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Dry Skin in Winter: Causes and Home Remedies

Dr. Sania Javaid

5 min read

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Are you wondering why your skin is drying up during winter? Cold weather can make your skin dry. Dry skin, also known as xerosis, can make your skin feel itchy, flaky, and rough. Patches of dry skin can also appear.

It usually occurs when your skin is not getting enough moisture, which can happen for various reasons. It can be tough to prevent dry skin in winter, and you should consult a Dermatologist in Karachi if your skin is acting up more than usual.

Causes of dry skin in winter

Dry skin in winter usually occurs due to the lack of moisture in the air, which lessens dampness in your skin. Cold air has a low moisture content compared to warm air, which makes your skin dry and itch. If you live in an area with a cold climate and harsh winds, you may experience dry skin.

Most people use some form of heating in their houses, such as fireplaces, heaters, or central heating, which can suck the suppleness out of your skin.

Long, hot showers can also be a reason for your skin’s dryness in winter, as they can damage the outer layer of your skin. Products you use can also contribute to your dry skin. Using harsh products can wreak havoc on your skin and irritate it.

Aging can also be a cause for dry skin that may become worse in the cold. Some medical conditions, such as eczema, may exacerbate in winter and dry your skin. In such cases, consult the Best Dermatologist in Islamabad to get treatment.

Home remedies for dry skin in winters

If you are worried about your skin in winter, do not fret about it. Parched skin can be treated with a consistent skincare routine and simple home remedies. Focus on getting your skin the necessary replenishment to keep your skin fresh and glowing during the cold season ahead.

1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!

Moisturizing after every wash is essential to replenish your skin. Washing your face can clear your skin of its natural oils and leave it dry.

Moisturizers can help lock moisture in your skin and prevents it from getting dry. If you have naturally oily skin, which does not get very dry, use a light moisturizer or sunscreen to keep your skin fresh.

Applying moisturizer daily is essential to keep your skin moist, so make it a part of your daily skin care regimen. Keep a lotion or cream in an accessible location, such as near the sink or bedside table, so that you do not forget to apply it.

2. Choose products wisely

The products you choose for your skin need to be suitable to your skin type to be effective. Basic skincare products you use in summer will not necessarily help you in winter, and you may need to change them. You may have to try our new products to see which works best for your skin.

Many dermatologists recommend using fragrance-free products, as products with fragrances can irritate your skin. Pick non-comedogenic products, as they can block your pores and result in acne. Avoid products that have alcohol as they can also dry up your skin.

If your skin is more irritated and dry than usual, applying products like serums and masks can further irritate them. Read the labels of the products to determine if they are beneficial for your skin. Try products with ingredients that help combat dry skin, such as urea, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides

3. Adjust your bathing time and water temperature

Taking a bath with hot water for extended periods can damage your skin’s outer layer and result in flaky skin. Cut short your bath time and take a bath once a day. Taking a shower with steaming hot water can dry your skin, so use warm water when taking a shower.

4. Use a humidifier

It can get stuffy inside the house in winter as many people crank up their heaters and keep the windows closed. Less moisture inside can adversely affect your skin by exasperating it. A humidifier can help keep the air in the house damp and prevent dryness due to moisture loss.

5. Avoid overusing exfoliator

Exfoliation or scrubbing removes dead skin cells from your face and makes your skin look smooth. Scrubbing too much can harm your skin’s barrier and cause skin irritation. It can increase dryness in your skin in winter. If your skin is getting very dry after exfoliating, you may be over-exfoliating.

Exfoliating once or twice a week is usually enough. Opt for a gentle scrub or exfoliator to see if the product is causing the issue. Avoid exfoliating cracked or damaged skin, as it can make your skin more susceptible to harm.

6. Take care of your hands and feet!

Many people make the mistake of ignoring the skin of their hands and feet. It can result in dry, flaky skin and cracked heels. Moisturize your hands and feet whenever you wash or sanitize them. After the emergence of Covid, sanitizers have become common to keep hands clean on the go.

Sanitizers contain alcohol that has drying agents that can leave your hands dry. Moisturize after sanitizing your hands to keep them away from dryness. Use a thicker moisturizer for hands and feet as they are not as sensitive as your face.

7. Stay hydrated

Low hydration levels can dehydrate your skin, leading to dryness. Dehydration can also make your skin look dull. Drinking enough water is vital for your overall health, including your skin. It can keep your skin looking healthy and vibrant. Eating foods that contain water can also improve your hydration.

Adding foods rich in antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids can also benefit your skin as they protect the skin from damage and promote the growth of healthy cells.

8. Do not skip sunscreen!

There is less sunlight in winter, and sunscreen may seem unnecessary, but it is not. Applying sunscreen is necessary, irrespective of the season. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin even in winter. So, do not forego sunscreen, or it can damage your skin.

9. Pick non-irritating fabrics

Some fabrics, such as wool or synthetic clothes, can irritate the skin and lead to skin problems. Go for natural and breezy fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Laundry detergents also contain skin irritants, so avoid washing your clothes with them. Use detergents that are free from fragrances and chemicals.

10. Use natural oils

Oils, such as coconut oil or seed oil, can benefit you if your skin is too dry. They give skin the moisture it requires and keeps it soft. Some oils also contain antioxidants that help keep your skin barrier intact and trap moisture in your skin. It is an effective remedy for dry and itchy skin. Body massage with oils is helpful in winter as it prevents dry skin.

Medical conditions that cause dry skin

Dry skin in winter can be due to climate change, but if you experience overly dry skin throughout the year, it can be due to a medical condition that needs to be examined by a doctor. Health conditions that can result in dry, itchy, or flaky skin are:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Dermatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Malnutrition
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney problems


Dry skin is a common issue for many people during winter. It usually happens due to a lack of moisture in the skin. Other reasons that contribute to dry skin in winter include showering with hot water, low ventilation, heat from heaters, and using harsh skin products.

Rubbing your skin hard during and after a bath can also irritate the skin. Dry skin can also be due to a medical condition. Consult a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment if you have a health issue that causes dry skin.

Dry skin due to a temperature drop is easily resolvable at home. Moisturizing can help fight against dry skin and keep your skin silky. You may need to change your moisturizer and other skincare products to cater to the needs of your winter skin.

Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and gentle products can be advantageous for your skin. Try out different products to see which suits you the best.

Some other changes in your daily routine can also be crucial to fighting against dry skin. Showering or bathing with warm water instead of hot water can save your skin from drying out.

Go easy on exfoliation and avoid scrubbing or rubbing your skin too much can also prevent skin irritation and dryness. It is also crucial to take care of your hands, feet, and lips from dryness. 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Sania Javaid
Dr. Sania Javaid - Author Dr. Sania Javaid is a top Dermatologist with 10 years of experience practicing at Rosmatic by Dr. Sania Javaid (Skin Laser & Dental Clinic), Lahore. You can book an appointment with Dr. Sania Javaid through oladoc.com or by calling at 04238900939.

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