Winter Skincare: Cold, Dry Facts

From frigid wind to hot air blasting from a furnace, the winter air can be hard on your skin – especially if it’s dry to begin with. Read on to learn ways to take care of your skin when the temperature drops.

Get to know the Pharmacist at Walmart

Reasons for dry skin: winter’s drying effect

When the temperature goes down, your chances of getting dry, flaky and itchy skin goes up. Here are the main causes of winter’s drying effect:

  • Cold outdoor air. Cold air has less moisture than warm or hot air, and can be very drying.
  • Hot homes. Furnaces – especially forced air systems – can be drying as well.
  • Harsh winds. Strong winter winds can strip your skin of its protective oils, which keep skin from drying out.
  • Hot baths or showers. They can dry out skin and trigger eczema flare-ups.
  • Hot fires. The heat can toast your skin, so don’t sit too close to any fire.

The right moisturizer for winter skincare

Dry winter skin needs to be well moisturized. But the creams and lotions you used in summer may be too light to protect against harsh winds and frigid air. Try this instead:
  • Use a moisturizer that’s oil-based, rather than water-based. The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that locks in moisture better than a water-based cream or lotion. Many lotions labelled as "night creams" are oil-based - but look for the words "non-comedogenic" on the label, to make sure they won’t clog your pores. Avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil or almond oil are all good "non-clogging" choices.
  • In general, thicker and greasier lotions are usually better choices for dry skin … they may take longer to dry when applied, but they’ll do a better job protecting the skin.
  • Look for lotions containing "humectants", "AHA" or "ceramides", substances that attract moisture to your skin.
The Pharmacist at Walmart can help you read product labels and choose a moisturizer that’s right for you.

Eczema: coping with the big itch

Eczema is a common skin problem which causes the skin to become inflamed, flaking and itchy. There are many different types of eczema, and many different symptoms:
  • Itching. Often this can be intense. But scratching your eczema can flare it up and can damage your skin.
  • Redness. The affected skin may appear blotchy and bleed.
  • Scaling. The surface of the skin can flake off, giving it a rough, scaly appearance.
  • Fluid-filled blisters. These can ooze and form crusts.
  • Cracking. In severe cases, skin may also develop deep, painful cracks.

Not sure if your itchy skin is eczema? See your doctor or dermatologist for a diagnosis. They can tell if it’s eczema by looking at your skin and asking a few questions.

Dealing with eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Controlling eczema in winter means taking extra good care of your skin so it doesn’t become cracked and infected. Here’s what experts suggest:
Many people with this condition lack an essential oil in their skin, so it can’t keep in moisture well. Because the skin is so sensitive, almost anything can trigger a flare-up. The list includes:
  • Heat from anything from hot air to a hot bath.
  • Prickly fabrics such as wool or polyester
  • Chemicals in soaps and detergents
  • Perfumed products
  • Allergies
  • Many other things that come in contact with the skin. Even some moisturizers can cause eczema to flare up. That’s why it’s important to keep track of everything that touches your skin, to help you identify the cause of a flare-up.
Avoiding triggers - whether harsh detergents, perfumed products or hot baths - is the best way to control AD. A combination of treatments from emollients to cool compresses can soothe inflammation and itching.
Above all, keep your skin well-moisturised. Greasy moisture creams are best for very dry, cracked and sensitive skin, as they do not sting. Consider looking for a product that is hypoallergenic and perfume-free. Ask the Pharmacist at Walmart about the right choices for you.

Treating eczema: easing the itch

Use mild soaps/soap-free cleansers and moisturizers. Apply moisturizer right after you bathe, as well as at least one other time each day.

Take short, warm showers. Very long, hot showers or baths can dry out your skin. Also be sure to pat yourself dry rather than rubbing.

Don’t scratch. Scratching your skin - even if it’s not inflamed - breaks it down and can cause flare-ups and possible infection.

Try hydrocortisone. These over-the-counter creams may help mild eczema. If it’s more severe, you might need a prescription cream.

Use oral antihistamines. They can sometimes help with severe itching.


Don’t just give “lip service” to chapped lips

Unlike your skin, your lips don’t have protective oil glands. So they can really suffer during winter, becoming chapped and split. Sometimes they may even bleed. Here are ways to keep them smooth and healthy:
  • Slather on the lip balm. Your best bet is one with a sunscreen in it. But plain old petroleum jelly will also work.
  • Lick this bad habit. Saliva dries out lips. So when you repeatedly lick them, it sets up a cycle of wetting and drying that causes them to chap.
  • Cover up your kisser. On cold, windy days, cover your lips with a scarf.
  • Moisten the air. Use a humidifier in your home or office.

Here comes the winter sunscreen

Using sunscreen isn’t just for summer. Winter sun can be just as damaging to skin as summer sun - especially when combined with snow glare. Even if the temperatures are near or below freezing, ultraviolet (UV) rays are still present, putting your skin and lips at risk for sun damage. To stay protected:

  • Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to your face and hands (if they’re exposed) if you’re going outside in the daytime. Reapply more often if you stay outside longer.
  • Use a lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the thin, delicate skin around your eyes.
If you need help picking out a sunscreen, talk to the Pharmacist at Walmart.

Some winter skin tips: from head to toe

Want to be more comfortable in your own skin this winter? Here are a few tips to help:

Wear gloves. The skin on your hands can get dry and itchy. Wear gloves if you go outside. If wool irritates your hands, wear a pair of thin cotton gloves underneath.

Drink plenty of fluids. Aim to add moisture to your skin from the inside as well as the outside. Stick to water and herbal teas.

Don’t forget your feet. Always try to wear a dry pair of socks – wet socks can lead to cracked or split heels and can even cause your skin to break down. Use a heavier-based moisturizing cream to soften the thicker skin on your feet. Apply the cream to your heels and the top and bottom of your feet, but avoid applying it between your toes.


Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart can help you find the right products for your winter skin woes. Just ask!

Sponsored by

  • Olex Omeprazole 20 mg
  • Teva Canada Limited
  • equatetm/mc Nicotine Gum

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.


The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.

© Johnson & Johnson Inc.

Olex is a trademark of Pharmascience Inc.
Pendopharm, Division of Pharmascience Inc.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



Store details