This Part Of Your Body Ages Faster During Winter

Come winter, we're all about the layers. It's cold outside (possibly snowing), the wind is harsh and strong, there's rain sometimes to make matters worse, and stepping outdoors even for a short grocery run or your morning exercise can feel like you're armoring up for battle. 

Despite all the coats, scarves, gloves, and boots, however, there's one part of your body that could be exposed to the harsh elements of cold months and therefore age — your face. And no, it's not just the sunny summer months that wreak havoc on your skin; winter can be harsh on the skin too. The cold weather and resulting drop in humidity can lead to dry skin that isn't able to retain moisture, also known as transepidermal water loss. This is also the reason your skin itches in winter. And guess what, the heater inside your home that keeps you warm? It could also contribute to drying out your skin. 

Dry, itchy, and cracked skin also means your fine lines and wrinkles will become more visible. Truth be told, it's not just the skin on your face that is impacted by the weather change — other areas of your body like your hands and feet need to be taken care of too. In addition to the harsh weather, some of your lifestyle habits during winter also age your skin. 

Hot showers, drying soaps, and holiday alcohol could age your skin

Winter is synonymous with the holidays and festive season for most people. This not only means sugary treats that could lead to premature aging of the skin, but also alcohol consumption that can further dehydrate already dry skin. 

It doesn't help that we are tempted to take long hot showers in the colder months. Even though it might be a guilty pleasure for most come winter, as explained by dermatologist, Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, per Southern Living, hot water can strip away the "natural lipid barrier" in your skin and make matters worse.  

According to dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Peterson (via Yahoo Life), another concern in the winter months has to do with the soaps you're using and the clothing that goes hand-in-hand with the cold. Skin that's already finding it hard to retain moisture because of the cold temperature can become further irritated by "soaps, wools, and other rough-textured clothing (which we like to wear in the winter), and fragrances," explained the expert. What does this mean for your winter skin? Are you supposed to just embrace the strange things that can happen to your body in the winter? Not really, say the experts. In addition to watching what you eat and drink during Christmas and New Year's, here are some skincare tips to follow. 

Tips to protect your face from aging in the winter

Your first order of affairs is to moisturize. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Kiracofe shared with the American Academy of Dermatology Association that it might not be a bad idea to switch to heavier moisturizers and also scale back on ingredients that slow down aging (alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid) you were using in the warmer months. "In the winter months, these products can be irritating for the skin even when combined with moisturizing creams," she explained. 

What you want in your moisturizer are ingredients that are gentle, hydrating, and moisture-sealing — like humectants, ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and aloe vera. What you don't want are harsh fragrances or anything potentially irritating. Also, give your skin extra protection by moisturizing it as soon as you step out of the shower when your skin is still damp. Don't forget your eyelids, lips, neck, hands, and feet. Avoid hot water showers (go for warm) or staying in the shower for too long. Whenever possible, bundle up in warm clothes and don't rely on turning up the heat, Dr. Kiracofe added. A humidifier in your bedroom as you sleep goes a long way to prevent aging skin too. 

Sun protection is as important in the winter as it is in the summer, shared Dr. Marnie Nussbaum (via Southern Living). "While the UVB rays that cause the skin to burn are weaker during winter months, the UVA rays are just as strong. The UVA rays are responsible for sun damage leading to skin cancer, fine lines, wrinkles, and premature aging."