Winter brings cool weather and, along with it, winter-season skin problems. The skin problems during winter are many ranging from patches to cracks.

Winter Skin Problems and Solutions: What to Do & How to Avoid Them?

December 12, 2023 by Dr. Sandeep Bhasin


Winter brings cool weather and, along with it, winter-season skin problems. Skin problems during the winter range from patches to cracks. The drop in moisture levels leads to different winter skin problems and winter face skin problems. In this text, we provide information on winter skin problems and solutions. We have included the most common skin problems in winter and the rarest. Prevention measures include winter skin care, given the various cold-weather skin problems.

Types of Common Winter Skin Problems and Solutions:

In the following section, read on to learn about each of these conditions in detail.

  1. Dry skin: Dry skin is a common condition in the winter, and it can be avoided only with a proper skincare routine that includes moisturizers.
  2. Eczema: In severe conditions, eczema can lead to patchy, inflamed skin with blisters that are itchy and even bleed at times.
  3. Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin): The formation of rough patches in the arms and cheeks.
  4. Rosacea: It is a condition where the blood vessels of the face enlarge, giving a reddish appearance to the face.
  5. Psoriasis: It leads to patchy, irritated skin around the knees, elbows, scalp, and arms.
  6. Oily Skin: It is a very uncommon condition during the winter.
  7. Acne: Seasonal acne, especially in the winter, is common.
  8. Chapped lips: It is one of the most common conditions that 9 out of 10 people face during the winter.
  9. Dandruff: The scalp gets excessively dry during the winter, which can cause.
  10. Skin dullness: The loss of moisture from the skin during the winter is a common condition.
  11. UV damage: Keeping the skin safe from UV rays, especially in the winter, is essential to protect it from damage.
  12. Itchiness: Dryness of the skin leads to itchiness, another common winter condition.
  13. Cracked Heels: A loss of skin moisture is another factor contributing to cracked heels in the winter.
  14. Dry and irritated nose: The dry atmosphere during the winter can lead to a dry and irritated nose.
  15. Itchy and scaly eyebrows: The dry weather can lead to scaly and itchy eyebrows, like the rest of the skin.
  16. Small cracks in the skin: Loss of moisture from the skin’s surface can lead to cracked skin.
  17. Itchy, dry, and reddish spots: Winter weather can make the skin itchy and dry and, in severe conditions, give rise to reddish spots.
  18. Winter Rashes: Winter rashes are another common winter condition.

1. Dry Skin

The skin grows dry in winter due to the drop in humidity. The stratum corneum, which is the protective layer, weakens. Such weakening allows the moisture to seep. Dry skin in winter causes various skin problems, such as itchiness, etc. However, there are ways to prevent dry skin in the winter naturally.


To avoid dry skin in winter, use non-perfumed soap bars and products. It is best to use dry sheets and avoid lengthy and hot showers.


If dry skin occurs despite preventive measures, do the following:

  • Limit bathing to once a day and shorten shower times, but only for cold ones.
  • Use skin creams that have ingredients like urea and ceramide.
  • Use humidifiers at home
  • Use Saline drops
  • Use emollients like Vaseline
  • Use natural oils
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use hand-wash allergen-free soaps
  • Wear fabrics made of cotton
  • Use a damp cloth and cool in areas where the dry skin causes itchiness
  • Apply moisturizing cream when hands remain damp

If dry skin persists despite all this, it is best to consult a dermatologist who can prescribe suitable dry skin treatment medicine.

2. Eczema

Lack of moisture leads to dry skin and causes itchiness and soreness, called atopic eczema. Eczema causes include heredity.


Eczema prevention tips include:

  • Keeping the skin moisturized
  • Shower in cold or lukewarm water


Since there is no specific winter eczema treatment, it is bound to differ with a person’s age and surface symptoms. Many suffer from it as long as they live, whereas some successfully cure it. There are two ways to treat eczema. One is home remedies, and the other is medication.

Home remedies:

The person suffering from eczema can:

  • Shower in cold water
  • Keep skin moisturized
  • Wear cotton fabrics
  • Humidifiers at home
  • Using less-fragrant soaps 
  • Avoid sweating
  • Trim fingernails to avoid scratching the infected area

Medicinal remedies:

  • Direct application of ointments or creams, which are topical corticosteroids
  • Oral medications prescribed by doctors, which could be immunosuppressants or corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics in case both eczema and bacterial infection coincide.
  • Antihistamines to prevent scratching at night
  • Apart from these, phytotherapies, injections to block proteins, and moisturizers to decrease water loss are available to treat eczema.

