Winter has many perks and highlights in Sweden, not least because it is such a defined season with so many sporting opportunities once the snow comes. But it can take its toll on your body and this can feel disorientating and a bit depressing if you don’t know what to expect. So take heart, because you’re certainly not the only one and help is at hand!
The most obvious point to make is that short daylight hours during the winter and the prolonged lack of sun can mean that your body is crying out for Vitamin D. The simplest answer is to consult your pharmacist and consider taking a Vitamin D supplement throughout the winter months, which will help redress the balance.
The dry climate
Secondly, the climate in and around Stockholm is incredibly dry and this can have a substantial impact on your skin and hair. It is said that many Swedes admire the glow of the stereotypical ‘English Rose’ whose clear complexion is helped by the reliably damp conditions of the British climate.
By contrast, Sweden’s climate can play havoc with your skin and depending on how severe this is, you may need to consult your doctor if you are suffering from rosacea for instance, or otherwise a visit to your local pharmacy may be enough. There you will find the most incredible range of products specifically tailored for skin suffering from the ravages of dry air.
Where to seek help?
Brands to look out for include Acasia which has a very effective 24-hour repair cream, or SOS rescue cream which will soothe your skin and offer effective protection against the wind and dry air. Other options include deep hydration face masks from Exuviance or Emma S. products created by Swedish model, Emma Wiklund. You can also take preventative action by wearing barrier cream, such as SPF 20 cream by Nimue. These are just a few suggestions, but the range everywhere is impressive.
It is also very much worth protecting children of course and you will find a range of quite greasy barrier creams available at pharmacies or in the supermarket, including one with the famous Bamse bear on which helps make the whole idea of using it more fun. These are rather similar to Vaseline and it helps if you apply to cheeks and lips particularly if you are going skiing, but also if children are skating or just playing outside in the snow.
Be aware of the fact that the sun in Sweden is very powerful and can cause considerable sunburn, so protecting skin young and old when doing winter sport is essential. Buying a humidifier is also a good idea if you are really sensitive to the dry air.
Something which may worry you quite considerably is if your hair thins. This can feel like the last straw when you are getting used to so many things in a new country and knock your confidence, as well as feeling confusing. Actually, it seems to be another side effect of the lack of light and the more you ask people, the more you will find that they may be experiencing the same thing. Help is at hand though, as there are hair promoting products available at the pharmacy. From personal experience, Priorin works really well, but of course, seek advice from the pharmacist.
So, time in a Swedish winter can prove rather an assault on the appearance as well as the senses, but as with so many things, the Swedes have come up with the right solutions for their environment and you can find your way out of any problems. It just takes the confidence to go to ask for some help and have a look at what is on offer – then your day will brighten, you can indulge in a comforting cinnamon bun and before you know it, things will seem and look a lot better.