How to Hydrate Skin in Winter

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Published:  February 13, 2024

As the winter chill sets in, our skin often bears the brunt of the harsh weather. Dry, flaky skin can be a common woe during this time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what causes dry skin in winter, effective treatments on how to hydrate skin in winter, and when it’s crucial to seek professional help from a dermatologist.

What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin, or xerosis, is a condition characterized by a lack of moisture in the skin. It can manifest as rough, scaly, and sometimes itchy patches, particularly in areas prone to dryness like the hands, arms, and legs. When the skin loses its natural oils and hydration, it becomes more susceptible to environmental factors and may develop cracks or fissures.

What Causes Dry Skin in Winter?

Several factors contribute to dry skin during the winter months. Firstly, low humidity levels both outdoors and indoors, exacerbated by heating systems, can rob the skin of its moisture. Additionally, cold winds and harsh weather conditions strip the skin’s natural oils, leaving it vulnerable to dehydration. Hot showers and baths, while comforting in the cold, can further exacerbate dryness by stripping away the skin’s protective barrier. Furthermore, age-related changes such as a decrease in sebum production and a thinning epidermis can make the skin more prone to dryness and irritation during winter.

How to Maintain Skin Hydration In Winter

During the winter months, maintaining skin hydration becomes essential as harsh weather conditions and indoor heating can lead to dryness and irritation. To maintain skin hydration in winter, adopting a comprehensive approach can be a life changer:

  • Ensure internal hydration by drinking ample water throughout the day.
  • Incorporate a regimen of regular moisturization with a rich, emollient lotion to replenish lost moisture and fortify the skin’s natural barrier.
  • Introduce a humidifier into your home environment to increase air moisture levels and prevent further dehydration.
  • Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers when cleansing the skin to avoid stripping away natural oils.
  • Shield your skin from harsh weather conditions by wearing protective gear such as gloves and scarves when outdoors.
  • Customize your skincare routine with hydrating serums and occlusive moisturizers tailored to your specific needs for enhanced relief and protection.

When to See a Dermatologist?

While most cases of dry skin can be managed with home care, it’s essential to seek professional help if symptoms persist or worsen. Dermatologists can provide personalized recommendations and treatments for severe dryness, inflammation, or underlying skin conditions. If you experience severe itching, redness, cracks, or persistent dry patches that don’t improve with over-the-counter remedies, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Most Common Dry Skin Medical Treatments in Winter

When home remedies and over-the-counter moisturizers aren’t providing adequate relief for severe dry skin during winter, dermatologists may recommend medical treatments to address underlying issues and restore hydration. Here are some of the most common medical interventions for dry skin.

Prescription Moisturizers

Dermatologists may prescribe potent moisturizers or emollients containing ingredients like urea, lactic acid, or ceramides. These formulations are designed to deeply hydrate the skin and repair its natural barrier function.

Topical Steroids

For cases of severe inflammation and itching associated with conditions like eczema or psoriasis, dermatologists may prescribe topical corticosteroids. These medications help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms, allowing the skin to heal and retain moisture more effectively.

Calcineurin Inhibitors

Another option for managing inflammatory skin conditions is calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus. These medications work by suppressing the immune response in the skin, reducing inflammation, and preventing flare-ups.

Systemic Medications

In cases of severe eczema or psoriasis that don’t respond to topical treatments, dermatologists may prescribe systemic medications like oral corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, or biologics. These medications target the underlying causes of inflammation and can provide significant relief from dry skin symptoms.


Light therapy, or phototherapy, involves exposing the skin to specific wavelengths of ultraviolet light under medical supervision. This treatment can help reduce inflammation, improve skin texture, and promote moisture retention in the skin.

Keep Your Skin Glowing In Winter With The Help Of The Center For Dermatology

Winter skincare doesn’t have to be a battle against dry, flaky skin. By understanding the causes of dryness and implementing a comprehensive skincare routine, you can keep your skin healthy and hydrated throughout the winter months. Remember to hydrate from within, moisturize regularly, and protect your skin from harsh weather conditions. If you experience persistent dryness or discomfort, don’t hesitate to seek help from a dermatologist. 

Transform your winter skincare routine with expert guidance from the Center for Dermatology. Say goodbye to dry, itchy skin and hello to a smooth, radiant complexion. Whether you’re seeking personalized treatments or professional advice, our team of dermatologists is here to help. Contact us to schedule your next appointment!