Home Derma Care Dry Skin in the Winter: What Are the Causes?

Dry Skin in the Winter: What Are the Causes?

Verified By Apollo Dermatologist December 17, 2020 8089 0
Dry Skin
Dry Skin in the Winter What Are the Causes

Overview of Dry Skin

Your skin tends to get dry sometimes. This happens more during the winter season, and you feel dry rough skin to touch.. It may also become flaky at times.  Dry skin may also occur as a side effect of certain medical conditions. The right treatment ensures eliminating dry skin along with the underlying disease.

About Dry Skin

Dry skin is characterized by loss of moisture from the skin that makes the skin extremely dry to touch.  Extremely dry skin ends up bruising the skin that tends to bleed.

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Skin?

While dry skin is a temporary condition occurring in the winters, you may find your skin turning extremely dry even in other seasons. This is an indication of an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. Some of the signs of dry skin are as follows:

  • Feeling the skin becoming tight, especially after bathing or showering
  • The skin feels rough to touch
  • Persistent itching
  • Flaking, developing scales, or tiny cracks in the skin
  • Change in skin color; it turns grey
  • Skin discoloration
  • Deep fissures and cracks that bleed

When Do You Need to Visit a Doctor for Dry Skin?

Rough skin with tightness and flaking respond well to home remedies and over the counter formulations and topicals. It is advisable to visit a doctor when dry skin persists despite taking suitable measures. It is best to seek medical treatment when you experience the following:

  • Redness and brittle skin
  • Skin is not moisturized despite treating it with oil and emollients
  • Skin flakes or developing scaly lesions that itch continuously
  • You develop open sores due to scratching

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

What Are the Causes of Developing Dry Skin?

Dry skin, known as xerosis in medical parlance, commonly occurs due to change in the environment. It is more pronounced during the winters. There are a few medical conditions that affect the moisture content of the skin. Some of the major causes of developing dry skin include the following:

  • Climate. You are likely to experience dryness of skin if you live in  extremely cold regions. Even temperate zones  have low temperatures that affect the skin directly. You may feel the skin becoming dry and brittle, often flaking during winters. People living in the desert regions also experience dry skin throughout the year, as there is very little humidity in the air.
  • Heat exposure. It is normal for rural populations to huddle around an open fire in winters. The urban populace uses artificial heating devices such as stoves, central heating systems, and fireplaces burning wood or gas to heat their rooms. The dry heat emitting from these sources reduces the humidity in the environment, causing the abduction of the body.
  • Bathing with hot water. Using hot water for bathing or showering daily can cause dry skin. The same can occur if you swim regularly in chlorinated water.
  • Soap and detergent products. Rubbing and exfoliating the skin with harsh products may rob your skin moisture, causing it to become dry. The natural oil of the skin is reduced drastically when you use such products for a long time.

What Are the Risks of Developing Dry Skin?

It is normal to develop dry skin occasionally. You are more likely to be troubled with dry skin if you

  • Are more than 40 years old.
  • Live in extreme climatic conditions such as mountainous or desert regions.
  • Work with harsh chemicals or need to use water on your skin frequently.
  • Swim using chlorinated water in a swimming pool regularly.
  • Medical history of type 2 diabetes or psoriasis

What Are the Best Home Remedies for Dry Skin?

You can try to soften your skin by rubbing oil or moisturizers that are easily available over the counter. Dermatologists may also advise bathing with specially formulated glycerin soaps to retain the moisture within the skin. This is normally a seasonal condition, with people living in dry areas subject to extreme cold and heat being prone to it.

The problem can be corrected easily and does not require medication. If it becomes a perpetual problem, sometimes with the skin becoming extremely dry throughout the year, we recommend visiting a medical professional to have dry skin treated.

It is crucial to make certain lifestyle changes as advised by the dermatologist. Some of the most effective treatments prescribed by a skincare doctor may include

  • Prescription medicines containing lactic acid.
  • OTC creams and ointments for softening the skin.
  • Wet dressing to be applied on the dry skin periodically or as advised by the dermatologist.

What Are the Complications Associated with Dry Skin?

Drying of the skin is natural when the weather turns cold. There is less moisture in the air that may affect the skin, making it feel dry. It is not a serious problem and can be rectified easily with home remedies and over-the-counter topicals. Ignoring the feeling of tightness or cracking of skin can give rise to more serious conditions that include:

  • Atopic dermatitis. Also known as eczema, your skin may turn red with inflammation, there may be cracking of the skin associated with itching, and bleeding from the skin being scratched too often. It may also cause dry scales to appear in parts of the body. This occurs when excessive dry skin is not treated at all. This is a common occurrence in young children who neglect moisturizing their skin.
  • Infections. Cracked skin or open sores on the skin can become an entry point for bacteria and other microorganisms that may result in infections. It is most important to visit a dermatologist and get the skin treated immediately to avoid further aggravation. 

How Can You Prevent Developing Dry Skin?

Remember to keep your skin moisturized adequately to prevent the reduction of natural oils. Some precautions you can take are as follows:

  • Apply moisturizers on the skin regularly, especially in winter.
  • Avoid hot water bathing, .
  • Refrain from using harsh soaps and exfoliants. Switch to gentle and organic cleansing products instead.
  • Keep your skin covered in winter, especially when going out.
  • Keep your hands shielded with rubber gloves if you have to immerse them in water too frequently.


Dry skin is normal for most individuals in winter. It may be uncomfortable but can be easily controlled by using moisturizers. The underlying cause for dry skin may indicate something serious if it persists for a long time regardless of the weather conditions. Visit a doctor immediately when you find your skin flaking or scaling. You also need medical intervention when you have an irresistible urge to scratch the skin, causing open sores to develop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is infection the primary cause of dry skin?

Dry skin is caused by reduction of   the natural oils within the skin that keep it moisturized and soft. The main reason for dry skin is a change in environmental factors that are often seasonal. The skin’s moisture level diminishes due to certain diseases, but individuals with dry skin are usually otherwise healthy.

  1. How should you soften your skin in the absence of creams, lotions, or medicated formulations?

Applying oil on the skin is an excellent way of trapping moisture. Any oil, including olive coconut and mustard oil, serve to keep the skin soft and moisturized.

  1. In which part of your body is dry skin usually found?

Dry skin can occur anywhere on the body, but it is first noticed on the legs. Your forearms and hands are affected next.

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

Verified By Apollo Dermatologist

The content is carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized and verified by our panel expert dermatologists who have years of experience in their field. We aim to spread awareness to all those individuals who are curious and would like to know more about their skin and beauty

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