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Negative Effects of Cold Weather on Your Skin

December 29, 2023 5 min read

young woman enjoying the sensation of cold weather on her skin while playfully blowing snow from her gloved hands

As temperatures drop and winter sets in, the impact of cold weather on your skin becomes a prominent concern. This shift in climate calls for a revised skincare routine in the winter tailored to combat the harsh effects of the chilly environment. Such changes are important not only for maintaining skin health but also for preventing discomfort and damage. Regardless of age, understanding and adapting to these seasonal skincare needs is essential. We will help you navigate through effective strategies, ensuring your skin remains nourished and protected during the colder months.

Understanding the Negative Effects of Cold Weather on Your Skin

The arrival of cold weather brings many changes, not just in our wardrobe choices but also in our skin's condition. The drop in temperature often leads to a significant decrease in humidity levels, both outside in the crisp air and inside, where heating systems are in constant use. This lower humidity is one of the primary culprits behind the drying effects on the skin. As the air becomes drier, it starts to draw moisture from the skin, leading to common problems such as dryness, cracking, and an uncomfortable feeling of tightness. These issues are further exacerbated by the cold winds, which strip away the skin’s natural oils, essential for maintaining moisture and protecting against external elements.

Consequently, it becomes imperative to build a skincare routine that is specifically tailored for the harsher winter conditions. This involves incorporating products that replenish lost moisture and create a protective barrier to prevent further moisture loss. Intensive moisturizers, particularly those rich in hyaluronic acid or glycerin, can significantly boost the skin’s hydration levels. Simultaneously, integrating oil-based creams into your regimen can offer an added layer of protection, ensuring your skin retains its moisture and stays healthy throughout the cold season.

The Science Behind Cold Weather and Skin Damage

The negative effects of cold weather on your skin go beyond surface-level issues. Scientifically, one of the primary factors contributing to skin damage in colder climates is reduced blood circulation. When temperatures drop, blood vessels constrict to conserve body heat, leading to decreased blood flow to the skin. This reduced circulation means less oxygen and fewer nutrients reach the skin, which is detrimental to skin health and impedes natural repair processes. As a result, the skin may appear duller and is more prone to damage.

Another super important factor is the compromise of the skin's protective barrier. This barrier comprises lipids and natural oils, which are there to retain moisture and shield the skin from environmental aggressors. This barrier is weakened in cold weather, leaving the skin more susceptible to sensitivity, redness, and a higher likelihood of developing skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Therefore, understanding and addressing these underlying scientific reasons is key to maintaining healthy skin in cold weather.

Age-Related Skin Sensitivity in Cold Weather

The impact of cold weather on skin varies significantly across different age groups. Children, for instance, have delicate skin that is more prone to the drying and chapping effects of cold air. Their skin requires extra care and protection to prevent discomfort. The cold can intensify issues like eczema or rosacea in adults, especially those with existing skin conditions. This is particularly challenging for older adults, whose skin naturally produces less oil, making them more susceptible to the adverse effects of cold weather.

A woman in a robe and towel on her head applying a facial mask for a skincare routine

No matter how old you are, sensitive skin needs extra care in the winter. 


Sensitive skin, irrespective of age, demands additional attention during the winter months. For children, gentle, fragrance-free skin care products are important to avoid irritation. In contrast, older adults should opt for richer, more nourishing skincare formulations to compensate for their skin's decreased oil production. These measures, along with maintaining overall skin hydration and employing protective barriers, are steps for all age groups to combat the harsh effects of cold weather on the skin.

Preventive Measures and Skincare Tips

In cold weather, the right skincare routine can make a significant difference in maintaining skin health. Starting with the basics, it is important to choose cleansers that are gentle and non-stripping. Harsh cleansers can remove essential oils from the skin, exacerbating dryness. Following cleansing, a rich, nourishing moisturizer should be applied. Look for products containing ingredients like ceramides or fatty acids, which effectively repair and reinforce the skin barrier.

Also, the importance of sunscreen should not be underestimated, even in the winter months. UV rays can still be harmful during colder seasons, especially when reflected off snow or ice. Therefore, applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen is a vital daily habit. Regular, gentle exfoliation can also benefit the skin by removing dead skin cells and promoting a healthy glow, but it should be done with care to avoid further irritation.

Spa essentials with white towels, scented candles, bath salts, loofah, and cotton branches on a pastel blue background

The proper skincare regimen can significantly impact the health of your skin throughout the colder months.


Lifestyle Adjustments to Counteract Cold Weather Effects

Adjusting your lifestyle is a must when facing the challenges of cold weather, especially if you're in the process of relocating interstate during winter. This period can be particularly taxing on your skin, as it must adapt to the stress of moving and different environmental conditions in your new location. A balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants becomes critical in such times, providing the necessary nutrients to support skin health from within.

In your new home, manage indoor humidity to counteract the drying effects of heating systems used extensively during winter. A humidifier can help maintain a more balanced indoor climate, which is beneficial for your skin. Protective clothing, like gloves and scarves, is also important to shield your skin from the harsh elements outdoors. These measures, coupled with a good skincare regimen, will help keep your skin healthy and resilient throughout the relocation and the colder months.

When to Seek Professional Help

Recognizing when to seek professional help for skin issues during cold weather is important. Persistent redness, severe dryness, or skin that becomes inflamed or infected are signs that it's time to consult a dermatologist. These symptoms could be indicative of underlying conditions requiring specialized treatment. A dermatologist can provide targeted advice and therapies to address these issues effectively.

 Woman in gray turtleneck sweater pulling it up over her mouth, with eyes peeking out

Knowing when to seek treatment for skin problems in the winter is imperative.


Ensure you incorporate habits for better, clear skin. This includes a well-rounded skincare routine and lifestyle habits like staying hydrated and getting sufficient sleep. These practices are foundational for maintaining skin health. However, if skin problems persist despite these efforts, seeking professional advice is important. A dermatologist can offer personalized care and treatment options, ensuring your skin remains healthy and resilient, regardless of the season.

Final Words

The impact of cold weather on your skin cannot be denied, but you can take appropriate measures to address it. Adapting your skincare approach, focusing on nutrition, and managing the atmosphere in your living spaces are effective strategies against the dryness and discomfort brought on by lower temperatures. These proactive measures will help ensure your skin stays healthy, hydrated, and resilient throughout the colder seasons.


Author by: Jassica Mendez