How Winter Weather Affects Your Skin

By Kali Kushner



With winter shortly approaching I thought there’s no better time to talk about how our skin transforms along with the seasons! We all experience skin changes to a certain degree, some people claim their skin is much clearer in the summer due to the sunlight while others experience no acne in the winter due to dryness. This could hold a bit of truth- But what’s really going on here? What is the science behind all of this? Does weather and climate actually affect our skin color, tone, and texture? Let’s take a look at the seasons and see what kind of impact colder weather changes actually haven store for our skin.


fall and winter


Cooler seasons can be harder on your skin. Cold temperatures typically mean lower moisture content in the air, which tends to dry out and strip moisture from exposed skin. I don’t know about you but in the winter my skin tends to get SO dry that it actually starts to become itchy and irritated. The drier air outside and inside tends to dehydrate the skins barrier.


Specifically speaking, the drier the air, the more moisture is wicked away from the skins surface. So, if the air becomes too dry so does the skin. This is seen in dullness, eczema, dryness, and flakiness. In the winter I tend to amp up my skincare routine and swap out my moisturizers with more rich, heavy duty alternatives. If you think about it when the seasons change, you switch out that string bikini for a turtleneck and your skincare routine should be no different. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to wintertime skincare:


Exfoliate Twice a Week: When your skin becomes dry and flaky dead skin cells begin to build up on the top layer of the skin, acting as a barrier. This prevents your skincare products from absorbing and working at their full potential. Amping up the exfoliation to twice a week will remove dry skin cells and reveal a fresh layer of skin underneath.


Switch out Your Cleanser: While that citrus punch foaming cleanser may have made a great choice during the summer, the dryness of winter air can make your skin sensitive to both fragrance and foam. Foaming cleansers tend to overwork the skin barrier, stripping the skin of essential oils it needs to function properly. Try a cleanser that advertises itself as “fragrance free”, “hydrating”, or one that tends to have a more milky or cream texture over a gel or foam formula.


Slather on the Moisturizer

While piling on moisturizer wont technically restore hydration deep within the skin, it can at least help a decent amount with dryness and protecting the skins barrier. Look for a good moisturizer that contains hyaluronic and essential fatty acids to lock the moisture into the skin.


Try out a Facial Oil

Adding a facial oil along with your moisturizer will work to further reduce symptoms of irritation, dryness, and flakiness. Facial oils are richer and more deeply moisturizing than creams so they tend to offer better protection against the harsh winter elements. Some of my favorite facial oils that won’t clog your pores are jojoba, sweet almond, and avocado oil.



Other than the general winter weather itself there are a few other key factors that play into the role of wintertime skin:


Central heating: Central heating tends to remove moisture from the air around you which in turn dehydrates your skin. A simple fix to this problem is sleeping with a humidifier to put moisture back into the air!


Sudden Temperature Changes: Switching from an extremely warm indoor setting to an outdoor one back and forth can wreak havoc on your skin. This causes the capillaries in your face to expand and contract which can lead to broken vessels, skin irritation, and redness.


Long Hot Baths or Showers: As the weather continues to get colder I am definitely guilty of taking extremely long, hot showers. It’s super enticing but it isn’t the best for your skin health. Hot baths and showers have the ability to destroy the protective skin barrier which overtime will lead to dryness. Warm baths and showers are A OK just don’t go overboard with the heat!


Comfort Eating: Diets high in carbohydrates (Aka high GI) tend to exasperate acne symptoms. With the holidays comes pie, bread, potato casseroles, and other carb loaded food which may actually trigger acne. High GI diets tend to spike blood sugar, increase inflammation, and in turn create a rise in hormones that are known to trigger outbreaks. Try to take it easy this holiday season on the carb rich food and instead substitute your refined carbs with whole grains that are gentler on the body and release slower into the blood sugar.



Those are my tips and tricks when it comes to keeping your skin in top top shape this winter! Do you have any winter time skincare secrets yourself? Leave a comment down below!



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