Nature & Mountains / Travel Tips

The top 7 cold weather skin tips

There’s plenty to love about winter; from beautiful snow-covered landscapes to cosy evenings spent in front of the fire. But, it’s no secret that winter weather can be rough on your skin. Cold and dry outdoor conditions can leave your skin feeling raw and irritated while dry indoor air sucks away moisture. It can be a constant struggle to keep your skin hydrated while protecting against the elements.

If winter leaves your skin feeling dry and flaky, don’t despair. Following a few simple cold-weather skincare tips can help you keep your skin supple and hydrated all the way to spring…

Why Does Cold Weather Dry Out the Skin?

Cold temperatures can strip your skin of hydrating moisture, leaving it raw and red. Harsh winter winds combined with low outdoor humidity can make matters worse. Many people who struggle with chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema experience flare-ups during the winter for these reasons.

It isn’t just cold weather you need to protect your skin from during the winter, either. The sun produces damaging UV rays all year round, even if you don’t feel the heat. Those rays can even reflect off snow and ice, so whether you’re hitting the ski slopes or catching a wave, SPF protection is a must.

Heading inside provides a warm respite from the cold, but the transition from hot to cold can be tough on your skin. You may not realize it, but the heat that keeps you cosy also sucks moisture from the air. Low humidity can leech moisture from the skin, compromising its protective barrier to make your skin more prone to dryness and damage. Taking long, hot showers to warm up can compound the issue.

Though winter puts your skin through the gauntlet year after year, there are simple things you can do to protect yourself. Read on to learn the basics about the best skincare for cold weather…

7 Cold Weather Skincare Tips

If you live in a cold climate, you may already have a few defences in place against the cold. When it comes to protecting your skin, however, a few added precautions may be necessary. Adjusting your skincare routine to account for winter weather can save you from a season of dry, flakey, and irritated skin.

Here are 7 simple skincare tips to help you survive the winter:

1. Keep your home at a reasonable temperature.

While it may be tempting to crank up the heat against the wintery weather outdoors, setting the thermostat too high can be bad for your skin (and your budget). Central heating can make the air in your home incredibly dry, making it more difficult to keep your skin hydrated. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) recommends an indoor temperature between 20-23°C.

2. Use a humidifier in your home.

To help combat dry indoor air, consider installing a humidifier. Humidifiers restore moisture to the air, typically using steam, to help keep your skin hydrated. If you’re visiting the Alps for an extended period of time, you may want to use a portable humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in or, at the very least, in your bedroom overnight. Aim for an indoor humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.

3. Opt for warm showers rather than hot.

Whether you’re enjoying an extended ski holiday or just coming home from work, nothing warms you up like a hot shower. Though it may seem counterintuitive, water can dry out your skin if the temperature is too high. Hot water strips your skin of its protective oils which can worsen dry skin. Experts recommend warm showers and baths – you may also want to limit it to 5 or 10 minutes.

Browse self-catered chalets in the French Alps


4. Make seasonal adjustments to your skincare regimen.

It’s recommended that you adjust your skincare regimen seasonally, but it’s particularly important during the winter. If your skin is already dry or prone to irritation, scale back your use of retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). You should also avoid products that contain alcohol or synthetic fragrances. Swap out your light summer moisturizer with creams and oils and look for ingredients that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid to draw moisture into the skin.

Don’t forget to swap out lighter summer products for more heavy-duty products in winter.

5. Switch to a gentle cleanser.

Cleansing is one of the most important steps in a daily skincare routine, but it’s essential to do it right. Harsh cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils and compromise the protective moisture barrier that helps lock in hydration. Choose skincare products labelled for sensitive skin and opt for cleansers that are free from synthetic fragrance and dye. Look for moisturising ingredients as well like shea butter, oats, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides.

6. Stay covered up when you can.

It’s natural to want to bundle up in winter, but don’t forget about your face when you’re loading up with layers. Wear a scarf to wrap loosely around your face but avoid wool and other rough fabrics directly against your skin. Choose light, breathable layers made from cotton or silk and add your heavier, warmer layers over top. Don’t forget to protect your hands as well!

Comfortable, high-quality scarves or neck warmers that can be pulled over your face are key, especially when skiing.

7. Never skip the SPF.

You already know the importance of wearing sunscreen, but it’s easy to forget when conditions are anything but bright and sunny. Even on grey winter days, it’s essential to protect your skin against UV rays. It’s particularly important in snowy conditions because UV rays can reflect off the surface, increasing your risk for sunburn, premature ageing, and hyperpigmentation. Protect yourself with broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, especially if travelling with kids.

Your skin is unique and, depending on your skin type, it may not be completely defenceless against the harshness of winter. It’s important to identify your skin type and choose products accordingly to maintain your skin’s natural moisture barrier while addressing your individual skin concerns. Put a few of these tips in place to keep your skin healthy and glowing all winter long.

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