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The Most Common Skin Issues You’ll Face This Winter

The Most Common Skin Issues You'll Face This Winter

There’s so much to love about the changing of the seasons. Who doesn’t love that feeling of going out for a walk in the early morning sunshine when there’s that lovely chill in the air? Seeing your breath for the first time and seeing the frost on the grass? But the cold, dry air of winter can really take a toll on your skin. Chapping, flaking, itching, and irritation often rear their heads during the colder months. Here are some of the most common skin problems you’re likely to encounter over the winter and how to combat them to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.


Dry, flaky skin is perhaps the most ubiquitous skincare plight during winter. The cold air outside combined with blasting indoor heat saps moisture from the skin, leaving it parched and thirsty for hydration. Areas like the hands, feet, legs, and face tend to get hit the hardest. Combat winter dryness by moisturising frequently. Choose rich creams and ointments that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, shea butter, ceramides, glycerine, and oils. Avoid fragrances, alcohols, and foaming cleansers which can exacerbate dryness. Humidifiers can bring some welcome moisture back into the air as well. Exfoliating gently up to twice a week can help slough away dead skin. Just don’t overdo it, as that could worsen dryness.

Redness And Irritation

Many people struggle with red, irritated complexions during the winter. The irritation is often caused by a loss of moisture and damage from freezing winds, as well as indoor heat. Sensitive skin types are most prone to reactivity. Stick to gentle skincare products free of potential irritants like fragrances, dyes, acids, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and alcohol. A hydrating serum packed with soothing ingredients like aloe, allantoin, chamomile, green tea, oatmeal, and niacinamide can help calm the skin when applied twice daily. Limit baths and showers to 5-10 minutes using lukewarm rather than steaming hot water.


Itchy skin can be maddening and often gets worse during dry wintertime. The itchiness is often caused by a loss of moisture leading to a damaged skin barrier. Intensely hydrating moisturisers can help provide relief. Look for creams and ointments rich in humectants like hyaluronic acid as well as natural fats and oils to help skin retain moisture. Soaking in an oatmeal bath can temporarily soothe itchy skin thanks to the anti-inflammatory compounds in oats. Applying aloe vera gel is another great way to calm itchiness due to its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. See a dermatologist if the itching is severe.


Chapped, cracked lips and hands are a common nuisance in winter. Fingers and lips tend to chap because the skin is thinner in these spots. The best defence is to keep them coated in a protective layer of moisturiser. You’re going to want to find a petroleum-based balm to seal in that moisture and don’t leave home without it. You could always think about getting a humidifier for your home and at your desk at work to add essential moisture to the air. This is one that might be tricky because it’s an unconscious habit for a lot of people but try to avoid licking your lips as that just means more evaporation. When hands and lips become chapped, treat them with a healing ointment containing petroleum, glycerine, shea butter, or ceramides.

Eczema Can Be Painful

For those with eczema, winter weather can often exacerbate symptoms. The cold, dry air provokes the itchy, inflamed rash. Cracking, redness, dryness, swelling, flaking, blistering, and oozing can occur. Moisturise frequently, limit baths and showers to 5 minutes and avoid irritants like scratchy fabrics. See your dermatologist at the first sign of a flare-up to get prescription medications to counteract inflammation and irritation. Phototherapy treatment may also be used to suppress the overactive immune response. You can find a lot of treatments for eczema like creams, ointments and shampoos can work wonders. Dermatitis treatments include hydrocortisone cream, Fucidin cream, Betnovate cream and more, and you can find them at The Independent Pharmacy. They have over 830,000 registered users, and their treatments and provided by a fully trained UK clinical team.

Cold Sores

The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores hunkers down inside nerve cells and can reactivate when the skin is dry and vulnerable. That’s why flare-ups often strike during the chilly, moisture-zapping winter. Along with predisposition, triggers include stress, colds, flu, and too much sun exposure. Dab on antiviral ointments at the first tingle to help halt progression and severity. Avoid kissing or touching the area once blisters develop to prevent the spread of the virus. Keeping lips moisturised and staying hydrated can help ward off outbreaks.


Rosacea, characterised by facial redness, inflammation, and visible blood vessels, can worsen in winter as skin grows dry and irritated. To help keep rosacea calm, moisturise daily, and use a hydrating non-foaming cleanser rather than soap. Avoid triggers like spicy foods, alcohol, extreme temperatures, and strenuous exercise. Seek shade outdoors and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen daily since sun exposure spurs flare-ups. Ask your dermatologist about laser therapy, anti-redness creams, or oral medication to manage symptoms.


Exposure to blustery, bitterly cold winds during winter can chafe and irritate the skin, especially on the delicate face. This condition is known as windburn. Prevent it by applying a thick moisturiser and protective balm before going outside. Cover the lower half of your face with a scarf. Limit the amount of time spent outdoors on extremely gusty days. If windburn does occur, ease the sore, dry skin and redness using aloe vera gel and moisturising creams. Avoid irritants like acids, retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and scrubs until the skin heals.

Dry Hands

The thin skin on the hands means they are prone to cracking, itching, and discomfort during the dry winter season. Avoid hot water, limit washing, and wear gloves during wet and cold tasks to keep hands from getting chapped. Of course, with seasonal viruses and other health concerns on the rise, you are going to need to wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitiser. So, apply moisturiser liberally throughout the day, especially after hand washing. Go for occlusive creams and ointments that contain glycerine, shea butter, or petroleum jelly rather than lotions that contain alcohol and can exacerbate dryness. For very chapped hands, apply healing ointment and cover with cotton gloves at night.

Dandruff And Scalp Dryness

As with the rest of the skin, the scalp often dries out in winter causing itchiness and flaking known as dandruff. Counteract winter scalp woes by using shampoos with hydrating ingredients like glycerine and shea butter a few times a week. Avoid products with sulphates and fragrances which can aggravate dryness. After shampooing, massage moisturising oil into the scalp and let it soak in before rinsing. Drink plenty of water to keep the scalp hydrated from the inside out as well. Manage any underlying conditions like psoriasis with medicated shampoos.

While wintertime skin woes range from annoying to painful, a smart skin care regimen focused on hydration, nourishment, and protection can fend off most issues. Talk to your dermatologist if conditions like eczema become severe or don’t respond to over-the-counter treatment. Don’t let dry air put your skin through the wringer this season.

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