How to protect your skin against harsh, cold weather and treat dry complexions

Posted by for Skincare

While daily walks are becoming an important part of our routines, the cold wind can leave skin feeling irritated and dry. Here’s how to protect your skin from damaging environmental factors.

As we continue to see out lockdown 3.0, the current highlight of our days seem to revolve around walking. From wintery local walks for your daily exercise to getting a breath of fresh air for mental clarity; walks are becoming a stable part of our lives as we grapple with new routines.

While it’s important to get outside, you may notice that alongside numb fingers, the cold weather is leaving your skin irritated, red and dry. Add central heating to that and your face can be left feeling tight and uncomfortable.

“Wind and cold temperatures affect skin in a significant way,” says Dr Barbara Kubicka, founder, director and doctor at Clinicbe. “The effects on the skin will depend on an individual’s sensitivity but generally, it dries the skin making it rough and uneven in texture.”

Alongside drier complexions, colder temperatures can cause more skin issues for some. Dr Kubicka adds: “The winter condition will affect capillaries making the skin more prone to redness, sometimes resulting in little broken capillaries, thread veins and spider veins as they are called by some.

“Also, as many of us have noticed, it makes the skin on our lips very dry, making them cracked and sore.”

Before you step outside, it’s important to prep and protect your skin against cold, harsh winds and damaging environmental factors.

“It’s much easier to protect your skin than to repair the damage done by winter conditions,” says Dr Kubicka. “Use a barrier cream on your face and a hydrating product on your lips.” 

She also recommends being more mindful of the ingredients you’re applying to your face. “I advise reducing the use of a water-based serums in the morning during this time.

“If your skin can handle more oily, heavier products use these instead. [Reducing the use of water-based serums] will protect your skin from perspiration that occurs due to elements such as an increase in central heating, which can cause further dryness.”

Additionally, Dr Kubicka recommends “face oils with vitamin E and a soothing, calming vitamin B complex, like panthenol. Also, niacinamide and zinc are key ingredients to look out for in your skincare.”

If you get in from a walk and your face feels still feel dry, tight or uncomfortable, Dr Kubicka says: “You can apply an extra layer of moisturiser with healing properties, such aloe vera or again, face oils with vitamin E.”

Here, we round up the best pre-walk and post-walk products to keep your skin happy, healthy and hydrated.

Best face products to protect skin against the cold

  • Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

    Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm
    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

    This clever formula contains vitamin B, glycerin and bisabolo (from chamomile) to soothe, smooth and moisturise irritated, sensitive skin. It’s no wonder then, that it’s a favourite among celebrities including Beyonce, Meghan Markle and Nicole Kidman.

    This skin balm was first put on our radar by Stylist’s Email Content Director Gemma Crisp. “It’s great for giving your skin a layer of glossy protection when you’re heading out into the cold,” says Crisp. “Plus, it can be used as a clear highlighter, rather than a shimmery one, which is hard to get right.”

    Shop Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm at Boots, £9

  • Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil

    Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil
    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil

    This inexpensive face oil has rave reviews thanks to its ability to leave skin moisturised and reduce redness. It contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects skin against damaging free radicals, and sinks into skin without any hints of greasiness.

    Shop Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil at Superdrug, £3.99

  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

    Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

    Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is a cult classic for a reason. It contains petrolatum and vitamin E to soothe irritation and provide intense hydrating to extremely dry skin. Warm a small amount of the balm up between your hands, massage it into skin and let it get to work.

    Shop Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant at lookfantastic, £28

Best lip products to treat sore, cracked lips

  • Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm

    Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm
    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm

    This Medik8 lip balm is squalane-based, an ingredient that locks in moisture, has anti-inflammatory properties and boosts collagen production. It also contains glycerin for a double dose of hydration.

    Shop Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm at lookfantastic, £19

Best products to treat your face post-walk

Sign up for our essential edit of what to buy, see, read and do, and also receive our 11-page Ultimate Guide To Making Your Home Feel Bigger.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Main image: Getty

Share this article