The cold dries the scalp and causes hair to become brittle, leading to split ends.
A lack of vitamin D due to low sunlight also slows it’s growth. You may have noticed your hair thinning.
“Our vitamin D plummets in winter. Our bodies can only store about two months’ worth of it, so by March supplies are depleted,” says trichologist Sara G Allison,
Fix it: “We can replenish these supplies in spring by simply getting out each day, even for 20 minutes,” says Sara. “You can also give your hair and scalp a vitamin and mineral boost by using Arkeya Minerals (arkeya.com).
“They contain nutrients such as selenium and iodine which can kick-start your metabolism and cell growth.”
Our eyes come under attack in winter, warns optometrist Francesca Marchetti of the College of Optometrists.
“Often we can be unwell with colds, flu and infections. When we’re run down our eyes can suffer and become tired. This can result in them feeling drier than usual,” she says.
“Central heating and car heaters can cause very dry air and if you’re prone to dry eyes anyway, this can make it worse.”
Fix it: Francesca recommends keeping eyes moist by lubricating them with drops
Cold season can lead to dull complexions and flare-ups. A lack of humidity in the colder months combined with the drying effect of central heating means the most superficial layer of skin – the stratum corneum – is not as effective at retaining water. Also, less exposure to UV light during the darker months means vitamin D is depleted.
“Skin conditions such as eczema and acne are vulnerable during the winter,” says Dr Noor Almaani, a dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, London.
“Evidence suggests this could be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effects of ultraviolet radiation that is absent during the winter.”
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Fix it: Dr Almaani says it can be tempting to exfoliate after the winter and get rid of any dead skin, but warns not to be too aggressive.
“Although exfoliating increases penetration of moisturisers, it can often lead to irritation if too harsh.”
She also advises using gentle, non-alkaline cleansers to calm the skin as it recovers from winter.
Hands also suffer from low outside humidity and dry air in homes.
“Harsher weather can result in the impairment of the skin which leads to dryness and irritation,” says Dr Emma Wedgeworth, a dermatology consultant
“Cold conditions affect the epidermis – the outer layer of the skin – which gives the skin a good barrier mechanism. But when the lipid content reduces (the fats which make up our skin) water is not held in as efficiently. Hands then get dry and flaky.”
Fix it: If you suffer with dry skin you should consider avoiding standard soaps and gels, says Dr Wedgeworth.
A harsh Cold season means nails are more likely to become brittle and split.
“When nails lose hydration they can become weak and easily damaged. Nails also grow slower in the winter months because circulation is lessened in cold weather,” says nutritionist Shona Wilkinson (Nutri.com).
Fix it: Massage hand cream into nail cuticles, drink more water and ensure you eat enough protein. “Your nails are made of keratin which is a protein, so boost it with eggs, fish, meat or lentils,” says Shona.
Arthritis sufferers often experience increased pain in Cold season. This may be because low barometric pressure has a physical impact.
“In cold weather the body focuses on circulating blood around the core and organs and away from muscles and joints. This results in joints seeming less flexible,” says consultant Dr Rod Hughes of St Peter’s Hospital
Fix it: Dr Hughes suggests products such as GOPO Joint Health (£17.99 for 120 capsules from Boots and supermarkets). It’s a natural anti-inflammatory compound containing rosehip that is clinically proven to relieve pain.
With only 10% of us wearing the correct size shoes, according to a study, our feet in winter endure being rubbed and crushed.
“Shoes which irritate our feet can cause corns, callouses and joint pain,” says Gary Boon, podiatric surgeon at BMI The Lincoln Hospital.
He adds chilblains can result from cold, wet feet, while damp and rough fabrics can worsen skin conditions such as eczema. Fungal infections around toes and under nails can also be caused by wearing damp boots.
Fix it: “Expose feet to the air and reduce friction by wearing open-toed shoes and sandals. Walking barefoot strengthens feet too,” says Gary.
For yeast-type fungal foot infections, milder cases can be cleared up by thorough daily cleaning with surgical spirit. If an infection is more extensive, products such as Canesten cream can help stop it. See a GP or chiropodist.
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