Disciples of the Danish winter lifestyle philosophy known as hygge may have found a way to make a long winter more psychologically enjoyable, but all the candlelight and hot cocoa in the world won’t change the fact that winter weather is awful for our skin. Volleying from Arctic blasts to steaming hot showers is a recipe for dehydration and itchiness.
In one year-long study, skin-care brand Olay found that the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles increases over the course of winter. The sixtysomething-year-old beauty company has made studying our skin-care habits its business, with its online Skin Advisor programming boasting millions of data points from more than five million visitors in 11 countries.
Interpreting that data, however, can be more of an art than a science. “Some of our [research and development] scientists are kind of like psychologists because they’re trying to understand why women do what they do, why they say what they say, and what are the motivations behind that,” says Dr. Frauke Neuser, principal scientist at Olay. To keep happy over the winter, Neuser recommends using a winter moisturizer with niacinamide, a.k.a. vitamin B3, which helps strengthen skin’s moisture barrier. And don’t forget SPF, because, despite what seems like endless weeks of grey days, the sun never goes into hibernation.
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