Atopic dermatitis & Psoriasis
How Dry and Cold Weather Affects Your Skin – Your Complete Guide
As we approach the winter season, the weather becomes colder and drier, which will undoubtedly impact your skin. Unfortunately, things may be worse for people with dermatological diseases (e.g., rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis).
In order to prevent these adverse effects, you need to be proactive and take steps before the damage is done.
In this article, we will discuss the effects of dry and cold weather on your skin, as well as the measures you can take to minimize the damage.
The relationship between cold weather and your skin
Regardless of how many layers you wear during winter, when the ambient temperature drops, so does your skin moisture.
You see, the skin goes through two phases, depending on the weather:
- Hot and humid weather – overproduction of skin moisture
- Cold and dry weather – diminished production of skin moisture
Adding to the argument, when you move from the artificially heated environment of your house to the outdoors, the temperature fluctuations and wind exposure will cause your skin to react abruptly (i.e., getting inflamed).
Another factor that contributes to this phenomenon is the fact that most people drink less water during winter, which leads to skin dehydration.
Moving on from modifiable risk factors, cold temperatures shift blood circulation to your core. In other words, your skin gets less blood flow as it’s used to heat up your core. This vascular constriction alters your skin’s microcirculation, leading to recurrent flushing and telangiectasia (i.e., spider angioma).
The collection of all the factors listed above can eventually damage your hydrolipidic barrier. As the name implies, a hydrolipidic barrier consists of fluids and lipids to protect your skin from external damage. Any disruption to this barrier can produce severe consequences to the health of your skin, especially during cold and dry seasons.
How does cold weather impact specific skin diseases?
Common therapies for psoriasis include phototherapy and exposure to sunlight.
Therefore, decreased exposure to sunlight is a key trigger of psoriasis flare-up that speeds up the process of skin cell buildup. Add to this dry weather, and you got yourself the perfect recipe for a constantly worsening case of psoriasis.
To learn more about this condition, feel free to check this comprehensive guide.
Eczema is an umbrella term that describes an array of conditions affecting the skin. When you have eczema, you will experience red, irritated, and bumpy skin. Unfortunately, the winter season witnesses a surge in flare-up cases. Experts blame the sudden temperature change when moving from outdoors to indoors. The optimal way to lower your risk of flareups is by lowering the heater to a tolerable point.
To learn more about the different types of eczema, check out our blog page.
Rosacea is a chronic condition that precipitates facial flushing and deformations of the nose’s anatomy.
During the winter season, rosacea generally becomes worse because the skin is more delicate and cannot fight harsh temperatures. Make sure to wear a scarf as it can protect your cheeks and nose. Of course, if you already have a treatment plan, do not interrupt it. In case of intense flushing, apply a heavy moisturizer and speak with your dermatologist for tailored medical advice.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common condition that causes dandruff and redness of the scalp. Note that the difference between regular dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis is the fact that the latter can occur anywhere in the body that has hair.
Typically, dry weather makes this condition worse. The best way to reverse the symptoms is by using a humidifier and applying a moisturizer.
How to deal with sensitive skin during dry/cold season?Use a gentle skin cleanser
Using a soft skin cleanser can help you preserve the hydrolipidic barrier during the winter season. Opt for products with milder surfactants and fewer fragrances.
Make sure to moisturize your hands more often since hand sanitizers can dry them out.
Improve your skin moisture
Try using a thicker day cream during winter to keep your skin moisturized. Other options include adding a moisturizing serum to your regime or applying a moisturizing cream.
Humidify your house
The dry environment created by the heaters is very damaging to your skin. To counter this effect, get a humidifier at home. The air will become more bearable for your skin, and you will feel more comfortable.
Do not take very hot showers
Getting a hot shower after a long day in the cold seems like the best thing to do, right? Well, hot water damages the hydrolipidic barrier and weakens it. It can also lead to dry skin if you don’t already have it. nstead, opt for lukewarm water to shower and wash your face.
Apply sunscreen every day
Many people have a misconception that UV light is only damaging during the summer months. In reality, UV light is present year-round. In fact, solar radiation can damage your skin even on cloudy days, accelerating a process known as photoaging.
Additionally, when snow covers the ground, it reflects around 80% of UV light, which is higher than water or sand. For this reason, you need to use stronger sunscreen if you live in a snow-covered area or plan to go hiking in the mountains.
Cold and dry skin can have detrimental effects on your skin, especially if you have a concurrent dermatological condition. Being proactive and taking preventive measures is the best way to stop this from happening.
Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the importance of keeping your skin moisturized during dry and cold weather.
Written by Zac Hyde