Cold temperatures and dry heated indoor air aren’t the only culprits that wreak havoc on your skin during chilly months. Mood changes that come along with winter’s dreary, dark days can age your skin and contribute to dullness. Seasonal Affected Disorder depression elevates cortisol levels and stresses your complexion. You can keep your youthful glow by changing up your beauty routine and modifying your diet. Sleeping in a bedroom where a humidifier adds moisture to the environment also helps your winter-parched skin.
“Skin absolutely is affected by our moods; they have a huge impact on not only how we look, but how others perceive us,” said New York medical esthetician Jordana Mattioli.
“Stress is probably the biggest culprit not only for aging but for health. Stress releases specific hormones that in turn slow down our natural skin turnover rate, which can exacerbate dryness, dehydration, even acne.” High levels of cortisol can slow healing, cell turnover, and collagen production, according to some research.
While this time of year stresses the complexion, the season also gives us one of nature’s all-around miracle workers for skin: pumpkin. Look for it as an ingredient in peels and masks.
“Pumpkin contains natural sources of enzymes and antioxidants,” Mattioli said. ‘The enzymes help to dissolve protein, exfoliate, and increase skin cell turnover. Two particular antioxidants found in pumpkin have amazing benefit to the skin – Vitamin A and C. This combination of enzymes and powerful antioxidants make pumpkin a great ingredient in an exfoliating at-home peel or face mask.”
Those with dry skin will benefit from a rich night cream to boost hydration against damage from punishing indoor heat, she recommends. Follow up by using oil on top of your daily moisturizer. Anyone with oilier skin should try adding a layer of hyaluronic acid serum.
Exfoliating remains an important part of skin care during colder months, but Mattioli recommends limiting the treatment to twice a week.
“Exfoliation and shedding the outside layer of skin is essential to let your other products – particularly your hydrators – penetrate better,” she said. “You’ll have much fewer dry skin issues when your moisturizer doesn’t have that barrier to get through. No matter your skin type or concern (or season!), exfoliation should be an essential step of any skincare routine.
‘It also helps the skin function its best and bring it back to a more balanced state to be able to look great no matter the season.”
Now is a great time to treat yourself to a facial, she said. “Seasonal changes are the best times to get a facial to just reset your skin by getting in some good exfoliation and starting fresh.”
Mattioli also suggests talking to your doctors about supplements such as Omega Fatty acids. “It’s common over the winter to eat more sugar- and carb-laden comfort foods, and that will totally affect your skin, so supplement with green juices and extra veggies as often as possible.”
Taking a few extra steps to care for your complexion will reward you with a softer, youthful look during a harsh winter. “The skin likes consistency, so it’s very normal for skin to be affected by seasonal changes,” Mattioli said.
For her favorite seasonal facial peels and masks, read more: Is Your Skin Suffering from SAD?