How The Winter Can Affect Your Skin and Tips to Protect It

How The Winter Can Affect Your Skin and Tips to Protect It Dec 5, 2022 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team

While the winter can bring out the festive mood in people, cold weather can also bring out the worst in our skin. It doesn't matter how many layers we wear to keep ourselves warm. If we don't take the necessary steps to protect our skin, it will dry out and suffer in the colder months. Pre-existing skin conditions can also worsen during winter. Here's how you can give your skin the extra care it deserves this winter and keep it in good shape. 

How Does Winter Damage Our Skin?

Dryness is the biggest issue our skin has to face during the winter. Once the temperature drops, there's less moisture in the air, and our skin dries out. While heaters and fires help us stay warm indoors, they contribute to skin dryness too. In addition, the sudden change from cold to hot can irritate and inflame our skin. Here are all the other ways winter can affect our skin:
  • We drink less water in the winter, leading to dehydrated, flaky, and itchy skin.
  • Skin capillaries constrict when it's cold to keep the body warm. However, it can cause facial redness and spider veins.
  • Wearing multiple layers of clothing can cause friction against our skin and break down its protective barrier. 
  • Ice and snow can reflect the sun's light, exposing our skin to double the amount of UVB.
  • The harsh winds can strip our skin of moisture and weaken its protective barrier. 

Skin Conditions That Can Worsen in the Winter


Eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry, and uncomfortable. Eczema flare-ups become more common in the winter because of the sudden temperature changes when you move from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. To help prevent reactions, you can lower your heater's settings.


Psoriasis causes skin cells to build up and become raised, scaly patches. Exposure to sunlight can help manage it. But because we spend less time outdoors in the winter, the condition can become worse. Talk to your doctor about phototherapy, a psoriasis treatment that works as an alternative to natural sunlight. 


Rosacea inflames the face and causes it to be red for a long time. The condition can get more severe in the winter as your skin battles the extreme elements. To help prevent flare-ups, always wear a scarf when you head outside and try to pull it over your cheeks and nose. It's also vital to continue your treatment and apply heavier moisturizer throughout the season.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a harsher version of dandruff, causing your scalp to burn and become red and flaky. It can also appear on other parts of the body. The winter can cause the condition to worsen because of the lack of humidity in the air. You can combat this by using lukewarm water instead of hot when you shower and keeping your heater settings low. 

Winter Skincare Tips

Here are some tips on how to adjust your skincare routine to help your skin get through the winter:
  • Opt for a mild facial cleanser to help preserve your skin's protective barrier.
  • Add more moisturizing products to your lineup. You can apply thicker creams and use moisturizing serums and face masks. 
  • Use a humidifier in your home to add moisture back to the air. 
  • Apply sunscreen even if it's cold and overcast outside. Harmful UV rays don't disappear in the winter. 
  • It can be tempting to use hot water for your showers during the winter, but it can cause further damage. Opt for lukewarm water instead. 

The Bottom Line

It's crucial to take care of your skin all year round, even more so during the winter. You can help your skin survive the cold weather by being consistent with your skincare routine and supplementing it with more moisturizing products. You must also be diligent with treatment if you have a pre-existing condition. For more information, contact Complete Family Dermatology at (402) 423-1111.

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