3. Keratosis Pilaris (Chicken Skin)

Patches appear on the skin and are rough and bumpy. Such a skin condition is known as Keratosis Polaris, or “chicken skin disease.”. Such patches may appear on the upper arms or legs but do not cause itching. Keratosis pilaris in the winter has a more significant impact than in the other seasons. Winter keratosis pilaris treatment is more difficult compared to seasonal keratosis pilaris treatment.


Keratosis pilaris causes include keratin buildup. Keratosis pilaris prevention is difficult. One can only minimize or reduce it when it appears. Moisturizing one’s skin with an oil-free ointment is the best preventive measure.


The Keratosis Pilaris treatment includes home remedies. These are:

  • Shortened warm baths
  • Exfoliation daily
  • Applying lotions that contain alpha-hydroxy acid
  • Wearing skin-friendly cotton fabrics
  • Using humidifiers

4. Rosacea

Blood vessels become visible on a person’s face, which appears to cause blushing. Such a skin condition is called Rosacea and includes small, pus-filled bumps. It may appear similar to acne, but it is not. The occurrence of Rosacea in winter is rare, but the winter Rosacea symptoms described above disappear within weeks or months.


Rosacea prevention is impossible, but specific tips can help minimize it. These are:

  • Exposure to sunlight and wind.
  • Stress
  • Extreme weather, hot or cold
  • Heavy workouts
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Avoiding hot shower
  • Avoiding beverages


Specific treatments are available to reduce the effect, but there is no ready cure for Rosacea. Rosacea treatment includes:

  • Skin creams to minimize inflammation and skin discoloration
  • Using eye drops for relief from ocular Rosacea
  • Antibiotics to promote anti-inflammatory
  • Laser Toning treatments

5. Psoriasis

When a person has a rash that resembles scaly patches and causes itchiness, he is said to have a skin disease called psoriasis. Psoriasis is found mainly on the scalp, knees, trunk, and elbows. 


Winter psoriasis symptoms are harsh compared to other seasons. Psoriasis in winter comes in with severe symptoms, and the person is likely to suffer more. Psoriasis has no cure and persists for a long time. Psoriasis treatment includes the following treatments:

  • Changing their lifestyle to a healthy one
  • Paying extra attention to their skin 
  • Watching out for symptoms


Psoriasis treatment includes:

  • Dry-skin moisturizers
  • Ointments that contain Vitamin DE
  • Shampoos that contain medication in them
  • Steroid-filled creams 
  • Retinoid creams

6. Oily Skin

The sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, which can result in oily skin in the winter, among other things.


It is difficult to control or prevent oily skin since it involves control over hormones and genetics. The few options to prevent it from increasing are:

  • Avoid oil-based makeup
  • Use water-based makeup products
  • Avoid greasy foods and trans fats


Here are some homemade remedies that can reduce oily skin:

  • Use fragrance-less soaps but wash regularly
  • Using products that contain salicylic acid 
  • Using products that have glycolic acids
  • Using beta-hydroxy acid presents products 
  • Use products that have benzoyl peroxide

7. Acne

Acne in winter makes the skin drier than in any other part of the year. Whiteheads start appearing on your face due to excess sebum. Such an occurrence is the perfect indication of winter acne symptoms. Acne causes distress, both mentally and physically. 


Acne prevention in the winter is difficult. However, here are a few acne prevention tips that may prove effective. 

  • Avoid or limit bathing in hot water
  • Daily exfoliating using products that contain retinoid or salicylic acids
  • Ensure ventilation inside the house
  • Walk in the sunshine
  • Regular exercise sessions


Winter acne treatment is more difficult compared to seasonal acne treatment. One can follow the five steps found below for acne treatment. 

  • Avoid touching your face frequently
  • Avoid showering your head excessively
  • Keep yourself moisturized with products that contain the right ingredients
  • Keep your skin clean, thus clearing particles that clog the pores

Acne treatment in Ayurveda is effective. Ayurveda uses only products that have natural ingredients. It treats Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha disorders, thus curing acne.

8. Chapped lips

Chapped lips in winter are typical. Winter-chapped lips occur due to the cold weather and heated air inside the house. Such an occurrence is the perfect indication of winter chapped lips symptoms. Chapped lips cause a person’s lips to go dry and crack.


Winter-chapped lips are difficult to avoid. However, here are a few chapped lips prevention tips that may prove effective. 

