While daily walks are becoming an important part of our routines, the cold wind can leave skin feeling irritated and dry. Here’s how to protect your skin from damaging environmental factors.

As we continue to see out lockdown 3.0, the current highlight of our days seem to revolve around walking. From wintery local walks for your daily exercise to getting a breath of fresh air for mental clarity; walks are becoming a stable part of our lives as we grapple with new routines.

While it’s important to get outside, you may notice that alongside numb fingers, the cold weather is leaving your skin irritated, red and dry. Add central heating to that and your face can be left feeling tight and uncomfortable.

“Wind and cold temperatures affect skin in a significant way,” says Dr Barbara Kubicka, founder, director and doctor at Clinicbe. “The effects on the skin will depend on an individual’s sensitivity but generally, it dries the skin making it rough and uneven in texture.”

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Alongside drier complexions, colder temperatures can cause more skin issues for some. Dr Kubicka adds: “The winter condition will affect capillaries making the skin more prone to redness, sometimes resulting in little broken capillaries, thread veins and spider veins as they are called by some.

“Also, as many of us have noticed, it makes the skin on our lips very dry, making them cracked and sore.”

Before you step outside, it’s important to prep and protect your skin against cold, harsh winds and damaging environmental factors.

“It’s much easier to protect your skin than to repair the damage done by winter conditions,” says Dr Kubicka. “Use a barrier cream on your face and a hydrating product on your lips.” 

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She also recommends being more mindful of the ingredients you’re applying to your face. “I advise reducing the use of a water-based serums in the morning during this time.

“If your skin can handle more oily, heavier productsuse these instead. [Reducing the use of water-based serums] will protect your skin from perspiration that occurs due to elements such as an increase in central heating, which can cause further dryness.”

Additionally, Dr Kubicka recommends “face oils with vitamin E and a soothing, calming vitamin B complex, like panthenol. Also, niacinamide and zinc are key ingredients to look out for in your skincare.”

If you get in from a walk and your face feels still feel dry, tight or uncomfortable, Dr Kubicka says: “You can apply an extra layer of moisturiser with healing properties, such aloe vera or again, face oils with vitamin E.”

Here, we round up the best pre-walk and post-walk products to keep your skin happy, healthy and hydrated.

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Best face products to protect skin against the cold

  • Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

    This clever formula contains vitamin B, glycerin and bisabolo (from chamomile) to soothe, smooth and moisturise irritated, sensitive skin. It’s no wonder then, that it’s a favourite among celebrities including Beyonce, Meghan Markle and Nicole Kidman.

    This skin balm was first put on our radar by Stylist’s Email Content Director Gemma Crisp. “It’s great for giving your skin a layer of glossy protection when you’re heading out into the cold,” says Crisp. “Plus, it can be used as a clear highlighter, rather than a shimmery one, which is hard to get right.”

    Shop Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm at Boots, £9

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  • Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil

    This inexpensive face oil has rave reviews thanks to its ability to leave skin moisturised and reduce redness. It contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects skin against damaging free radicals, and sinks into skin without any hints of greasiness.

    Shop Superdrug Vitamin E Skin Oil at Superdrug, £3.99

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  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

    Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant is a cult classic for a reason. It contains petrolatum and vitamin E to soothe irritation and provide intense hydrating to extremely dry skin. Warm a small amount of the balm up between your hands, massage it into skin and let it get to work.

    Shop Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant at lookfantastic, £28

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  • Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm

    This Medik8 lip balm is squalane-based, an ingredient that locks in moisture, has anti-inflammatory properties and boosts collagen production. It also contains glycerin for a double dose of hydration.

    Shop Medik8 Mutiny Lip Balm at lookfantastic, £19

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  • The Body Shop Hemp Heavy Duty Lip Care

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: The Body Shop Hemp Heavy Duty Lip Care

    Part of the brand’s cult Hemp line-up, this lip balm is formulated with hemp seed oil, an ingredient known for its intense hydrating abilities. 

    Shop The Body Shop Hemp Heavy Duty Lip Care at The Body Shop, £4.50

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  • Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment

    Inside this squeezy tube is a rich balm made up of pure medical grade lanolin, a humectant that seals in moisture. As well as your lips, it can be used in a multitude of ways, including to treat dry cuticles, itchy skin, brittle nails, insect bites and dry nasal passages. A true all-rounder.

    Shop Lanolips The Original 101 Ointment at lookfantastic, £10.99

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  • Skyn Iceland Berry Lip Fix

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Skyn Iceland Berry Lip Fix

    Skyn Iceland is committed to using potent ingredients from the Arctic to treat the damaging effects of stress on the skin. This particular lip balm contains shea butter, restorative plant peptides and rich oils, such as olive and avocado, to keep lips soft and supple.

    Shop Skyn Iceland Berry Lip Fix at Marks & Spencer, £12

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Best products to treat your face post-walk

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

    Combining the blemish-reducing and skin-calming properties of niacinamide with the repairing wonders of zinc, this serum works hard to leave your skin feeling healthier after every use.

    Shop The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% at Cult Beauty, £5

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  • Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

    Aloe vera is known for its ability to provide relief and comfort to dry, irritated skin. This gel moisturiser is suitable for all skin types and will instantly soothe any wind-slapped complexions.

    Shop Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel at lookfantastic, £18

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  • Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm

    Best products to protect skin against cold weather: Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm

    Apply this weightless balm all over your face before sleep and its hydrating ingredients will help to restore balance and moisture levels overnight. Plus, added plant extracts and vitamin C encourages collagen product and help to even out your skin tone.

    Shop Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Night Balm at lookfantastic, £44

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Main image: Getty

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