Why exactly is winter so hard on our skin?

Our salon is in Iowa, and Iowa is known for harsh winters. We all have heard that winter isn't great for our skin, but why exactly is winter harsh on our skin?

Winter is certainly less friendly than other times of the Midwestern year. The most common challenge we experience during the winter months is, as I'm sure you can guess, dry and dehydrated skin. And there are multiple things that are the cause of this.

First of all, the air in winter is dryer. This happens because cold air cannot hold as much moisture in it as warm air can, and the colder the air, the less moisture it can hold before it's forced to leave in the form of condensation. Therefore, the colder climate you live in, the dryer your air is. Then, when that air comes into your home and you heat it up, you're only making the air warmer, not adding moisture. What's even worse is that when that cold air warms up, it has the capacity to hold more moisture, so it will take that moisture from other things in the environment.

And what does this extra dry air do to our skin? Lack of humidity in the air promotes dryness in our skin. Dry air takes moisture from other things in the environment - like our bodies - decreasing the moisture in our skin which can turn it dry, red, and irritated. This can intensify other challenges you normally have with your skin whether it's oily, acne prone, or dry. Additionally, dehydrated skin promotes premature aging, so you may notice the appearance of more wrinkles.

So what can I use and do to keep my skin hydrated in the winter? Because the dry air is taking moisture from our bodies, we need be rehydrating ourselves by drinking water. We also need to be adding moisture to the air; adding a humidifier to your home is a good option. Moisturizers and hydrating serums are also a big help. Here are two ingredients you want to look for:

  • Hyaluronic acid is something we have naturally in our skin, and is excellent at holding moisture. Adding hyaluronic acid to your healthy and balanced skin care routine calms and helps the redness of the dry skin. It's an especially good moisturizer ingredient for someone who has oily skin as it does not clog pores.
  • Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid from sugar cane. It exfoliates the skin by dissolving the bonds between skin cells and helps to hold the water molecules in your skin. For that reason, it's a very friendly exfoliant for the winter time.

Remember - hydration is very important for dry and oily skin. Skin can be oily and still not hydrated. Oily skin that is not properly hydrated can promote the production of more oil in the skin and cause breakouts. Like with many changes in climate, you should create a skin care routine specifically for winter. We all need hydration, but talk to a skin care specialist about how to hydrate your type of skin in the right way without making it worse.

Happy winter, and stay hydrated!