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Dry Skin Season Winter Winds and Temps Right Moisturizer

pexels-karolina-grabowska-4046564 dry skin season

Last updated 10/11/2023

You could be affected by dry skin more during the winter months. That is to say, with adjusting to the weather at this time of year. Dry skin season begins.

Certainly, winter can be quite irritating to your skin with wind chills causing windburn cheeks. The severity in symptoms can vary. Above all many treatments can bring the moisture back to your skin to relieve the symptoms. Some steps can also be taken to prevent your skin from feeling dry.

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What is Dry Skin Season?

Winter dry skin, (winter itch or winter xerosis) takes place when the skin can’t keep enough moisture in. Your natural oils normally trap humidity or moisture. This provides a barrier of protection and hydration. In other words, dry skin is due to a weakened skin barrier.

Because of a decrease in its natural oils your skin is not as protective as it should be. So, during winter factors are getting under your skin cells on top and creating dry skin.

Dry Skin Season Symptoms

As a result, dryness to your skin barrier can develop with:

  • Flakes or scabs
  • Rough patches
  • Cracks
  • Redness, in lighter skin tones
  • Itching
  • Stinging or burning
  • A raw, tender sensation

You may experience several of these symptoms together. With the correct treatment their severity should diminish.

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What Causes Dry Skin in Winter?

Winter Conditions

Winter creates the perfect conditions leading to your dry skin. During these months there are shifts in humidity and temperature. In other words, these conditions can damage your skin barrier making it appear dry or irritated.

Most importantly, moisture is required for your skin barrier to do its job well. That is to provide a layer of protection and keep harmful toxins from entering your body. In short, you could turn up your indoor heat, which decreases the humidity.

This affects the moisture that is available for your skin. Thus, the water amount of your epidermis tends to reflect the quantity of the humidity around it. In addition, cold outdoor temps, harsh winds and rain can take away skin’s natural, moisturizing oils.

Hot Water

Jumping in a hot bath or shower can also damage your outer skin layer. The water temperature can lead to skin dryness. As well as, applying harsh soaps and vigorously rubbing your skin while drying off.

Other Factors for Dry Skin

The amount of moisture your skin contains can also depend on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Environmental factors

Medical Conditions that cause dry skin:

  • Postmenopausal females
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chronic renal disease
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Dermatitis

These drug treatments also cause dry skin:

  • Oral retinoids
  • Diuretics
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors
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Treatment for Dry Winter Skin

Most importantly, when your skin barrier is dry and damaged it is essential to moisturize. Above all, use the correct products for these harsh months. Applying a moisturizer will rehydrate the epidermis and prevent the skin from losing water. In other words, utilize thick, greasy moisturizers containing no fragrance. Thinner gels, lotions and creams can make irritated skin sting.


These are products that soften and soothe the skin taking over the spaces between skin cells that have lost moisture. Weight wise they are a bit heavier than your regular moisturizer.  And an emollient can be greasy or non-greasy.

They contain:

  • Aloe vera
  • Coconut oil
  • Linoleic
  • Linolenic acid
  • Lauric acids


Humectants in moisturizers will assist in bringing back moisture to the skin.

These are:

  • Ceramides
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Sorbitol
  • Squalene
  • Vitamin E
  • Jojoba oil

Other Ingredients

Other ingredients that help soak in moisture:

  • Lanolin (harvested from domestic sheep)
  • Silicone
  • Mineral oil
  • Acetylated
  • Cetyl acetate

These create a protective barrier that reduces damage by environmental factors.

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Dry Skin Season Prevention

Here are tips to avoid dry skin when the weather begins to switch.

Wash and Moisturize

Whenever you wash your face, hands or body you remove natural oils from your skin. These oils lock in moisture, so it’s important to replace them. You can alter your skin care routine as well as observe your habits. When cold weather arrives, your skin requires a different treatment with a more protective moisturizer.

Employ a moisturizer, especially during the winter anytime you cleanse your skin. Place a bottle of moisturizer on each sink in your home. Certainly, carry a travel size container along with you in your purse or bag when you’re on the go.

Moisturize Right After Shower

When, you moisturize your skin is just as important as doing this step often. In addition, be gentle while drying your skin after a shower or bath. Besides vigorously rubbing, pat your skin with a soft towel. This can leave some of the moisture to hydrate your epidermis. And while your skin is still damp from a shower or bath is the best time to apply your moisturizer.

Your moisturizer assists in holding moisture in your skin. But it won’t work if you apply it to very dry skin. This is because there is no moisture to trap in.

Tweak Routine

If harsh winter winds have made your face irritated and sensitive you could consider simplifying. In other words, go back to basics for a while. Use your moisturizer and sunscreen when you rise. Further a gentle cleanser along with moisturizer when you turn in.

