Warming soups and stews… getting cosy in front of the fire… wrapping up in your favourite coat… there’s a lot to love about winter, but with all these treats comes one big trick: the effects of cold on your skin. Once your rosy cheeks from that winter walk have worn off, you can be left with dry patches, eczema flare ups and even skin cracking in cold weather. So to help you beat the big chill, here’s some top toasty tips on how to take care of your skin in cold weather.
What happens to my skin in cold weather?
Just a few months ago, you had that summer glow – but now, your skin feels dry, tight and could be a little cracked. So what happened?
If you’re wondering where these symptoms come from or why does my skin itch when I walk in the cold, it mainly comes down to these three factors:
- The drop in temperature
- The drop in humidity
- Indoor heating
During the winter months, we’re constantly moving between cold outdoor temperatures and warm, centrally heated rooms. This doesn’t just make dressing difficult (how many layers is too many layers?) – it dries out your skin too. Combine this with a lack of moisture in the air, a reduction in sebum production and the irritation often caused by woolly winter fabrics, and your skin is calling out for some extra hydration.
How does cold weather affect skin conditions?
The factors mentioned above affect even the most hydrated skin, so it’s no surprise that they have an even bigger impact on dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. With the cold, dry weather robbing skin of what little moisture it has, the winter months are often a prime time for flare-ups – especially on areas like hands and faces which are directly exposed to the cold. If you’re dealing with skin diseases in cold weather, there are lots of things you can do to help (including trying a few of the tips below). But a great place to start is with the humidity in your home. Central heating strips moisture from the air, so you can add it back in by using a humidifier, or simply placing a bowl of water near your radiators.
How can I take care of my skin in cold weather?
Clearly, the cold weather can be tough on skin – but you don’t have to wait until it warms up again to deal with the dryness. Just follow a few of these handy winter skincare tips to help keep your skin hydrated all the way through until spring.
👕 Layer up: instead of throwing on one big coat or jumper, try multiple thinner layers. This can help you adjust to different temperatures to stop you from overheating – which is much better for your skin (especially if you have eczema.)
🧤🧣 Accessorise: hats, scarves and gloves are great for protecting exposed body parts from the cold – just watch out for the material. Rough or scratchy wool can irritate skin that’s already annoyed, so choose something super soft and snuggly to help it keep calm.
☀️ Try a sunshine supplement: in these darker days, Vitamin D is in short supply – and it’s essential for our skin’s defence system. A spray or tablet is an easy way to get a boost.
🏠 Have a winter clean: spending more time cosied up at home means more dust and more dust mites, who thrive warm rooms. This is a big trigger for eczema and dry skin, so open those windows, let the fresh air in and have a regular run-around with the hoover.
Turn down the heat: this fights all your instincts when it’s cold outside, but that extra heat inside will dry out your skin even faster. 18 degrees is ideal for indoors – and a lukewarm shower is better than a boiling hot one.
🧴Moisturise More! We’ve saved the most important tip until last – so if you do nothing else this winter, pile on the moisturiser. It’s most effective to moisturise when your skin is still wet. And as it’s often your hands that bear the brunt of the cold, it’s a great idea to keep a handy hand cream in your hand-bag!
Which products help protect skin in cold weather?
Moisturising is one of the top skincare tips in winter – and to do this, you’ll need the right products. Epaderm cream is a great option to help fight the effects of the cold on your skin: it’s a non-greasy, absorbent and doctor-recommended emollient, proven to improve skin’s hydration. If you do have eczema, you’re likely to need to reapply your emollient more frequently in winter to help combat that dryness – so the bumper 500g bottle will always be on-hand through the cold season. Or if you need a little extra moisture when you’re out and about (particularly when you’re moving between the cold outdoors and warm indoors) the 50g or 150g bottles are great for popping in your bag.
Alternatively, many people with eczema find it helpful to switch to a more intense emollient in the winter months, such as Epaderm ointment. Much thicker than the cream, it’s very effective at locking in moisutre in the driest areas of skin – and also comes doctor recommended.
You can pick up a large (1kg) online or smaller (500g or 125g) pot in your local Superdrug or Boots to help your skin survive the winter.
So there you go – that’s how to protect skin in cold weather! We hope these top tips and a pot (or two) of Epaderm will help you beat the cold this winter, but if you’re still struggling with your skin, always remember speak to your doctor for the best treatment recommendation.