Fun fact: the driest place on the planet isn’t in the Sahara or the Mojave. It’s in Antarctica. At the bottom of the earth, the relentless cold sucks moisture out of the atmosphere, cutting humidity to practically zero. The same effect is at work during the winter, when people’s skin can rapidly dry out. Add in behavioral changes brought on by the cold and it becomes a recipe for irritated skin. Changing skin care regimes in the wintertime can greatly improve the appearance and overall health of the skin.

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What Happens in Winter?

A number of factors combine to make winter tougher on the skin. First, colder weather generally leads to lower humidity, which means less moisture in the air. In cold weather, people wear more clothing, which means more contact with fabrics. Usually, people are less likely to remember to moisturize covered up parts of their body. Temperature swings can also be problematic for people moving from heated interiors to cold outdoors. Finally, in colder months people tend to take longer, hotter showers, which can contribute to dry skin. If these changes start to affect skin health, individuals should modify their skin care regime and invest in quality products to adapt to the weather.

What Can Be Done?

One of the easiest fixes is to invest in a heavier cream that uses more oil and less water. Water evaporates and so a more aqueous cream will leave behind less moisturizer compared to a thicker cream. Aside from that, dressing in layers can help avoid excessive sweating beneath jackets. It’s also important that people remember to wear sunscreen. UV rays are not affected by the air temperature, and people can still get burned on cold days. If skin care problems persist, a call to a professional skin care clinician is in order.