The effects of winter on your skin

If you’re in need of another reminder why you’re putting yourself through a 31-day stretch of zero alcohol, here it is: your skin will thank you for it.

Ever noticed a correlation between overindulgent nights and unsightly spots a day or two later? There’s a reason for that. Alcohol is bad news when it comes to your complexion.

Read on for a few of the ways drinking can take a toll on your skin…

Drinking dehydrates
Remember that desert dry mouth that used to wake you up at 3am? It will come as no surprise that alcohol dehydrates your body but it also dries out your skin – your body’s largest organ. Alcohol is a diuretic that drains your body of skin-loving water, leaving it dull and dehydrated, sometimes to the point of scaly.

Lines and wrinkles
Alcohol reduces your vitamin A levels, which is a powerful antioxidant instrumental in the production of collagen. As we age, our collagen and elastin levels deplete, making skin sag and the signs of ageing more visible. Alcohol has been found to further break down collagen networks, speeding up the ageing process of the skin.

They say you can tell a heavy drinker by the colour of their face. Well, there’s merit in it – alcohol causes broken capillaries in the face, resulting in a flushed and blotchy appearance. The tannins in wine particularly, also make your skin more susceptible to flushing.

It’s not unusual to wake up to a puffy face, complete with under-eye baggage, after a night of heavy drinking. In addition to weight gain due to high calories, alcohol is also linked to water retention.

Dermatologists warn patients suffering from acne to stay clear of alcohol, or at the very least cut back. Drinking causes hormones to fluctuate, which activates the sebaceous glands and in turn an overproduction of sebum. If skin clarity is a concern, avoid pre-mixed drinks and cocktails high in sugar as these will further aggravate breakouts.

Alcohol depletes the body of vitamin C, which is essential for healing. Due to this, if you’re a heavy drinker you may notice you also bruise easily. Dehydrated skin also means there’s less ‘cushion’ to shield the skin from impact.

Bye, bye glow
*News flash* alcohol has little nutrient value. It contributes to poor liver function, low immunity, hormone disruption and cell damage, which ultimately culminate in lacklustre skin. Moreover, it deprives the skin of important vitamins and nutrients, which give your skin that radiant, lit-from-within glow.

So, there you have it, if not for your mind and body – preserve with Dry July for the sake of your skin.

It’s safe to say winter has well and truly kicked in. While the cooler months definitely have some perks (yay for track pants!), no one is immune to a case of the post-summer blues…even your skin.

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The skin cycle

Have you ever found your usual moisturiser turns on you suddenly and stops delivering results or worse, causes a negative reaction? There’s a reason for that: seasonal change.

It turns out our mood isn’t the only thing affected by the weather. Just like the seasons, our skin goes through different phases and as a result your routine may need some seasonal tweaks.

Skin requires different types of support through the cooler months. Learn what’s happening to your skin as seasons transition and key changes to implement for healthy, glowing skin.


What happens: As we shift from summer to autumn, the skin enters a transitional phase and is highly reactive to changes in the atmosphere. You’ll start to observe increased dehydration due to less humidity and moisture in the air. During autumn, that glow you sported in summer starts to fade and your complexion can look ‘drained’.

What your skin needs: This is the time to feed your skin with antioxidant-rich skincare, LOTS of water and vitamin B – preferably in both skincare and supplement form. This will ensure your skin is as strong and resilient as possible heading into winter.


What happens: In the winter, rapidly changing temperatures, from heated indoors to cold outdoors, are harsh on the skin and capillaries. The prolonged exposure to wet weather also slows down cell renewal and circulation, as well as strips the skin’s barrier function. Overall, you’ll notice your skin just doesn’t operate like it used to – not to mention the effects of winters ills and chills on skin performance! As your skin gets put through the ringer expect to see more dryness, redness and irritation than usual. While tempting, try to reduce frequency of super-hot showers and tone down the central heating.

What your skin needs: Winter is all about retaining as much moisture as possible. 

  • Up the ante in the moisture department through a fluid-rich diet with foods like cucumber, carrots, tomatoes and beetroot.

  • Switch out light lotions for heavier creams brimming with humectants – these draw moisture in the air back into your skin. Honey is a great natural humectant as well as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

  • If you’re skin is looking dull and tired make friends with vitamin C. Known as the skin “miracle worker”, vitamin C is a proven brightening agent when applied topically and taken in supplement form. Plus, taking vitamin C will help defend against the winter ills and chills – win win!

  • The biggest misconception people make in winter is forgetting to apply sunscreen. Just because you can’t physically see the sun shining doesn’t mean it’s not quietly there wreaking havoc. If you’re hitting the slopes it’s especially important to take extra care as reflected rays from snow and ice are particularly damaging. If the cold weather has caused sudden sensitivity, invest in a gentle formula specifically for the face.

Yes, we’re getting ahead of ourselves but spring will be here before we know it! 

What happens: Spring is the safest and most skin-friendly of the four seasons. The chills of winter are replaced with a happy medium warmer temperature and less wind. However, allergies are out in full force and hay fever sufferers may find their skin extra sensitive.

What your skin needs: Pollen does not do wonders for the sinuses or skin, especially around the nose area that often ends up itchy and dry following sneezing fits. Thankfully, there are plenty of anti-inflammatory remedies available to reduce redness and relieve irritation. If you’re prone to allergies, opt for sensitive skincare formulations and take anti-inflammatory vitamins like fish oil, which have omega-3 fatty acids vital for optimum health. And obviously, keep antihistamines close by!

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