What Causes Dry Skin In Winter?

Posted on: 18 November 2016

Dry skin is a common problem in winter. Understanding the causes of dry skin and what you can do to avoid this problem can help you take care of your appearance and can also improve your physical comfort during the freezing winter months.

What causes dry skin in winter?

Dry skin is common in winter for a variety of reasons. To begin with, the air is very dry at this time of year. Dry air, particularly windy dry air, can zap your skin of its natural moisture, leaving it flaky and itchy. Even indoor air is often extra dry, because your home's HVAC system strips the air of its natural moisture every time the furnace runs. In addition, many people participate in seasonal activities that can be drying to the skin. For example, sitting by a hot fire or spending long stretches of time in a hot shower or bath can damage the skin and sap out its natural moisture.

What can you do to prevent dry skin in winter?

There are many things you can do to prevent dry skin in winter.

Run a humidifier: Running a humidifier in your house will help replace moisture in the air in your home.

Lock in moisture: Apply moisturizer generously, particularly after a shower or bath when your skin is already moist. Patients who experience chronic dry skin in the winter will also benefit from using a stronger moisturizing formula than they use at other times of the year. Talk to your dermatologist about switching products if your standard lotion stops working. Moisturizing frequently throughout the day helps, so keep lotion on your desk at work, in your purse and in other easy-to-reach locations.

Stay hydrated: Drinking extra water during the winter will help your skin stay hydrated and supple.

Turn down the shower temperature: Since really hot showers are drying and damaging, lowering the temperature when taking a shower will help protect your skin and keep it from drying out. If you find it tempting to turn up the heat when taking a hot shower, consider lowering the temperature of your hot water heater. This will make it impossible to take steaming hot showers throughout the winter.

Avoid excessive hand washing: Washing your hands and lathering up with soap can dry the skin on your knuckles and fingers. Only wash your hands when necessary, like after going to the bathroom and at other obvious times.

For more information about how you can protect your skin and prevent it from drying out, talk to your dermatologist this winter. Dermatologists can help their patients devise creative ways to keep their skin moist and hydrated. For more info contact a local dermatologist.