Should the weather affect your daily skin care?

Keep an eye on the weather.
Getting Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Your skin shares an intimate relationship with the weather. See more pictures of beautiful skin.
Wade/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Your skin is a borderland -- a thin, living layer between all your writhing physiology and the outside world. We live in 5.5 quadrillion tons (4.99 quadrillion metric tons) of gas. What we think of as "the weather" simply covers the local state of this gas at any given moment.

In the course of a day, the gaseous world you live in may be hot, cold, humid, dry or windy. So yes, the following weather conditions definitely affect your daily skin care.


Cloud cover: Clouds perform several roles in atmospheric mechanics, but where your skin is concerned, their main function is blocking sunlight. If you see towering, black storm clouds overhead, then guess what? You probably don't have to worry too much about getting a sunburn. On clear days, however, grab the sunscreen and some protective clothing, regardless of whether you're lying on a tropical beach or trudging through an Arctic wasteland.

In between these two extremes, you still need to watch out. Sunburn can occur on cloudy days, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises staying indoors or seeking shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to limit exposure to harmful UV rays. When that's not possible, apply lip balm and sunblock with a sun protection factor of at least 15.

Temperature and humidity: Air temperature is another crucial factor in determining a skin-care regimen. For example, winter air is colder and typically contains less moisture. This season often leads to dry, flaky skin and possibly dermatological conditions such as dermatitis and eczema. Luckily, you can combat these conditions with moisturizer, lip balm and the use of indoor humidifiers. Plus, you can exfoliate your dead skin.

When summer rolls around, you might find yourself in a muggy, humid jungle hell. Now air moisture is everywhere and, surprise, your skin may become oilier and possibly erupt into puss-bubbling acne farms. Hot weather may require you to use a different facial cleanser, one that's tougher on oil and lighter on moisturizing. You can also use facial massage exercises to improve circulation and cut down on oil buildup.

Wind: Finally, as you might have noticed, low- and high-pressure areas cause the air to circulate. It's not so much the wind you need to worry about, but rather the things blowing around in it, like sand, snow or saltwater. The friction of debris on skin produces windburn. You can combat it by covering your skin with garments or a protective layer of sunblock.

So keep the weather forecast in mind when planning your skin-care regimen. After all, those 20 square feet (2 square meters) of epidermis mark where you end and the rest of the world begins.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Baumann, Leslie. "Oily and Dry Skin: Best of Both Worlds?" Yahoo Health. March 20, 2008. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • Baumann, Leslie. "Take the Sting Out of Windburn." Yahoo Health. Feb. 29, 2008. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • Davis, Susan. "10 Winter Skin Care Tips." WebMD. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • House, Laurel. "5 Free Green Ways to Reverse Summer Skin and Hair Damage." Planet Green. Aug. 21, 2009. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • "Sunburn." CDC Traveler's Health. July 27, 2009. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • "When you have an itch, what is happening under your skin?" March 26, 2001 (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • "Winter Dry Skin." University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Aug. 17, 2006. (Aug. 28, 2009)