What Causes Itchy Legs In The Winter?

Is it just me or do you too begin to itch your pins incessantly, like a dog with fleas, when the colder months come around? I'm sure I can't be the only one pondering: Why do my legs get itchy in the winter? Itchy legs are the opposite of a holiday miracle and enduring them might make you feel like there's an undercover Grinch playing a trick on you. But, there must be a logical explanation for this totally frustrating conundrum.

Itchy legs are a bizarre mystery that creep up on you and give you a metaphorical kick in the shins. One moment it's summer and you have goddess like legs, the next, the seasons change and WHAM! Your legs look like microscopic, desert like landscapes on limbs, and you cannot stop scratching them. Not only are itchy legs uncomfortable, but they're also terribly distracting. If you've ever tried to sit through an important meeting, or listen to a friend's heartfelt story with legs that are red raw from your vain attempts to quell their itchiness, you'll know what I mean. Plus, once you've opened that can of worms and given in to the itching, there's no stopping.

To begin to scratch the surface, I spoke to a couple of experts on why legs get itchy in the winter and to find out if there's anything we can do to make it stop.

Sasha Barolli, esthetician at Haven Spa, tells me over email, “Legs start to get itchy from a sudden temperature drop in the winter months. Skin begins to loose moisture causing dryness and irritation.”

“To avoid itchy legs you can: Stop taking hot showers, exfoliate weekly, and moisturize everyday,“ Barolli says. Barolli recommends some products to look after your legs during the winter time, including Pure Fiji Sugar Scrubs and Jindilli lotions.

Dermatologist Dr. Janet Prystowsky, explains in an email to Bustle, "Our legs itch more during the winter because our skin is drier. The best way to get rid of that itchy feeling is to make sure your skin is well hydrated."

"Try using less soap," she suggests, "soap not only cleans, but also strips your skin of its natural oils. Those oils are important in the winter! I prefer Dove’s Beauty Bars because they have moisturizing oils that help counteract the drying nature of cleansing. I’ve recommended it for years and have been working with the brand."

You might need to become more aware of the materials that you're wearing against your legs. "Changing your clothing can also help. I prefer microfiber, wool, or fleece during the winter. These materials are great at locking in warmth," Dr. Prystowsky tells me.

"If you still have dry skin issues, try using a body oil before getting out of the shower. Heavy creams like Eucerin can also be helpful," says Dr. Prystowsky, "a step beyond that would be to use ointments like Vaseline or Aquaphor, but those shouldn’t be necessary for your legs unless your skin seems to be cracking."

"Shaving and waxing your legs can also dry them out. During the winter, this will only prove more true," says Dr. Prystowsky. If you're someone who likes their legs to be fuzz-free, you may need to scrutinize your hair removal methods to ensure they're not to blame for your itchy legs.

"If you still want clean shaven legs, but without the itchiness, then you should look into laser hair removal," Dr. Prystowsky explains, "one treatment will typically leave your treatment area hairless for approximately two months. Four treatments over the course of the season will usually reduce the amount of hair that grows back in the future."

Sporting itchy legs in the winter is no walk in the park, but at least now you know why the itchiness occurs and what you can do to combat it!

Images: Cristian Newman (1), Annie Spratt (1), Brooke Cagle (1) /Unsplash; rhythmuswege (1), nbfox1 (1) /Pixabay; Bustle