  • Choose lip balms with castor seed oils, mineral oils, and other similar ingredients
  • Use ointments that contain petroleum jelly
  • Use a lip balm that has titanium dioxide if you are outdoors 
  • Consume water at regular intervals and humidify the house
  • Avoid licking and biting your lips
  • Avoid inserting clips and metal items in between your lips


Winter chapped lips treatment is more difficult compared to seasonal chapped lips treatment. One can follow the five steps found below for chapped lips treatment. 

  • Frequent application of lip balms to the lips 
  • Regular lip balm application and the earlier, the better
  • Keep yourself hydrated 
  • Avoid running over the cracked area of your lips with your tongue 
  • Avoid Exfoliation
  • Never peel off the loose portion of your lips

Treatment of chapped lips in Ayurveda involves massaging them with four different kinds of fats in combination with bee wax.

9. Dandruff

Dandruff in the winter is bound to occur. Wintertime makes a person stay indoors and also heats it. As a result, warm and dry air leads to winter dandruff. The resulting dry scalp and itchiness that follow are winter dandruff symptoms. Dandruff causes itchiness, which leads to hair fall, compared to seasonal dandruff.


Dandruff prevention in the winter is unavoidable. However, here are six Dandruff winter hair care prevention tips that may prove effective. 

  • Use a shampoo that is both moisturizing and anti-dandruff
  • Wash your hair at least three times a week 
  • Avoid scratching
  • Use humidifiers to moisturize your hair
  • Avoid hot showers 
  • Wear hats and fabrics that are breathable


Winter chapped lips treatment is more difficult compared to seasonal chapped lips treatment. One can follow the five steps found below for chapped lips treatment. 

Apply a mix of green tea, vinegar (white), and peppermint essential oil on your scalp and rinse it later 

  • One can use Diluted apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo
  • Massage your scalp with coconut oil and rinse later
  • Use one tablespoon of baking soda and rub it on the scalp. Rinse later

Dandruff in Ayurveda indicates an imbalance in one’s doshas. A mix of 

  • Lemon juice 
  • ginger juice
  • Olive oil does remove dandruff issues, as per Ayurveda

10. Dull skin

Dull skin in winter occurs due to the absence of moisture in the air. Moisture goes dry on the skin during the winter compared to other seasons. As a result, it leads to dull skin. Dull skin causes include dehydration and a lack of exfoliation. When one notices their skin getting drier and patchier, they should know these are winter dandruff symptoms.


Dull skin in winter is natural. However, here are six dull skin prevention tips that could prove helpful.

  • Regular exfoliation
  • Keep skin moisturized 24 hours 
  • Applying a face mask at night 
  • Applying sunscreen whenever the need arises
  • By gently massaging the face 
  • Keeping skin constantly hydrated


Winter dull skin treatment is more challenging than seasonal dull skin treatment. One can follow the five steps found below for dull skin treatment.

  • Treat your skin gently
  • Bathe in a cold shower only
  • Ensure exfoliation is a part of your routine
  • Make wearing face masks at night a habit
  • Try and simulate the protein called collagen

Dull skin in Ayurveda results from many factors involving an unhealthy lifestyle. Ayurveda recommends a healthier lifestyle to regain the skin’s brightness.

11. Itchiness

Itchiness in winter, medically known as “pruritis hiemalis”, occurs mostly in winter. The legs are the most affected region. It is cold weather that leads to itching. A deficiency in vitamin B12 and vitamin A indicates winter itching symptoms. Itchiness causes small cracks on the skin, which may bleed.


Dull skin prevention in the winter is natural. However, here are three itching prevention tips that could prove helpful:

  • Avoid Fabrics that itch you 
  • Avoid stress 
  • Avoid scratching your skin


Winter itching treatment is more challenging than seasonal itching treatment. One can follow the four steps found below for itchiness treatment.

  • Use oral medications as prescribed
  • Use medicated creams
  • Undergo phototherapy
  • Use ointments that contain corticosteroids

Itchiness in Ayurveda results from an imbalance in doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and an unhealthy lifestyle.

12. Cracked Heels

A combination of dry air during the winter and indoor heating leads to cracked heels in the winter. Winter-cracked heels crack open the dry skin and, in extreme cases, bleed too. A cracked heel causes infections to enter and lead to bacterial or fungal infections. 


Cracked heel prevention primarily requires a change in footwear. Here are a few cracked heel prevention tips that may prove effective. 

