WINTER SKIN WOES: INGREDIENTS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN COLD WEATHER
What does winter mean to you? Dry, cracked and irritated skin? Not any more. These cold-weather saviours will leave your skin feeling sunny – whatever the temperature!
There’s no denying that we Brits are obsessed with summer. We draw it out as long as possible, allowing its presence to impact plans, conversations and moods. From the shy whispers of sunshine on our first jumper-free day in April, all the way up to the final unexpected heatwave of September. It’s an ironic trait, considering we’re world-renowned for having summers that are – at the best of times – unpredictable.
Perhaps that’s exactly why though. A British summer is like the first sip of your favourite drink; delicious, tantalising and it always leaves you wanting more. We enjoy our first taste of heat, the kind that makes you dig out last year’s swimwear (only to wonder why you no longer have a set that matches) and has you pondering whether open water swimming really is for you after all.
However, as quickly as it arrives, it’s gone, leaving us longing for that euphoric feeling of warmth for the next few months. Even the sun shyers, the hat wearers and garden grumblers cannot deny that it brings a certain electric quality to the country’s mood.
It’s a seasonal hopefulness that leaves us feeling a little sad when it’s over. When pumpkins start piling up in supermarket aisles, the promise of a long, hazy summer – reminiscent of the rosey, ice lolly-coated school holidays of childhood – dances drearily out of reach for another long winter.
Some of us feel a jolt of excitement at the prospect of being able to pile on more than two layers, the warming sensation of a Pumpkin Spiced Latté (again with the pumpkins) and the prospect of the holy grail of winter wishes – a white Christmas. Others hunker down, stockpile on vitamin D tablets and wonder why humans haven’t evolved to join their fellow mammalian friends in the process of hibernation. I personally sit very much in the second camp.
That being said, what does make the winter more bearable is knowing that we don’t have to sacrifice our healthy skin to its icy clutches, as long as we’re supplementing our skincare routines with as much nourishing goodness as possible.
So, whether you’re a fellow cold-phobe like me or you relish the prospect of ice skating and chilly walks – but still want to fortify your skin’s defences – we’ve picked out five ingredients to help boost your complexion as temperatures start to drop.
First of all, this golden oil looks like summer in a bottle, making it a perfect pick-me-up for when the sun sets just a few hours after lunchtime. It’s extracted from rosehip seeds, and comes packed full of omega oils, to moisturise and soothe skin, and antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, to brighten and protect in equal measure. It’s also effective at soothing the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, two conditions the winter can play havoc with due to a more rapid change in temperature between inside and outside (National Eczema Association).
This ingredient has been around in skincare for a long time, but there’s a reason it’s stood the test of time. If we’re being really technical, the term vitamin E actually refers to a group of oil-soluble antioxidants, but tocopherol is the variety you’re likely to see in skincare products. Cold air can leave our skin feeling irritated and dry, but vitamin E is a natural anti-inflammatory and works hard to soothe and calm our skin (Oregon State University). Its antioxidant benefits are also even more of a necessity in winter, as cold air has been shown to lead to higher pollution levels (Accu Weather). Vitamin E works to protect our skin from these increased pollution levels and free radicals – which scavenge electrons from atoms in our skin – by providing an extra electron and preventing damage.
This refreshing plant extract is one we often associate with summer, with its cooling properties making it an effective addition to aftersun and sun care products. However, its hydrating, antioxidant and soothing abilities have earned it a spot on our list of winter-proof ingredients as well. Nina Goad, British Association of Dermatologists, notes that “prolonged wet weather can strip the skin’s barrier function.” (ScienceDaily). This can lead to greater transepidermal water loss, and so ingredients such as aloe vera that work to rehydrate the skin are essential in maintaining that oh-so-coveted bounce.
A rich source of fatty acids, coconut oil has occlusive benefits for our skin and traps moisture – something we need more of in cooler temperatures. “Winter poses a special problem because humidity is low both outdoors and indoors, and the water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it” (Harvard Medical School). That’s why we often experience dryness or the ‘winter itch’ during long periods of cold temperatures. Coconut oil assists our epidermis by reducing transepidermal water loss to keep our skin nice and hydrated (National Center For Biotechnology Information).
Like vitamin E, vitamin C also has powerful antioxidant benefits. Aside from its ability to protect our skin from free radical and pollution damage, there are a fair few reasons why this ingredient has become a beauty buzzword and made its way onto our list of sub-zero heroes. Skin can look duller during the winter, caused by the dryness and moisture-loss we’ve already talked about, but vitamin C has been proven to effectively brighten and even skin tone (Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology), so your skin keeps on glowing strong!
Look me up!
Want to learn more about these sub-zero heroes? Our ingredient glossary has everything you need to know about these natural, sustainably-sourced powerhouses.