Wind. Rain. Snow. Frigid temperatures and biting winds. There are a lot of ways that winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin. Surprisingly, a little cold can also bring some benefits to your skin. The difference between dry, itchy skin and beautiful skin in winter depends on how you care for it during the coldest time of the year!
What Cold Weather Does to Skin
As temperatures slowly start to wane in mid fall and colder temps lock in, our lives change. We spend more time indoors and we yearn to turn inward (even though our busy lives may prevent it). During winter, our bodies also go through changes, and this includes changes to our skin!
First, let’s talk about moisture. Your neighborhood may be covered in snow every winter. Even so, in most regions the coldest season of the year typically brings with it lower humidity overall. Add to this biting winds and blizzards outside as well as moisture-sapping heating sources like fireplaces, forced air units, gas furnaces, and electric space heaters inside, and you have a recipe for extremely dry skin all winter long. Extreme dryness can lead to itchiness as well as chapping, rashes, discoloration, and even cracking. The winter months can be especially problematic for individuals with more severe skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. (1)
Cold weather can affect your skin in other ways as well. A 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology discovered that cases of acne actually rise by more than 10% each year during winter. (2) The reason has to do with the body’s natural response to decreased humidity and cold. In my article about combination skin, I discussed how sebum, an oily, moisture-retaining substance on the surface of the skin, is often highest in the “T Zone” area of your face. In response to extra dryness in winter, the skin compensates by producing more sebum. This can lead to acne in the T zone while the rest of the face (as well as other areas) can display extreme dryness.
The circulatory system within the skin is also affected by the cold. Tiny passageways called capillaries that make up the microcirculatory system constrict when exposed to cold. Once the area of skin warms up, the constriction loosens and a rush of blood floods the area. Constant fluctuations between hot and cold like this can create redness, blotchiness, blemishes and even a condition called telangiectasia, i.e. “spider veins” in the skin. (3)
Six Steps to “Winter Beautiful” Skin
Don’t let the “winter blues” get you down when it comes to your skin! Here are six steps you can do now to heal and protect it:
#1 Hydrate Your Body
Because of all the dryness, the winter months are when we should actually be drinking even more fresh, filtered water than we normally do. However, according to experts, this is when most people tend to drink the least amounts of water. Dehydration on the inside can absolutely lead to dry, flaky skin on the outside. A good rubric to determine the minimum amount of water to drink each day is to take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. This is the minimum amount of water you should be drinking every day in ounces.
#2 Use a Humidifier Indoors
Humidifiers come in all types, shapes, and sizes. Some home air conditioning and heating units even have them built into their systems. All humidifiers basically do the same thing: release tiny water droplets into the air in the form of vapor, steam, or mist. According to a 2012 Korean study, humidifiers can be great for easing dry skin in the winter months. (4) Mayo Clinic researchers add that they can also help to moisten eyes, lubricate sinus passages, and soothe dry throats.
be sure to get a humidifier with a built-in “hygrometer,” or “humidistat.” This feature measures the humidity level in a room, which should be between 30% – 50% for health. Also be sure to clean and replace your humidifier’s filter to avoid mold growth.
#3 Use a High-Quality Moisturizer
In order to return your skin back to health in dry, cold weather, you must moisturize! What’s more, it is important to choose a moisturizer that is high quality, organic, and full of moisture-retaining natural substances. If you are already beginning to feel the effects of “winter skin,” using a moisturizer can help you to feel relief right away.
One of the absolute best, cleanest, and most effective moisturizers out there is the CHARLíS Revitalizing Daily Moisturizer, which is part of the CHARLíS Face Collection. Not only is every bottle lab-tested to be 100% ToxicFree®, but the formula also contains natural substances that have been specifically designed by nature to not only retain moisture but to kickstart healing and repair as well. Some of these substances include safflower seed oil, vitamin E, linoleic acid, and perilla seed oil. Perilla in particular is a great source of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids.
#4 Protect Your Skin
Wintertime is also when the sun can be the most intense in some regions. Besides wearing sunglasses to protect against eye-specific sun damage, you also want to make sure that your face and neck are protected by using a ToxicFree ® sunblock if you are going to be outside for a long period of time.
This is why our Neutral-Tinted Daily Moisturizer with SPF 25 (available through the CHARLíS Body Collection) can be such a great addition to your skin-healing and beautifying toolbox. This sun-protecting, zinc oxide-based moisturizer is 100% ToxinFree ®. It also contains allantoin, a phytonutrient derived from the comfrey plant, which is extremely effective for relief from rough, scaly, itchy skin. In addition, it also contains panthenol, a B5 precursor and a humectant. Panthenol has proven to lower inflammation in the skin as well.
Finally, it is also important to keep your lips moisturized and protected during winter. The CHARLíS Orange Blossom Lip Balm (also part of the new CHARLíS Body Collection) contains butyrospermum parkii butter, i.e. shea butter, which is a natural protectant against the harmful rays of the sun as well as a fatty acid-rich skin softener and moisture retainer.
#5 Repair While You Sleep!
Repair and rejuvenation of the skin is crucial any time of year, and the time when this happens the most is during sleep. In fact, did you know that the body begins its repair work on the skin almost immediately upon falling asleep? (5)
You can significantly help your skin by making sure you are getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night. The good news is that, because winter is when there is the least sunlight overall, it is also the time of year when we tend to sleep more (and more deeply) as well. (6)
And to ensure supercharged skin renewal and repair while you sleep, don’t forget CHARLíS Restorative Anti-Aging Overnight Serum. Apply just a little bit over your face and neck right before bed and let 100% organic, wild-harvested phytonutrients like aloe, apple fruit extract, and sodium hyaluronate soothe, rehydrate and recharge your skin while you sleep.
Each season was designed by God to have a special place in our lives. With shorter days and longer, darker nights, winter really is the time of year designed to give us a special opportunity to slow down and reflect. We can do this, despite what our culture may say! And when we do, our stress responses go down and we give our bodies permission to heal!
Enjoy Winter…And Beautiful Skin
Once you have a winter skin self-care routine in place, you can actually start enjoying this special time of year and the benefits that cold weather can bring to your skin as well. According to research, cold therapy (also called cryotherapy) has been shown to lower inflammation, open clogged pores, and rejuvenate the face. Moderately cold weather can also train blood vessels in the skin to be more responsive. (7)
Winter is an inevitable event in our lives—guaranteed it’s going to happen every year whether we like it or not! However, with just a little planning and the right CHARLíS products at your fingertips, you can enjoy the season and experience that “winter wonderland” glow each year!
(1) Seasonal Variation of Psoriasis and Its Impact in the Therapeutic Management: A Retrospective Study on Chinese Patients
(2) Seasonal variation of acne and psoriasis: A 3-year study using the Physician Global Assessment severity scale
(3) Skin diseases caused by heat and cold
(4) The Effects of Humidifier Generating Nano-sized Water Particles on Skin Hydration and Transepidermal Water Loss of the Normal Human Skin
(5) Hypothalamic Hormones
(6) Bright light affects human circadian rhythms
(7) Skin temperature response to cryotherapy