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Dry, Itchy or Scaly Skin

If you find that your skin shows signs of dryness during the colder months, you’re not alone. Winter comes hand in hand with chilly temperatures, harsh winds and heating systems making the air around us drier. If you experience dry skin in winter, you might notice dry patches on your forehead and cheeks or chapped lips. This winter dryness may also cause increased skin sensitivity or itchy sensations.  

Dry and itchy-prone skin can be uncomfortable, but a hydrating skincare regime that maintains the skin’s natural protective barrier can go a long way to help. Read on to learn more about the causes of dry and itchy-prone skin and how to effectively care for your skin in the winter. 

What are the causes and signs of dry and itchy-prone skin?

It’s important to understand the difference between having dry skin all year round and seasonal dry or itchy skin that only shows up as a concern in the winter. If your skin experiences these symptoms all year round, you may have a dry or sensitive skin type. If your skin is usually only dry and itchy in winter, it’s likely due to environmental factors. 

As we move into the winter months, the dramatic dip in temperature does more than just make us feel freezing – there’s also a significant decrease in humidity for months at a time. Your skin’s moisture levels are closely linked to the atmosphere around us, so drier air in winter is directly linked to drier (and sometimes itchier) feeling skin. 

Harsh winter winds can also exacerbate these effects during our commutes and outdoor activities. Unfortunately, cranked up heating systems mean the air inside our homes and workplaces is often also very dry. These environmental factors can disrupt the natural protective skin barrier, and a result strip the skin’s natural protective oils over time. 

Signs of dry skin

Although it might seem simple to identify, dry skin has a variety of signs beyond just visible dehydration. If you’re noticing redness, or flakiness, your skin is likely in need of hydration. The same goes if your skin’s texture becomes rougher. Lastly, dry skin can sometimes become sensitised, leading to secondary signs like itching and even burning sensations.

How to protect against dry and itchy skin in winter

Dry and itchy skin is common in winter, but it’s not inevitable. By implementing some targeted changes to your skincare routine and making a habit to follow your regime consistently, you should be able to keep your skin feeling soft and looking radiant throughout the colder months.

The objective of your hydrating winter skincare regime is to maintain your protective skin barrier and prevent excessive moisture loss. The skin’s natural barrier, on the outermost layer of the epidermis, provides a lipid (oil) barrier to help keep the skin hydrated and healthy. A weakened skin barrier  can lead to dry and itchy-prone skin, so incorporating products into your winter skin regime that hydrate and support your skin barrier is especially important. 

Follow the steps below to properly care for your dry winter skin. 

Moisturise after showering 

There’s nothing more refreshing than a shower, but we often neglect taking care of our skin after we hop out. It’s not just the skin on your face that needs moisture during winter, the skin on the body needs care too, despite being often forgotten about when bundled beneath cosy winter clothes. Any time you hop in the shower and especially if you use body wash over your whole body, you’re removing skin’s natural oils. It’s vital to replace natural oils on dry winter skin with a rich, thick cream like our CeraVe Moisturising Cream. Arguably our best body moisturiser for winter, this luxuriously rich yet fast absorbing cream is suitable for dry to very dry skin types and can also be used by those prone to mild eczema. If you prefer a more lightweight option, try our CeraVe Moisturising Lotion.

Keeping shower and bath temperatures minimal

It can be incredibly tempting to take a piping hot shower when the nights are cold, but it is important to avoid  turning up the heat too far. Water that is too hot can be damaging to the skin barrier, causing dehydration immediately and over time. If you can’t resist taking a hot shower, gently towel dry and slather on moisturiser immediately to lock in moisture. 

Implementing a hyaluronic acid serum for extra hydration

One of the simplest, most effective ways to introduce extra hydration into your skincare regime is to implement a hyaluronic acid serum. This powerful hydrating ingredient is found naturally in the skin, however levels can deplete with age, so topical application through skincare is necessary to maintain moisture levels. Our CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum helps the skin to retain moisture and contains three essential ceramides to help maintain the natural skin barrier.

Use a hydrating cleanser

Winter skin requires a hydrating and gentle cleanser to prepare the skin for the rest of the products that follow. Using a hydrating formula can add moisture and help protect the skin barrier from weakening environmental factors. Try our CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser to help keep the skin soft and supple during the first stage of your skincare routine.

Look after your hands and feet

Washing our hands is extremely important, but hot water and frequent washing  are drying to the skin and can weaken the skin barrier. Likewise, our feet are also an exposed area that can be especially prone to dry, rough skin. We recommend our CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream to exfoliate bumps and dry patches without drying the skin out, along with our CeraVe Reparative Hand Cream to counteract the drying effects of hand washing.

CeraVe’s range of skincare products contain highly effective ingredients to care for dry and itchy-prone skin in winter. To learn more about your product needs, try our ‘Find My Skincare Solution’ tool to select targeted products for your individual skin type and concerns. 

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