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7 Must-Read Tips for Managing Dry, Flaky Skin in the Winter

Written by Robbie Salter
Reviewed by Julie Karen, M.D.
7 Must-Read Tips for Managing Dry, Flaky Skin in the Winter

There are two kinds of people in this world: the unbelievably lucky ones, and the ones who get dry, flaky skin every winter. Skin xerosis (aka dry skin) is a very common condition, and many of us notice it worsens significantly in the cold, dry months. 

The result is typically itchy, lifeless skin. And if your scalp gets dry enough, you might even find dandruff - the flakes that result from an irritated scalp.

Our skin needs moisture to stay healthy, and harsh winter temperatures can threaten that. Many skin-care manufacturers use terms like “free radicals” or “ceramides” to convince us that we need certain products.

It will take a little bit of education and diligence to ensure that winter is a season in which we see our skin moisturized and healthy, rather than dry and itchy. Here are a few of our best tips to help you get started:

Consider Visiting Your Doctor

For many of us, dry skin xerosis is nothing to worry about - at least not from a medical standpoint. However, there are underlying skin conditions that can cause dry skin and may lead to more serious symptoms if left untreated.

Some common skin conditions that may involve dry skin include:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)

  • Contact dermatitis (an allergic response)

  • Psoriasis

Other signs that you may need to see a family doctor or dermatologist is when typical products, such as a moisturizer or facial cleanser, do not provide any relief, or if you experience peeling skin, severe acne or unexplained bruising or lesions.

Avoid Scratching, Even If It's Tough

The worst part about dry skin is how itchy and uncomfortable you may feel. You may be tempted to scratch at your skin or your scalp, but doing so will only create long-term problems.

When it comes to your scalp, scratching can dislodge dead skin cells and leave your hair and clothing with unattractive white flakes. Scratching your skin can also damage your stratum corneum (the tough outer layer of your skin), which leaves it unable to repair itself and makes the dryness worse.

On top of all this, you may even draw blood or leave your skin scarred - so try your best to avoid the urge to scratch, as strong as it may be.

If dandruff is a struggle in the winter (or year-round), you will need a shampoo that treats dandruff and a conditioner that moisturizes your scalp and hair.

Adjust Your Skin Care Routine, And Stay On Top Of It

While a lot of us turn to basic moisturizers or exfoliants to tackle our skin care needs, everyone should have a personalized routine that is right for our skin type. Even if you generally have oily skin, sensitive skin, or combination skin, you may still experience dryness in the winter.

When shopping for over-the counter skin-care products, look carefully at labels and consider whether they are designed for your skin type. In general, avoid harsh soaps and body washes and instead go for a gentle cleanser. Even after creating an effective regimen, you might find yourself needing to adjust during the winter.

This is why it is important to moisturize your skin year-round, use a daily gentle cleanser, and exfoliate no more than once or twice per week. When shopping for skin-care products, consider the following effective, natural ingredients:

  • Aloe vera: great for ensuring lock-in moisture, although it can dry your skin when overused

  • Salicylic acid: a powerful tool for unclogging pores, although daily use can leave skin dry

  • Tea tree oil: a popular choice as a daily cleanser. There is even evidence that it can reduce the appearance of acne scars

  • Olive oil: it may seem non-conventional, but it can reduce the appearance of sunspots and aging

  • Lactic acid: a popular anti-aging skin-care product that can reduce the appearance of fine lines

  • Coconut oil: an all-natural moisturizer that is known to protect against bacteria

  • Jojoba oil: this oil is full of fatty acids and is a lightweight hydrating oil that is ideal for those prone to breakouts

Using the right products daily and maintaining a consistent routine is key for trapping in the moisture your skin needs, and keeping your skin hydrated and healthy every month of the year. Those who are sensitive to certain exfoliating and hydrating lotions and natural oils may want to slather on fragrance-free products instead as an added precaution. 

If you believe you’re at risk of dry winter skin, remember that the dry air caused by indoor heat can also pose a threat to the overall wellness of your skin.  Moisturizing often or investing in a humidifier can protect against winter dryness. 

Remember To Wear Hats And Scarves

Who knew the secret to keeping your skin hydrated would be to accessorize? A key reason for dryness in the winter is the harsh wind and air making constant contact with your skin barrier. 

The sun can also have an impact on dry skin, even in the winter. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends always wearing sunscreen, as UV rays are still a danger even on cloudy days. It's especially important to use sunscreen after applying products like hyaluronic acid. 

Most people notice the areas of their skin that are dry are not the areas often covered by clothing, such as the midriff or legs, but instead areas such as the hands, feet, and face. 

Even if you have a stellar skin-care routine, you will struggle to lock in moisture if your skin is not adequately protected. Instead, bundle up under gloves, hats and scarves and stay protected from the elements.

Avoid Heating Your Hair

Just like the rest of your skin, your scalp needs extra care in the winter to avoid losing moisture. If dryness and dandruff are bothersome to you, winter might be the right time to ditch your flat iron or blow dryer.

Any electric tools that use heat to style your hair can increase dryness. Heating hair on the daily will leave it looking dry and lifeless - and potentially flaky, too.

It's not just styling products that can affect your skin in the winter; showering with hot water can make skin even drier. Instead of a hot shower, try bathing with hydration boosting lukewarm water instead.

Find The Right Shampoo

Itchy skin can occur anywhere on the body, including the head. If your scalp needs help against winter dryness, you will need a solid hair care and scalp care routine.

High-quality dandruff shampoos can lock in moisture, exfoliate dead skin cells, and leave your hair soft and healthy. If dandruff is a struggle in the winter (or year-round), you will need a shampoo that treats dandruff and a conditioner that hydrates your scalp and hair.

The key ingredient to look for when it comes to dandruff shampoos is Zinc Pyrithione. This compound has proven safe and effective at treating dandruff, so your scalp can return to a state of health. Check out Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo, formulated with Zinc Pyrithione to treat your flakes and feel-good ingredients like algae extract and coconut oil to calm your scalp. 

Stay Hydrated With Subscriptions

The last thing you want to do in the wintertime is experiment with your scalp health - or trudge out to a pharmacy every time you run out of dandruff shampoo. Fortunately, with Jupiter, that hassle is a thing of the past.

Jupiter is a line of scientifically formulated dandruff and scalp care products that shows up on your doorstep as often as you need it.

Our products scalp care products help prevent dryness and our dandruff care products powerfully fight flaking. It’s clean, effective, and just what you need through the dry winter months. Learn more

Balancing Shampoo
Balancing Shampoo

Meet our head honcho. This soothing multi-tasker gets to the root of flaking and irritation, thanks to our star active ingredient, Zinc Pyrithione. Backed by a lush aroma of mint, vanilla, rosemary, sage, tangerine, and lavender, it’s bound to elevate your mood, and your shower.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.