Taking care of your skin is just as important as going to the gym, eating right and getting sufficient sleep, especially when it’s cold.
Cold weather is particularly tough on the skin. The dry air that comes with low temperatures and low humidity can draw moisture away from it. Along with harsh winds and dry indoor heat, the skin can crack and bleed if not tended to correctly.
Your skin, which is made up of three layers known as the hypodermis, dermis and epidermis, plays a vital role in protecting the body against the weather whichever season you’re in. To help you keep this integral organ well-oiled, we’ve rounded up our five favourite skincare tips to protect, sustain and avoid skin conditions flaring up during these cold, dry months.
Why is it essential to protect your skin when it's cold?
Firstly because your skin is a barrier; it’s protecting your body from mechanical impact and pressure, temperature changes, micro-organisms, radiation and chemicals; all of which frequent our body’s barriers whether we’re out enjoying the outdoors or in the office tackling work.
Your skin is also a regulator; it helps your body moderate changes in temperature through sweating and synthesising vitamin d, which happens whether you are hiking, skiing, climbing or just sitting in front of the TV.
Finally, your skin is a master of sensation; helping you understand your environment with an extensive network of nerve cells that detect and relay changes back to the body.
Here’s how you can naturally keep this extensive machine well-protected in the cold.
Moisturising reduces inflammation. The moisturiser acts as a barrier against toxins entering your body by making the top layer of your skin stronger. Ensure yours is packed with antioxidants to elevate skin strength through the process of ageing.
Research suggests that moisturising every day can reduce the chance of developing extreme dryness or oiliness. Both extremes are harmful to skin and can cause common skin conditions like acne.
There’s a reason it’s called ‘beauty sleep’. A minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is integral for skin health. The body uses sleep to repair your skin, producing collagen to prevent wrinkles and send more blood to your face, which helps you look and feel healthier. Tell tale dark circles will appear under your eyes if you’re not getting the sufficient winks you need.
3. Get outdoors
Stress can wreak havoc on your skin. If it isn’t kept under control, stress can cause breakouts, impact your sleep and can cause inflammation. An Aker solution for this is to get outside! Research from Stamford University found participants who went on a 90-minute walk in nature reported lower levels of repetitive negative thoughts compared with those who walked through the city. A great excuse to set aside time for adventure.
Vitamins in your diet are essential for optimal skin health. The Harvard Health Journal suggests vitamins c and e, in particular, can prevent brown spots, reverse damage from ultraviolet rays, and stimulate the growth of new collagen to prevent ageing. Whilst vitamin A promotes healthy skin cell production and vitamin D boosts elasticity and collagen production. Why not save time with a multivitamin with all these essentials wrapped into one tablet?
5. Cold shower
It may sound counterproductive in cold weather, but hot showers can strip your skin of essential oils, making cold water safer for skin health. Cold showers stimulate and improve the flow of blood to the skin, which nourishes your skin cells. Use warm or lukewarm, where possible when washing your face and hands. Cold showers have the added benefits of waking up your body, generating a higher state of alertness and can also boost immune response.
As the largest organ of the body, the skin has its work cut out. Every day it tackles dust, dirt and pollution which can impact its longevity. Keeping your skin secure against the cold weather by applying these regular, simple tips will help you to protect and strengthen the longevity of your natural armour.
Check out our ultimate guide to seasonal skincare for a complete breakdown of how each season affects skin.