Your skin’s moisture barrier requires its health to benefit from serums, toners and other products. Likewise, if your skin is irritated ingredients such as fragrance and alcohol could cause more sensitivity. Usually these may not bother you but now these could be irritants. In conclusion, when your skin’s moisture barrier is back to normal bring your other products back slowly.

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Don’t Skip Sunscreen

It can be tempting to leave your sunscreen off with shorter winter days and little sunlight. But you’d be hurting your skin. Harmful UV rays can still affect your skin’s moisture barrier. In short, this barrier is vital in protecting its health and hydration.

Hydrate Internally

Most importantly, your skin requires moisture to stay healthy and glowing. You can do this from inside by taking in enough fluids. Lack of water can modify your skin making it prone to drying out.

In addition, to remaining hydrated gather foods that are high in antioxidants, omega 3 or omega 6 in your diet.  Taking supplements can also encourage this. These ingredients provide protection for your cells against environmental damage. And also assist your body to create healthy skin cells.

Use a Humidifier

This is a great device for bringing moisture back into your air to rehydrate your epidermis. To add moisture back into your living environment use a humidifier. Likewise, during these winter months when heat is turned up. Thus, added moisture can prevent and relieve your dry skin.

Exfoliates and Scrubs

Exfoliating is a great practice to keep your skin smooth and vibrant by removing dead skin cells. However, you could over exfoliate your skin. Avoid doing this too often or using harsh products.

If your skin becomes dry or flaky observe your routine. Instead consider a chemical exfoliate versus your physical scrub. That is, harsher scrubs containing large granules can break down your skin’s moisture barrier. Thus, this leads to damage.

Above all, it is best for cracked, raw or irritated skin to not exfoliate while your skin is healing. I think you will feel better and your skin will thank you.

Occlusive may be Added

You could discover employing the emollients to aid the repair of your skin barrier is not quite enough. Occlusive ingredients are known to lock moisture into the skin.

These are occlusive:

  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • Vaseline
  • Aquapher

To add these products into your routine layer them once or twice a day after moisturizing.

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While you Sleep

Revitalize your skin by applying an emollient to absorb while you sleep. They are great moisturizers because they are a heavier type of cream. So, they take longer to penetrate your deeper skin layers.

Putting the emollient on your skin while you sleep provides this treatment the time to absorb. Thus, the emollient nourishes your skin giving back the moisture and oils it requires.

Take note, you may consider wrapping your hands and feet in a plastic bag or wear gloves and socks. This is to protect smearing the ointment on your sheets and bedding. Most importantly, this prevents you from slipping and falling.

Limit Exposure to Heat

It can be tempting on a cold winter’s day to jump into a hot shower or bath. But this can dry out your skin. In other words, it’s better to go with lukewarm temps.

Hot water can take away your skin’s protective oils quicker than lukewarm. Using hot water can even damage your skin layer. In addition, don’t get too close to a fire or heater.

Put on Gloves

Gloves can be your dry hands best friend. Above all, they are the best physical barrier against environmental factors that cause your hands to become dry.

Certainly, protect your hands, wear warm gloves when going outdoors into the cold and wind. Put on a pair of silicone gloves when washing dishes. And monitoring the dry air and hot water that contacts your skin can aid in your hands remaining smooth and healthy.

close-up extreme dry cracked human skin pexels-angela-roma-7479528 dry skin season

Watch for Nonirritating Fabrics

Avoid wearing rough fabrics next to your skin if you have a skin condition. That is to say, extra dry skin on your body can be sensitive to extra physical irritation or friction. Opt for loose, comfortable, natural materials to reduce this feeling. And, you may be wearing heavier clothing and layers.

Also, stay away from using regular detergents for your laundry. Search for detergents tailored for sensitive skin. To sum up, those that are free of harsh chemicals and fragrance (All).

When to Visit Your Dermatologist for Dry Skin

There are many home remedies that can help relieve your dry skin. However, it’s important to contact your dermatologist should your dry skin symptoms turn worse or not improve. Your specialist could suggest any over the counter and prescription treatments. Further, your symptoms could be more than dry skin.

Wrapping it up

Experiencing dry, flaky skin during the winter months is common. This can affect your face, hands and feet. In addition, any other body areas exposed to nature.

Most importantly, healthy skin requires moisture. So, apply the correct moisturizer often. Limit your use of exfoliating scrubs, hot water and harsh skin care treatments.

Incorporate a humidifier, wear nonirritating materials and gloves as well as drinking your water can protect your skin too. Should your dry skin not show any improvement using home remedies consult your dermatologist.


Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fifteen years.

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