This Is What's Causing Your Winter Dry Skin

by Lindsey Rose Black

Nothing is more annoying in the winter than dry, flaky, itchy skin that seems like it will never go away. To dodge this dermatological unpleasantness, it's key to understand what causes dry skin in the winter so you can prevent it from striking! A little tweaking of your standard beauty routine will go a long way in taking care of your gorgeous skin and keep it glowing instead of flaking.

Before I delve into the most common causes of dry winter skin, I want to take a sec to talk about slightly more serious skin conditions that cold weather can aggravate. Eczema and psoriasis are both incredibly common skin issues, but it's a wise idea to consult with your doctor about treatment options this winter to prevent any majorly painful flare-ups.

If you're not sure if you might be suffering from one of these conditions, but have lately noticed your skin has moved beyond feeling dry and uncomfortable to red, itchy, and blistered (likely eczema) or is producing painful "scales" (a classic symptom of psoriasis), I would definitely encourage you to seek out a dermatologist. Trying to solely DIY treat conditions like this can lead to a lot of frustration, and you might unintentionally make a flare-up worse.

If you're 100 percent positive you're not dealing with eczema or psoriasis, check out these causes of dry skin in winter below to avoid accidentally drying out your skin this season!

1. The Cold Air

Hemp Face Protector, $14, The Body Shop

EveryDayHealth pointed out how cold air is often drier than humid summer air and, while you can't stop the seasons, you can definitely invest in a quality moisturizer to protect your skin.

2. Using Gel Body Wash

French Lilac Bodywash, $10, Pacifica Beauty

According to PopSugar, winter is a great time to swap out a strong gel body wash for a gentle, soap-free version that will hydrate your skin instead of stripping it of oils.

3. Skipping Sunscreen

Moisturizing SPF 30, $21, Kiehls

Another solid point from PopSugar, UV rays can wreak havoc on your skin and dry it out even if the sky is covered in clouds. Regardless of how bright the day is looking, be sure to slather on a moisturizing SPF!

4. Taking Long, Hot Showers

Ugh I hate that this causes dry skin, but experts at WebMD shared that those luxuriously steamy showers strip away natural oils and will leave your skin itchy. Instead, opt for a slightly less toasty shower and bundle up right after.

5. Not Eating Enough Fat

Barlean's Fresh Flax Oil, $18, Walgreens

If your diet is lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, it's especially going to show on your skin during the winter. Consider adding flax oil and the occasional piece of wild-caught Alaskan salmon (not factory farmed, nutrient-deficient fish!) to your diet. Oh, and put avocados on everything because those little green dreams are packed with hydrating monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)!

6. Not Exfoliating

Pumpkin Oatmeal Glow, $48, Bambu Earth

It might seem like the act of scrubbing down your face in winter would be too harsh on skin, but that's not the case! Skipping exfoliating means that shedding skin builds up and could cause pimples. Dry skin and breakouts? No freaking thank you. Opt for an oil-infused exfoliant to moisturize at the same time.

7. Dehydration

No matter what you put on your skin, it will constantly be dried out if there isn't enough moisture to begin with! If the idea of ice cold water sounds unbearable, Everyday Health suggested sipping on herbal tea throughout the day to sneak your H2O in.

May your winter be 100 percent flake free!

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Images: Pavel Lysenko/Fotolia; Ryan Cadby, Steven Depolo, Nial Bradshaw/Flickr, Courtesy of Brands