Winter Skin Blues – and Itchy, Cracked Reds

By Lisa Benest MD

Winter can bring snow, crackling fires, holidays with friends and family… and dry, irritated, red and cracked skin. So, while you’re making your list and checking it twice, don’t forget your winter skin care regimen.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your skin moisturized and comfortable as that cozy winter sweater.

Use a humidifier. With heat on and windows closed, the air inside can become very dry. Placing two or three small, relatively inexpensive humidifiers around your home will help to humidify the dry air and keep skin from becoming cracked and itchy. Hydrating your body by drinking water will also help keep you comfortable all winter long.

Switch to an oil-based moisturizer and moisturize frequently. The more oil a moisturizer contains the more effectively it protects against moisture loss. Moisturizers that come as an ointment contain the most oil and form a protective layer on the skin that makes them more “moisturizing” than creams and lotions.

If your facial skin is uncomfortably dry, avoid using harsh peels, masks, and alcohol-based toners or astringents, all of which can strip vital oil from your skin. Instead, find a cleansing milk or mild foaming cleanser, a toner with no alcohol, and masks that are “deeply hydrating,” rather than clay-based, which tends to draw moisture out of the face.

Wear gloves outside. Protect your hands from cold air and low humidity. Make sure the gloves are made from material that does not irritate your skin. And don’t forget to moisturize your hands (and your feet, too).

Dress in layers. Common causes of sweaty, itchy skin are sweating and overheating. Wearing layers allows you to remove clothing as needed to prevent overheating. Be sure to wear loose-fitting cotton fabrics next to your skin. And if your clothes or shoes get wet, take them off as soon as you get inside as wet clothes will also irritate the skin.

Don’t forget the sunscreen. Snow if more reflective than sand, making winter sunscreen as important as summer protection. Look for a SPF 30+ sunscreen with an oily, moisturizing cream. If you are unsure of which product to use, ask your dermatologist.

Treat it if it gets worse. Sometimes winter skin gets so dry it results in flaking, cracking, or even eczema. If this happens, see your dermatologist and get the right treatment for your skin type.

Just because we’re bundled up in sweaters and scarves doesn’t mean that we should forget about our skin until summer. Following these simple steps will keep you more comfortable all winter, and allow you to show smoother, fresher skin when the warm weather returns.

Dr Lisa Benest is a medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Burbank. She and her staff provide comprehensive skin examinations as well as an array of non-invasive, cosmetic procedures and offer a full line of skin care products. To learn more about skin rejuvenation as well as the most up-to-date lasers, schedule a Free Consultation with their cosmetic nurse. Check out their website for a complete list of all the treatments:

She can be reached at:

1624 W. Olive Ave #B 

Burbank, CA 91506 


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