5 Common Winter Skin Conditions (and How to Fix Them)

5 Common Winter Skin Issues

The winter months can be both a blessing and a curse. Winter is a time for snow, holidays, and cold weather. Even though the crisp, clean winter air is refreshing, it can also pose challenges to the skin. In fact, there are many common winter skin issues that can occur during this season. In this blog post we will discuss each condition in depth as well as what you can do to manage them.

Winter Skin Issue #1: Chapped Lips

woman with chapped lips applying lip balm

Chapped lips are a common issue that can occur during the winter months. They are caused by dry air, cold weather, and low humidity. Since there is only a very thin layer of skin covering the lips, this means they are likely to dry out before other parts of the face. Chapped lips can be very painful and often result in cracked and sore skin. Unfortunately, cracked lips can also become infected.

The best way to prevent chapped lips is to keep your lips hydrated by using lip balm or lip moisturizer regularly. Lip balms and moisturizers contain special ingredients that provide long-lasting hydration, as well as ingredients that help to heal cracked lips and relieve the pain caused by cracking lips. It is also important to avoid licking your lips, since salvia will irritate your lips and make the condition worse.

Winter Skin Issue #2: Windburn

Windburn is a skin condition that is caused by the harsh winter weather, specifically cold windy air as the name suggests. Windburn causes your skin to become red, chapped, and painful. It can feel similar to a sunburn and some medical experts note that windburn is a type of sunburn. In some cases, windburn can even lead to skin peeling, much like a mild to moderate sunburn. People with rosacea and eczema, or those who have recently had dermabrasion or a chemical peel are more likely to develop windburn.

The best way to prevent windburn is to wear protective clothing when outside in cold temperatures. In addition, you can apply moisturizer or sunscreen to your face before going out into the elements as this will help protect your skin from becoming windburned. It can also be helpful to avoid gel or water-based cleansers and instead use a creamy cleanser that provides your skin with extra moisture. Drinking water is another way to hydrate your skin.

Winter Skin Issue #3: Acne

Did you know that a 2015 study cited in TIME found that 11% of people have worse acne during the winter months? Acne is another common issue that can occur during the winter months as a result of dry skin and cold weather. Acne occurs when excess sebum oil clogs the pores and causes pimples to form. During the winter, the air is so dry that the skin may compensate by overproducing sebum. Unfortunately, acne breakouts around the T-zone, (forehead, nose, and chin) tend to occur as a result of this increase in sebum production. In some cases, the sudden onset of cold weather can also cause acne in people who have chronic inflammatory diseases of the skin such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.

The best way to combat acne breakouts in the winter is to keep your skin moisturized. With that being said, however, it is important to try using products that are oil-free to help minimize the occurrence of acne. It is also recommended to try and cover your face while out in the cold, as well as to temporarily avoid exfoliants.

Winter Skin Issue #4: Winter Itch

skin irritation on leg

Winter itch, also known as pruritus hiemalis, is a skin condition that is caused by the cold, dry winter air. In addition to making the skin itchy, this condition can also cause the skin to have a scaly appearance and/or even crack due to being so dry. Winter itch often affects the legs, specifically behind the knees, on the calves, and around the ankles.

The best way to treat this condition is to keep your skin hydrated. You can do this by using a humidifier in your home, drinking plenty of water, and using moisturizer regularly. If you are experiencing severe winter itch, a moisturizing facial is a great way to effectively hydrate your skin and relieve the itching.

Winter Skin Issue #5: Aggravated Existing Conditions

If you have psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea, then winter weather will very likely aggravate these conditions. As with other winter skin conditions, protecting the skin with sunscreen and keeping it moisturized can help alleviate symptoms. However, you may need to consult an aesthetician or dermatologist for guidelines on your specific condition.

In Conclusion

We hope this blog post has helped you better understand some of the most common winter skin issues and how to best manage them. Remember, it is important to keep your skin hydrated during the colder months by using moisturizer regularly. If you are experiencing any of these conditions, please consult with your local medi-spa for the best way to treat them.

Lee A. Kleiman

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology. 

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