5 Simple Tips to Avoid Itchy Skin In the Winter

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

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Dry, itchy skin is very common in the winter. Cold air can dry out your skin, and so can indoor heating. And once your skin gets dry, it can start an endless cycle of peeling, cracking and itching. But you don’t have to live with dry winter skin! Follow these five tips to avoid dry, itchy skin in winter.

1. Use Moisturizers Regularly

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For dry winter skin, frequent moisturizing is key. The best types of moisturizers for cold winter days are oil-based rather than water-based, as they create a shielding film on the skin to keep moisture locked longer.

2. Wear Sunscreen — Even on Grey Winter Days

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Sunscreen isn’t just for summer! You can still get sunburns or more minor sun damage during the winter — and that will make your skin even drier. If you plan to stay outside for longer than 10 minutes, put on sunscreen before going out. And remember to reapply every couple of hours.

3. Try Running a Humidifier

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A humidifier can be a big help for your skin throughout the winter months. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and help counteract the drying effects of indoor heating. Set up the humidifier near where you sleep, so you’ll get the benefits throughout the night.

4. Rehydrate Your Skin with a Soothing Bath

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Try taking a warm (not hot) bath in the winter. A quick soak will not only warm you up, but may also provide some comfort to your itching skin. But don’t stay in the tub or the shower for too long or run the water too hot, as this can make your skin even drier.

5. See a Doctor for Severe Skin Problems

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In many cases, you can treat itchy winter skin at home. But if the itching gets worse or your skin starts to peel or crack, it’s time to see your doctor. Severe itching, peeling and rashes can be signs of skin diseases you may need treatment for. So try the tips above — but if you don’t find relief, ask your doctor if it’s just winter skin or something more serious.

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