The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

Brrr! Here's how to protect your skin in frigid weather

Brrr! Here's how to protect your skin in frigid weather

Does walking through a winter wonderland cause dry your skin and cause chapped lips? You're not alone.

Exposure to harsh elements like cold winds and low temperatures can cause dryness and irritation. But there are steps you can take to keep your skin healthy during the winter months.

"Just because summer is over, doesn't mean your skin is off the hook," says Dr. Ruth Williams, WellSpan dermatologist. "By practicing good skincare and taking precautions, you can protect your skin to keep it healthy and hydrated all winter long."


Cold temperatures can strip moisture from the skin, leaving it feeling dry and tight, Dr. Williams says. Moisturizing regularly is the key to maintaining hydrated skin throughout the winter season. After showering, apply generous amounts of moisturizer to trap in the existing moisture already in your skin. Look for fragrance-free moisturizers or ones designed for gentle skin if you are prone to irritation.

Adding an extra layer of protection never hurts. Consider using a hydrating serum beneath your daily moisturizer to provide an additional boost of moisture.


Protecting your skin from the wind is just as important as keeping it hydrated. Windburn can occur if the skin is exposed to harsh winds for too long. Remember to protect any exposed areas with scarves, hats, or gloves when going outside in strong winds.

"Sunscreen plays a vital role in protecting our skin from the elements during the winter season. Although the sun may not feel as strong as it does in the summer, harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can still penetrate your skin and cause damage," Dr. Williams says. "UV rays are still present on cloudy days, and the damage they cause can lead to premature aging, sunspots, and an increased risk of skin cancer."

When choosing a sunscreen for the winter months, opt for broad spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

Don't forget your lips! Apply lip balm frequently to prevent chapped lips caused by dry air and heavy winds in the winter months.

Use these tips to keep your skin healthy during the winter season! For more information on our dermatology services, visit