Why is the skin more dry and cracked in winter?

Author: Katjuša Reja Mozetič 

During this cold winter season, many more people are turning to me for advice and recommendations on how to care for dry and cracked skin. Since the problem with dry skin is especially relevant in these cold days, I hastened to write and maybe I will help someone else solve these unpleasant skin problems in winter.

Razpokana koža pozimi I Nona Luisa

Why is the skin more dry and cracked in winter?

Regardless of whether we heat with wood, oil, electricity... our skin in winter is dry, blotchy, it can even crack to the point of peeling. The problem is not so much in low temperatures as in that at lower temperatures there is less moisture in the air. The higher the temperature, the greater the proportion of air humidity. Yes, this is exactly why a cold mug of beer gets foggy in the warm summer months. The winter wind and large temperature differences between the air in the heated rooms and the outside air contribute to the deterioration of the situation.

A very thin layer of skin cells protects our body from drying out stratum corneum, which consists of a layer of dead cells corneocyte. These are connected in an impermeable layer by a lipid envelope and protein bridges. Very dry air destroys this structure and the skin begins to peel, crack and turn red.

Struktura kože - lipidni ovoj in proteinski mostički I Nona Luisa

For healthy and moisturized skin, we must first take care of the proper protection and care of the lipid-protein layer of protective cells stratum corneum

1 On cold days, hydrate as much as possible from the inside and not from the outside

Hidracija s čajem I Nona Luisa

In low temperatures, it is good to use as little water as possible on the skin. We take care of as much skin hydration as possible from the inside. We drink tea, water, natural juices, eat a lot of oranges, tangerines,...

As an interesting fact, I should say that the ancient Inuit avoided washing on the coldest days, because they were afraid of washing away the protective layer of oils that protected them from the cold.

Of course, it is difficult for a modern person to afford this today, and besides, we do not live in such extreme conditions. If we want to avoid dry skin, of course (no matter how weird it is) do not overdo washing. