Dry skin in winter: causes and effective treatments

Dry skin in winter: causes and effective treatments

Brrrrr! It’s time to turn on the heating and start layering up…winter is here. There’s plenty to look forward to - the run-up to Christmas (we know, already?!), winter walks, and hot chocolates galore. But the cosy season has its drawbacks. For lots of people, the arrival of winter means dry, itchy, or cracked skin is on its way too.

Keep reading to find out why the colder months are unkind to your skin, and our advice on how to protect skin from dryness in the winter.

What causes dry skin in winter?


If your skin is problem-free during the summer months but starts to struggle as we head into winter, you’re not alone - lots of people only experience dryness during the colder months of the year. But why does your skin get so dry in the winter? Let’s delve into what the cause or causes could be.

💦 Low humidity: When the winter months roll around, we end up living in a world of extremes. The weather outside is cold and harsh but inside can be warm with central heating on. This combination is a nightmare for your skin. Both cold and heated air hold less water, so humidity is low everywhere you go - which means less moisture is available for your skin.

❄️ Weather: There’s nothing more magical than a snowy winter day. But frosty weather, as well as the wind and rain, can strip our skin of its natural oils and moisture. This damages the skin barrier and can lead to dry, irritated skin.  

🚿 Hot water: A nice hot bath to warm up after spending time in wintry conditions is something we all enjoy. But did you know that hot showers and baths can damage the surface of the skin and dehydrate it further? This can be made even worse if you use harsh or fragranced soaps or rub the skin too vigorously when drying off.

If you want to know how to prevent skin dryness in the winter, try these simple changes:

  • Use a humidifier indoors
  • Wrap up exposed skin before going outside
  • Try to bathe with warm water, rather than hot
  • Use fragrance-free soap or body wash

What are the effects of dry skin in winter?


Dry skin alters your skin’s texture from soft to rough. This can lead to:

  • Flaking or cracked skin
  • Itchiness
  • Redness or discolouration
  • Skin that feels tight


It doesn’t just look different – dry skin can be a real-life nuisance! Painful, itchy, and extra-sensitive skin can make it difficult to sleep comfortably, concentrate, or work with your hands. Cracked skin can even lead to skin infections because the usual protective skin barrier is broken.

The impact of all this can have a knock-on effect on your daily life, health, and overall well-being, so it’s even more important to care for and protect your skin in the winter when it’s vulnerable to dryness.

What’s the best treatment for dry skin in winter?


The small changes we talked about above can help to prevent dryness in the wintertime, but often skin needs an extra hydration boost, too. By far the best way to look after dehydrated skin is simply to moisturise.

For skin that’s sore, it’s important to choose a moisturiser that’s fragrance-free and won’t irritate you further. Epaderm is a great choice because of its simple formula.

Epaderm Ointment in the foreground with young girl in pink towel in the background
Epaderm Ointment, for example, only contains three ingredients. For really dry skin, the ointment formula is super thick and offers deep hydration, making it great as an overnight treatment. You could also try adding a teaspoon sized dollop of the ointment to a bath for an extra hydrating (and warm!) treatment in the winter. Watch out, the bath can get a little slippery.

For daily use, Epaderm Cream is another fantastic option. It’s still simple, with only six ingredients. But, because it’s smooth, absorbed quickly, and non-greasy, the cream formula is perfect for daytime use and for when you’re out and about. Epaderm Cream can be used as a body wash, as an alternative to soap, in the shower or bath.


Mother and daughter putting Epaderm Ointment on skin next to bath

Winter skin can be as unpredictable as winter weather. Using Epaderm Cream and Ointment together as a day and night treatment is an ideal way to combat fluctuating dry skin – you can control how much hydration your skin needs from day to day to keep it moisturised, healthy, and happy.

We hope this advice has been a helpful guide on how to help dry skin in winter. But if your dry skin is extreme, causing you a lot of pain, or you suspect it is infected, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the treatment options available.


Winter Dry Skin: 11 Tips to Help Prevent Dry Skin (healthline.com)

Dry skin - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

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