  • Avoid footwear that dries your feet
  • Avoid footwear that is weak in heel support
  • Avoid footwear that has a tall heel
  • Avoid tight footwear


Winter Cracked Heels treatment is more difficult compared to seasonal Cracked Heels treatment. One can follow the six tips found below for cracked heel treatment. 

  • Use heel balms 
  • Use thick moisturizers
  • Soak your feet in lukewarm water
  • Do feet exfoliating
  • Use liquid bandages
  • Apply honey 

Cracked heels, as per Ayurveda, are the imbalance in the “Vata Dosha.”. Ayurveda advises people with cracked heels to avoid some foods.

13. Dry and irritated nose

Drops in humidity levels combined with the cold air in winter affect the lining of the nose. The dryness that follows leads to a dry and irritated nose in winter. Attempts to increase the heat inside the house aggravate the dry and irritated nose to a higher level. With the moisture in the air dropping, the dry and irritated nose causes an increase in blood flow to the brain. Also, congestion combines with headaches, which are dry and irritated nose symptoms. Yet another symptom of a dry and irritated nose is the dryness felt in the mouth.


Dry and irritated nose prevention is difficult to avoid during the winter. Dry and irritated prevention tips are few. One tip is to use a humidifier instead of fireplaces or gas heaters.


Dry and irritated nose treatment varies with a seasonal dry and irritated nose. These are:

  • Applying petroleum jelly
  • Humidifiers usage
  • Nasal sprays
  • Tissue wipes but damp
  • Relief through steam or a sauna bath

14. Small cracks in the skin

Exposure to a dry environment leads to small cracks in the skin in winter. Seasonal small cracks in the skin are lower compared to the small winter cracks in the skin. The reason is that the external air in winter is drier. The low moisture thus becomes the primary reason for small cracks in the skin. 


Small cracks in the skin prevention tips include the following:

  • Constantly moisturize
  • Immediate moisturizing after a shower
  • Apply Vaseline
  • Use creams that are meant specifically for crack healing


  • Identify the fissures and self-heal superficial fissures
  • Consult a doctor for deeper fissures
  • Keeping the skin moisturized
  • Exfoliating the heels
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to water
  • Stay hydrated.

Small cracks in the skin, as per Ayurveda, warrant a change in diet accompanied by skin care.

15. Winter Rashes

Winter rashes appear due to an increase in dry air during the winter, leaving the skin dehydrated. Rashes surface and are itchy. These are specific winter rashes symptoms. Along with it come blisters and bumps. Winter rashes can also arise due to:

  • Using harsh soaps 
  • Overuse of sanitizers
  • Side-effects of medicines
  • Stress
  • Allergies 
  • Infection due to bacteria


Winter rash prevention is a necessity, as it makes one uncomfortable. Here are a few winter rash prevention tips.

  • Using soaps with reduced foam
  • Shutting off central heaters at night 
  • Using skin-care products that are organic rather than synthetic
  • Avoid bathing too often


Winter rashes can be treated at home. Such home remedies include the following:

  • Keeping oneself hydrated 
  • Continuously moisturizing the skin with creams 
  • Dabbing areas affected with cloth dipped in milk
  • Usage of Vaseline
  • Wearing breathable materials
  • Installing a humidifier at home 
  • Apply sunscreen when outside

With excess heat increasing in the human system, the pitta dosha is significantly imbalanced. Winter rashes in Ayurveda indicate heightened sensitivity of the skin along with blemishes.

16. Eyebrows itch and Flakes

Dandruff, which affects the scalp, can also lead to eyebrow itching and flakes in winter. Eyebrow itch and flake causes have yet to be discovered. The best-known reason is the increase in the oil content of the hair follicles. The most common winter eyebrow itch and flakes symptoms are:

  • Patches that appear red on the eyebrows
  • Itching but mild 
  • Eyebrows seem to have a scaly formation
  • Obvious sebum oil on the eyebrows.


One can ensure eyebrow itch and flake prevention if the following eyebrow itch and flake prevention tips are followed:

  • Prevent it by using skin-friendly moisturizers
  • Use a mild shampoo
  • Use lukewarm water to wash your face 
  • Avoid venturing outside when the weather is extreme
  • Install a humidifier
  • Avoid allergens


Eyebrows itch, and Flake’s treatment varies with its intensity. If it is mild or moderate, one can use anti-dandruff shampoos. One should ensure such shampoos contain zinc pyrithione. 

