During the winter months, our body responds to the cold in a variety of ways. Dry skin is one of the most common concerns, as colder conditions can strip skin of its natural oils, leaving it feeling dehydrated, tight, and flaky.
Dry winter skin can be uncomfortable, but there are lots of ways you can fight it. With the proper knowledge of what causes dry skin and the right winter skincare routine, you can keep your skin hydrated and feeling its best all season long.
Here, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the causes of dry skin in the winter, tips for treating and preventing it, and which products you can add to your routine to keep skin hydrated and comfortable.
What Causes Dry Skin in Winter?
Dry skin in winter is often caused by a combination of environmental factors, and the degree to which you experience them will vary based on your location and climate. The most common factors are humidity, temperature, and heating. Here’s how each factor contributes to dry skin:
Cold Temperatures: Cold weather can cause dry skin by reducing blood flow to the skin’s surface, which can make it feel tight and uncomfortable.
Low Humidity: Winter air tends to be drier due to lower humidity levels. This can cause the moisture in your skin to evaporate more quickly, leading to dryness.
Indoor Heating: Similarly, indoor heating such as radiators and forced air systems reduce the humidity in your home, which has the same effect on your skin’s moisture levels as low outdoor humidity.
Additional Factors That Can Cause Dry Skin
Dry skin isn’t always the result of cold weather. There are several non-environmental factors that can increase your risk of developing dry skin, including:
Age: As you get older, your skin becomes less efficient at retaining moisture.
Hot Water: Cleaning your skin with hot water can strip it of its natural oils, leading to dryness.
Medications: Medications such as acne treatments, antihistamines, and diuretics can contribute to dry skin.
Skin Conditions: Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can cause dry, itchy skin.
Dehydration: Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration that’s reflected in your skin.
Product Overuse: Using too many skincare products or using them too frequently can strip skin of its natural oils.
Poor Diet: A diet low in essential fatty acids and nutrients can contribute to dry skin.
Genetics: Some people are genetically prone to having dry skin.
Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations such as those that occur during menopause or pregnancy can lead to dry skin.
What Are the Signs of Dry Skin?
Understanding the signs of dry skin will help you identify the issue so you can quickly address it. Here are some of the common signs that you’re suffering from dry skin:
Itching, especially after showering or bathing, or when exposed to low humidity or cold temperatures.
Flaking or scaling that appears in patches on your skin’s surface.
Redness or inflammation, especially if you scratch or rub your skin.
Tightness, especially after washing or bathing.
Rough texture that makes skin feel coarse or bumpy to the touch.
Cracks or fissures in severe cases, which can be painful.
Tips for Preventing Dry Skin
It’s obvious that dry skin looks and feels unpleasant, so let’s talk about what you can do to prevent it and promote healthy, hydrated skin. Here are a few tips for keeping dry skin at bay:
Stay Moisturized: Use a moisturizer to help lock in hydration, especially after washing your hands or taking a bath or shower.
Use Lukewarm Water: Hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, so try using lukewarm water when showering or washing your face.
Avoid Long Showers: Though these can feel relaxing, try to limit your time spent in the shower.
Use Gentle Skincare: Choose products that are formulated for sensitive skin and avoid using harsh formulas that can strip your skin of its natural oils.
Use Sun Protection: Sun exposure can dry out your skin, so be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when you’re outdoors—even in winter.
Avoid Over-Exfoliating: Exfoliation can remove not only dead skin cells but also natural oils, so stick to exfoliating just once or twice a week.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help keep skin hydrated from the inside out.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: These beverages can dehydrate skin, so try to limit your intake.
Use A Humidifier: If you live in a dry climate or use heating in your home, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
Wear Loose, Comfortable Clothing: Tight clothing can rub against skin and cause irritation, so try to wear things that are less restrictive.
Using Retinol with Droplette to Keep Skin Hydrated
A good moisturizer is one of your best tools for fighting dry skin—but unfortunately, your skin barrier is designed to keep things out. This means that most topical moisturizers will simply sit on top of your skin, and not get to where they’re really needed.
That’s where the Droplette Micro-Infuser comes in. It turns our dermatologist-approved ingredients into a fine mist that can penetrate the skin’s barrier to get more than skin deep. And one of the best ingredients for keeping skin hydrated is our Retinol Renewer formulation.
Unlike topical retinol which can cause irritation from sitting on top of the skin, the Droplette Micro-Infuser delivers our water-based formulation deep into skin where it can help promote hydration and reduce the look of fine lines.
And the good news is that winter is the best time to cycle retinol into your skincare routine, as this ingredient is sensitive to sun exposure. Since you’re exposed to less UV light due to shorter days and less time outdoors during the winter months, it’s the ideal time for retinol treatments.
Perfecting your Winter Skincare Routine
Now that you understand how skin reacts differently in the colder months, you can see why it’s important to adjust your routine to address your skin’s particular needs during the winter. Being aware of the causes of dry skin and taking the proper actions to prevent it is the best way to keep your skin feeling hydrated and looking healthy throughout the season.