I’m not a fan of winter. Give me warmth and sun any day. And now they tell us that winter ages you by 5 years. I think I knew that without the scientific study, thanks! But anyway let’s see how it is that the colder months can make you look old and what you can do about it to look younger.
According to one winter aging study, carried out by a company which makes a high end under eye cream to reduce dark circles (Aronia Organics), it is actually dark circles that age us by 5 years (mind you, they would say that wouldn’t they?)
During clinical trials at AMA Laboratories in New York, women were shown to suffer more from aging dark circles and under-eye puffiness in winter than in summer. Apparently only 38 per cent of us have them in summer and 82 per cent in winter – and luckily the problem reverses itself in the summer.
There are a couple of things causing these aging traits:-
- paler skins during the winter show up shadows under the eyes more than on faces with a bit more color
- a drop in the sunshine vitamin – vitamin D levels are re-markedly lower in winter. That, together with a drop in vitamin K contributes to dark circles and puffy eyes
- lower levels of serotonin – making you feel a bit down and tired which also shows in your face
On top of the findings in that study, dry skin in winter gives us fine lines we can do without and makes our skin look older than it does when it is dewy and fresh in spring.
Our hair can suffer the ravages of winter too and become dry and unmanageable, rather than bouncing with health.
Finally there’s all the extra eating during the cold months and especially in the holiday season that gives the extra few pounds that age our bodies with flabby tunnies, thighs and hips typical in middle aged women and sometimes tip us over into aging double chin territory.
Oh dear. It’s a wonder we don’t just hide under the duvet and come out when the weather gets better. I must admit, at times, I’m tempted. Maybe I have a touch of SAD…
But all is not lost. You can still look fantastic in winter.
- The main thing is to take every opportunity you can to get just a little bit of sunlight on your skin. No more than a few minutes unprotected so you don’t age yourself with the UVA rays but just a little will increase Vitamin D levels and stop you looking gray.
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin K (leafy green vegetables are the best source)
- Avoid eating too much salt or salty snacks to reduce puffiness
- Use an eye cream containing Vitamin K and retinol
- If you have dark circles, use a well-blended concealer under your eyes to brighten up the whole eye area but don’t be tempted to use a darker foundation than your skin needs to reduce the contrast that shows up dark circles, as this will give you other problems (like a tide mark around the chin area)
- For problems associated with dry skin in the cold weather see 10 Steps to Combat Dry Skin in winter) for a plan of attack
- Give yourself a weekly scalp massage to help your scalp stay healthy through the winter and promote healthy hair and make sure you use a good quality shampoo and conditioner (and if necessary a serum like Frizz-Ease) that keeps your hair under control.
- Give your hair color a boost with a warmer more forgiving shade if you have a pale complexion
- Bear in mind that although it might be comforting to eat all your favorite warming, fatty foods, you will end up feeling uncomfortable with your body, so moderation is key. And soup is great if you need to lose weight – it is generally filling, warming and essentially comforting – and won’t pile on the pounds
- If you tend to overeat during the festive period, download How to Enjoy The Holidays without Gaining Weight for a whole set of strategies to help you cope
- Apparently you really are as young as you feel. Take time for beauty treats that make you FEEL younger, whether your skin and hair is hidden in layers of clothes and under a hat or not. See Feeling Younger Makes You Look Younger!