually a skin type that occurs when the sebaceous glands within the skin don’t produce enough oil (sebum) to provide proper lubrication. The cold winter months can be especially hard on dry skin as the lack of moisture in the air can further deplete the natural protective oils that are already in short supply. Dry skin is often itchy, flaky, red and irritated; it may also feel thin and tight.
To combat this condition and minimise the harsh effects of the season, use a thick, quality moisturiser that contains ceramides, emollients, sorbitol, glycerin or humectants to help supplement the sebum within the skin and lock in moisture.
Dehydrated skin is exactly what it sounds like; skin that isn’t retaining enough water. Unlike dry skin, which is a skin type, dehydrated skin is a condition caused by a lack of moisture, not oil.
The cold, dry winter air combined with the effects of indoor heating tends to sap the moisture from the skin which can leave you with itchy, scaly and, sometimes, even oily skin.
There are a number of steps you can take to combat these effects, but the most effective is to use a quality moisturiser to slow water loss. Drinking enough fluids and limiting the number of hot showers you take should also help to counter skin dehydration and help you avoid discomfort.
Chapped skin is a particularly unpleasant triad of winter skin worries – a painful combination of windburn, UV damage and dehydration. To prevent this from happening, you should apply a moisturising barrier cream to shield your skin from the elements. It’s extremely important that the cream contains SPF protection considering the sun’s rays can penetrate clouds, snow and fog. Even on the coldest, greyest day; your skin is still vulnerable to UV damage.
Plus, if you know you’ll be spending quite a lot of time outside in harsh weather conditions, make sure you’re covered up – gloves, mittens, scarves and hats will go a long way towards keeping your skin protected.
A lack of humidity in the cold winter air can wreak havoc on the lips leading to painful dryness, cracking and peeling. This can be made worse by dehydration and frequent licking of the lips – unfortunately saliva has a drying effect on the lips. Ensure you’re drinking at least 4-6 glasses of water a day and consider using a moisturising lip balm to provide a protective barrier and seal in moisture. For further advice see our advice for dry lips.
Let’s not forget, your scalp is skin too! It’s far more common to experience dandruff in the winter. This can be caused by the cold dryness of the air, product build up, or even cosy winter hats that are a bit too snug. Luckily, this is a pretty easy problem to fix. Use a dandruff shampoo to combat flakiness as soon as you notice it. Early intervention is always best.