Fall and Wintertime Skin Care: How to Prevent and Treat Dry Skin

Fall and Wintertime Skin Care: How to Prevent and Treat Dry Skin

The leaves are falling, the holidays are just around the corner. So is something else. Itchy skin. Yep, as the seasons change, so does your skin. The skin routine you use in the summer may not work so well in the fall and winter when humidity drops.

Dry skin can itch, flake, crack and even bleed. Chronic skin conditions like eczema may flare up around this time – leaving lots of people looking for relief.

No one should have to deal with painful skin conditions on top of frigid temperatures. That’s why we’ve put together a list of dermatologist-recommended ways to prevent dry skin.

Tweak your bath and shower routine

About 64% or your skin is made up of water. So, it makes sense that it likes getting wet. Still, your skin will appreciate these tips.

  1. Limit your shower or bath to five to 10 minutes.
  2. Use warm water instead of hot water.
  3. Wash with gentle, unscented cleanser.
  4. Dry your face by blotting (don’t rub) gently with a clean towel.
Slather on moisturizer

Ointments, creams and lotions trap existing moisture in your skin. You may want to choose ointments and creams since they are more hydrating and less irritating than lotions. Use them daily to prevent dryness, cracking, flaking and peeling.

  1. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing your face and hands while they are still damp.
  2. As soon as you dry off after a shower or bath, apply moisturizer generously while the skin is still damp.
Wear lip balm

There are so many to choose from – ranging from well-known brands to products with all-natural ingredients. Lip balm not only protects the delicate skin on your lips, it’s soothing and feels good.

Use unscented skin care products

It’s best to stay away from products with strong fragrance. They can be harsh on dry, sensitive skin. If your skin feels dry, avoid deodorant soaps and skin products with alcohol, retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) that slough off skin cells.

Use a humidifier

Add moisture to the air in your home with a humidifier. Moisture helps your skin stay healthy and hydrated.

Give a gift that nurtures healthy skin 

Spread a healthy glow by creating a winter skin care gift basket for family and friends. Pack it with all your favorite products for chasing away the cold weather blues. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Lip balm
  • Unscented hand lotion
  • Moisturizing hand sanitizer
  • Face and body lotion
  • Travel size unscented lotions and potions
  • Hair masque
  • Coconut oil
  • Bottled water
  • Cotton socks 
  • Cotton face towels or washcloths
  • Sunscreen
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Face masque

Add the finishing touches with a festive gift tag.

Sources: Dry Skin: Overview, leaving site icon American Academy of Dermatology Association, 2022; Eczema Resource Center, leaving site icon American Academy of Dermatology Association, 2022; Winters Don’t Have to Bring Dry Skin, leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2021; Skincare Tips for Cold Winter Months, leaving site icon Philly Voice, 2021

Originally published 11/20/2015: Revised 2017, 2021, 2023