If it is severe, doctors may prescribe a shampoo that contains 

  • Ketoconazole
  • Selenium sulfide

They may also prescribe a topical antifungal cream or one with a corticosteroid.

Eyebrow itch and flakes in Ayurveda are defined as an increase in “Kapha & Vayu”. The therapy through Ayurveda aims to eliminate the issue from its very roots.

17. Itchy, Dry, and Reddish Spots

Winter rash is caused by the loss of moisture when exposed to the cold. A winter rash leads to itchy and red spots on the skin. Dry and reddish spots result in itchiness, inflammation, and the appearance of flaky patches, which is also known as dermatitis.

Itchy, dry, and reddish spots can be many, which include insect bites, Dry skin, heat rash, etc.

Red patches on the skin that are not itchy are rashes known as Pityriasis rosea. They disappear fast and are similar to Petechiae, which are flat red spots on the skin but not itchy.


Itchy, dry, and reddish spots prevention can reduce the intensity by:

  • Use soaps that are not scented or mild 
  • Taking cold showers and not hot ones
  • Affected areas need to stay dry 
  • Wearing breathable fabrics
  • Avoid touching the rash


Itchy, dry, and reddish treatment involves the use of moisturizers that contain:

  • Urea 
  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Retinoid 

Apart from this, therapy can be done using lasers.

For itchy, dry, and reddish spots, home remedies include the following:

  • Applying Aloe vera 
  • Massage with coconut oil
  • Using Tea tree oil 
  • Sprinkling baking soda
  • Using Apple cider vinegar

18. UV Damage

Winter sunlight is always welcome. However, the rays of such sunlight at high altitudes, including reflective surfaces, can cause UV damage in winter. Several problems occur due to winter UV damage.

Winter UV damage symptoms include the following:

  • Wrinkles
  • Changes to pigmentation of the skin 
  • Liver spots 
  • Freckles
  • Gradual loss of skin elasticity

UV damage causes are not limited to the skin but elsewhere too. Such UV damage includes:

A. UV damage to eyes that includes damage to the 

  • Cornea 
  • Cataract
  • And degeneration of the macula

B. UV damage to hair includes damage to the 

  • Loss or reduction of hair protein
  • Loss of keratin


UV damage in the winter is challenging. However, here are six UV damage prevention tips that could prove helpful. 

  • Try to stay as much as possible in the shade.
  • Be fully clothed 
  • Choose a hat with a wide-brim 
  • Choose to wear sunglasses that wrap around your eyes fully 
  • Use a quality sunscreen
  • Prevent indoor tanning


UV damage treatment, compared to seasonal UV damage, is challenging, and such therapies include:

  • Using retinoid
  • Undergo the chemical peel procedure
  • Resurface the skin through laser-like dermabrasion
  • Lightening agents 

A person can rectify UV damage in Ayurveda by using turmeric, lemon mixes, etc. Read about hyperpigmentation each type, causes, and treatment—everything you need to know.


From the above passage, it is clear that there are multiple skin issues in winter. There are drastic skin changes in winter that cause pain and embarrassment. Scratching the itchy spots on your skin in public is one of them. Although there is no ready-made cure for most of them, the preventive measures and the treatment should aid you as a reader. Ayurveda also has solutions, as you will see. Seasonal problems are difficult to avoid, but the winter season is your skin’s worst enemy. Unless you adopt the advice rendered here, winter and cool weather become less enjoyable.


  • Bergbrant IM, Faergemann J. The role of Pityrosporum ovale in seborrheic dermatitis. Semin Dermatol. 1990;9:262–268. (Link)
  • Hancox JG, Sheridan SC, Feldman SR, Fleischer Jr AB. Seasonal variation of dermatologic disease in the USA: A study of office visits from 1990 to 1998. Int J Dermatol. 2004;43:6–11. (Link)
  • Dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin. (n.d.). (Link)
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Dr. Sandeep Bhasin

Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon and the owner of Care Well Medical Centre in Delhi. With extensive expertise in cosmetic and plastic surgery, he is dedicated to providing exceptional care and transformative results to his patients. Dr. Sandeep Bhasin obtained his MBBS and MS in General Surgery from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and served as a consultant at Bhaktshreshtha Kamalakarpant Laxman Walawalkar Hospital, Diagnostic & Research Centre. Specializing in various procedures such as face-lifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast augmentation, hair transplant and many others, Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is committed to enhancing his patients' natural beauty and self-confidence.

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