As the temperature drops, many of us notice our skin starts to change. The winter months can wreak havoc on our complexion, causing a whole host of irritation and inflammation.
While we know it’s important to wrap up warm and protect our extremities from extreme weather, keeping our skin nourished as the cold sets in involves a lot more than remembering to wear a scarf and gloves.
If you struggle to soothe your skin as the seasons change, read on to find out why, and to get some helpful hints.
How can winter weather affect the skin?
Ever notice that your skin loses its glow as winter rolls around? You’re not alone. Dry patches, spots and blotchiness are all common complaints we can experience as the colder weather takes hold. But why?
Cold air and low humidity both play a part in changing the appearance of your skin, reducing its levels of moisture, and leading to dryness. Additionally, when we start to feel the cold, we tend to reach for the thermostat, cranking the heat up indoors which can also strip the moisture from the air and from your skin.
This combination of factors contributes to something called trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), which causes the skin barrier to degrade.
Common winter skin complaints
When it comes to winter skin problems, what should we be looking out for? These are some of the most common complaints:
- Cracks in your skin
- Flakiness or scaliness
- Raw, irritated skin
- Rough texture
- Stinging or burning sensation
Although these are some of the most common skin problems we can experience in winter, the cause isn’t always down to the temperature. If you experience some of these issues throughout the year, there could be other underlying conditions which need to be investigated.
Tips for taking care of your skin in winter
Although there isn’t much we can do about the weather, there are plenty of steps we can take to protect our skin in the colder months
Moisturise right after washing to replace the natural oils which can be stripped away.
Use overnight treatments, which tend to be heavier, giving them longer to absorb into your skin as you sleep.
Use a humidifier to introduce moisture back into the air and stop you skin from drying out.
Turn the temperature down when you bathe. It’s tempting to have hot baths in winter, but this will only strip your skin of essential natural oils.
Go easy on the scrubs. When your skin is dry, you may want to exfoliate more but this can do more harm than good.
Hydrate from the inside. While you may not feel thirsty like you do in the heat of summer, it’s incredibly important to drink plenty of water.
Choose the right fabrics. If the skin on your body is extra dry, try wearing loose natural fabrics to reduce irritation.
Nourish through diet. What you put on your skin can help soothe it. But what you put into your body in the first place can play a huge part in the health and appearance of your skin.
How can your diet affect your skin?
Could something in your diet be causing you problems with your skin?
It’s estimated that around 45% of UK adults have a food intolerance. While for some, the symptoms are quite mild and manageable, for others, the impact their trigger foods have on their health can be debilitating.
Food intolerances can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it. This reaction can result in a range of inflammatory symptoms, such as IBS and bloating, headaches, brain fog, joint pain or skin complaints like eczema or acne.
Although there are foods, such as dairy and gluten, which are often thought to be the cause of food intolerances, there really are no hard and fast rules.
While experts generally agree that it’s a good idea to reduce your intake of sugar, alcohol, and processed foods to help manage inflammation that can cause skin problems, it’s important to look at more tailored advice if you want to make informed choices about your diet.
An ingredient which causes problems for one person, may be completely fine for another. This is why it’s important not to base dietary decisions on what may have worked for someone else. You may end up avoiding foods which do not cause you problems and miss out on vital nutrients as a result.
Take control of your diet
Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. A common recommendation is the elimination diets, where you remove one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel. But this process can take a long time. And, although many of us react to several ingredients, the elimination diet is often abandoned when the first trigger food is found, leaving an incomplete picture of what’s causing the problem.
Get answers faster
When it comes to food intolerance testing, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable laboratory testing company. At Smartblood, we offer a comprehensive test to help you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods.
Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.
Our tests are supported by a 30-minute telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist to help you understand your results and make safe, sustainable changes to your diet.