Skincare in winter
Even though the winter season can be pretty and wonderfully festive, it certainly creates a challenge when it comes to caring for your skin. This can mostly be put down to the extremely dry air around, regardless of whether you are inside or outside, as cool air cannot absorb as much moisture as warm air.
The dry ambient air makes the skin lose moisture. The air isn’t only drier than in summer, it is often also dirtier, which creates an additional burden on the skin as it’s the body’s protective layer.
Unfortunately that’s not the end of the bad news, as even the skin’s metabolism changes as it gets colder. On the one hand the skin’s protective layer suffers from a lack of fat and on the other, functions such as the activities of the sebaceous glands cease to work at lower temperatures. This means that the thin layer of fat which usually protects the skin from drying out gets even thinner at low temperatures and can wear off completely when it is extremely cold. The face and hands are especially affected by the low temperatures, as they can’t be as well protected from the cold like the rest of the body.
Ways to prevent dry skin in winter
- As the skin should be treated with fat in winter to protect against the cold, it makes sense to use a moisturising cream as well as to take amino acid supplements and to make sure you are getting enough vitamins.
- Try to avoid hot wellness baths or at least visit them less frequently. This is because the warm water further dehumidifies the skin and robs it of additional fat, which is unfortunately disadvantageous in winter.
- When skiing, or when temperatures are extremely low, moisturising creams should not be used, as the moisturising/hydrating particles in the cream can actually freeze on the skin. In such cases, there are cold-protection creams which should especially be used on the exposed areas of the face (lips, ears, bridge of the nose). However, you should nevertheless make sure you remove these creams when spending longer periods of time indoors e.g. at ski resorts, as your skin could easily become overheated because they seal the skin and therefore prevent the exchange of moisture between the skin and the air in a physical way.
- And another tip for the ski fanatics among you- don’t forget your sun cream for the pistes! The sun’s intensity increases dramatically at higher altitudes and the snow reflects the sun so much that it can be up to 90 percent stronger than on the lowlands. Therefore you should always use creams with UV protection and a high protection factor.
- In general – and not only in winter –a lot of movement and alternating hot and cold baths stimulate the metabolism and therefore assist in the transport of important amino acids, vitamins and minerals to the various skin layers.
- Just like in summer, you should ensure you drink enough. That means at least two to three litres of water or tea per day.
- Using mild soap or handwash is just as important in winter as in summer. The more you protect your skin from drying out and from the damage of other external influences, the better its resistance against the cold.
- Besides amino acids, the B vitamins are especially important for skin in winter, as they belong to the moisture-binding, active ingredients.
Unfortunately the winter doesn’t stay outside. Indoors, humidity levels are generally too low due to the heating, which is why special care has to be taken so that the skin can recover at home.
How to prevent dry air at home
Letting air into the rooms is unfortunately not that effective as the cold air from outside also has very little moisture in it. That’s why you should ensure the air in rooms gets enough moisture. You can do this in the following ways:
- Fill containers with water and put them in different rooms. Then you can really see how much moisture escapes into the air per day. You’ll probably notice that you’ll hardly be able to fill them quick enough! The disadvantage is that the containers have to be changed or cleaned regularly, as they are almost the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of germs and bacteria, which can be breathed in through the air.
- Alternatively, you could put damp hand towels on the radiators, but the hygiene factor remains the same as above.
- Indoor plants are also ideal natural humidifiers, as they can also help to clean and partly detoxify the air. This isn’t very effective though and of course not everybody likes rubber trees! :-)
- There are many electric humidifiers on the market which use many different techniques, such as vaporizers which let a fine film of water into the air, or evaporators. The same applies here- they are bacterial slingshots and if you don’t consistently think about hygiene and clean the containers regularly, (which depending on the appliance can be difficult to do!) you could be in for a bigger problem than before! We tend to advise against using atomizer spray bottles as these fine water droplets can join with the bacteria in the air and can easily be inhaled.
- If you try to keep the humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent, nothing should go wrong. A hygrometer can be used to measure the moisture levels in the air.
Have fun and make the most of these cold but beautiful days of the year!
Sarah & Treez
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