Tightness all over and dry skin. A dull, grey complexion. Winter is here, and it’s clearly taking its toll on your skin. So how can you prevent these problems and take care of your skin when temperatures drop? How should you adapt your skincare routine to suit this rather unique season? Read on for all the answers.
Why is our skin drier in winter?
Rather than talking about winter, what we should be talking about is the cold. This is because it’s lower temperatures that make our skin feel rougher and look less radiant, not a lack of sun or more rainy days.
When temperatures are close to or below zero, a number of factors combine to affect our skin’s appearance.
The air is at its driest during winter. For example, at 0°C, the quantity of water vapour in ambient air can be up to 7 times less than at 30°C, and winter is also when we spend a lot of time in heated buildings. All heating systems, whether electric, gas, or wood, tend to draw a lot of moisture out of the air, making it dry even indoors.
Our need for warmth damages our skin
Natural Moisturising Factors (NMFs) are essential components found naturally in the skin. They help ensure that the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis) is properly hydrated and supple, while also maintaining the skin barrier. Among other things, NMFs are composed of amino acids and result from the breakdown of a protein called filaggrin, which is produced in the epidermis.
It’s common to want to take a nice, warm bath or shower during winter. And when you do, it feels great, but showering or bathing for long periods in hot water can unfortunately harm the skin barrier by eliminating precious NMFs.
Sebaceous glands in the skin, which produce sebum, have their activity regulated in part by ambient temperature. The cold causes these glands to secrete less sebum which means that the skin’s hydrolipidic film contains less of it. One of the functions of this film is to prevent too much moisture from evaporating from the epidermis, which is not possible without sebum. This means that in dry air, the skin rapidly loses moisture and dries out.
A 2018 study also suggests that the cold may alter or even damage filaggrin, thus reducing NMF production.
Age increases the effects of the cold
Age can also contribute to a reduction in skin lipids and NMFs. As we age, our skin loses its ability to produce lipids because our sebaceous glands become less efficient. NMF levels in the epidermis also decrease with age, meaning that the older we get, the more sensitive our skin is to the cold.
Why complexions look duller in winter
Several factors combine with the cold to make skin look dull during the winter months.
A lack of sunlight
From November to March, days are shorter, and therefore daylight hours are fewer. We also wear longer clothes and tend to spend less time outdoors. This all makes it more difficult for us to synthesise vitamin D, which is mainly produced when skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D plays a key role in cell renewal, i.e. the turnover of newly produced skin cells and the elimination of dead ones.
When this turnover process slows down, it creates an imbalance in the epidermis; the number of dead cells on the surface increases, and the skin loses radiance.
The outer layers of the skin receive less blood
Just as we sweat less when it’s cold and we need warmth, blood circulation to the outer layers of the skin also decreases (blood flows first to the internal organs to maintain body temperature). This has two consequences:
- Waste is eliminated less effectively and can accumulate.
- The pinkish hue of the skin, due to circulating blood, is less pronounced.
This all contributes to a duller, greyer complexion.
For some, winter often means low morale. This is generally caused by a lack of sunlight. This can lead to changes in eating habits (eating less fruit and vegetables and leaning instead towards comfort foods, or a less balanced diet in general), as well as increased fatigue and stress.
This can increase oxidative stress in the body in general and in the skin specifically.
So, the reasons for dry, dull skin during winter are many and varied. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and it can easily be mitigated with the right skincare routine.
FILORGA’s winter skincare routine
To take proper care of your face in winter, Laboratoires FILORGA’s experts recommend that you include the following products in your beauty routine:
- The HYDRA-AOX  intensive antioxidant serum: this innovative treatment combines 5 antioxidants (astaxanthin + ergothioneine + vitamin C + vitamin E + vitamin B3) and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid in a moisturising, protective serum. Suitable for all skin types, Filorga’s HYDRA-AOX  face care helps combat the oxidative stress that occurs in winter and maintain a radiant complexion.
- To complement HYDRA-AOX , the GLOBAL-REPAIR ADVANCED anti-ageing elixir, inspired by the lipid-rich dressings used after cosmetic surgery, helps promote the skin’s natural repair process. The HYDRA-HYAL serum is highly popular with our customers in winter and provides your skin with hydration and fullness thanks to its 5 different forms of hyaluronic acid.
- For dry and very dry skin, the GLOBAL-REPAIR ADVANCED moisturising cream or GLOBAL REPAIR balm both have a rich, deeply nourishing texture without feeling greasy and are the perfect winter companions for your skin. Which of these two treatments you choose will depend on your skin type.