10-07-2017 | Dermatologist | Facial Care , Skin , Body care

How does cold weather affect our skin?

Now that the temperatures have begun to decrease, it is important to know how cold is going to affect our skin and if we can look after it to minimise these effects.

Despite the rain, snow and bad weather, the relative humidity in the air usually decreases and the atmosphere becomes drier. This causes a change in the epidermis as an effect of dehydration. We can notice it in our face, with deeper lines and flaking of the skin. We also notice itching in acral areas, such as the extremities (legs and arms) and particularly the hands and feet.

What happens?

Cold temperatures reduce the skin's horny layer and the visible effects are similar to having dry skin. This is due to the fact that we lose cells more easily, which causes abrasions and inflammation from inclement weather. This is also usually a time when we drink fewer liquids, due to a reduced sensation of thirst and this causes a decrease in cellular hydration. This could also lead to illnesses such as dermatitis caused by scratching the skin when it itches.

What can we do?

  • Cleansing:

You should clean your skin gently and with short washes. The water should always be warm but avoid temperature fluctuations which cause spider veins and vasodilation due to changes in the venous calibre. For example, after a shower you should try to dry yourself gently and apply a moisturising product to absorb the water that has entered through the open pores of your skin to achieve a longer lasting hydration.

  • Hydration:

Cold temperatures indirectly cause an increase in the skin's dryness. The horny layer that protects us from temperature changes becomes weak and needs increased cellular regeneration. Therefore we recommend, depending on your skin type, a minimum of 2-3 applications of hydrating emollients. We also need products that contain nutrients, vitamin C, and collagen to help with cellular regeneration at the skin’s basal layer.

  • Pay attention to your hands and lips:

It is very important to extend the hydration routine to the hands and lips. Because we don’t always want to wear gloves, it’s not uncommon to suffer minor injuries to the fingers caused by the low temperatures. We should pay more attention to our hands by moisturising them and using emollients with a high content of glycerine and urea to reduce the itchy effects caused by vasoconstriction due to cold weather.

You should soothe the epithelial detachment at the lips and periorbital and perioral contours. To do this, we recommend products with a high content of nutrients and moisturisers.

  • Photoprotection:

Although can we believe that ultraviolet radiation only affects us during sunny periods, it is known that, because we neglect the skin at this time of year, winter has a greater impact on the face and especially the lips. This becomes apparent in the skiing season, as the snow reflects up to 80% more radiation than we are normally exposed to, which can cause first degree lip burns.

  • Healthy habits:

Tobacco and alcohol generate free radicals that oxidise upon the increased degradation of substances in the corneal layer. They also cause central vasodilation with peripheral vasoconstriction, where they meet the skin’s blood vessels, causing a lower blood output in these areas and thus decreasing the nutrition and worsening the external appearance. Therefore the effects of premature aging are increased and above all, it causes an increased peeling of the skin.


autor
DermatologistExpert in skin care

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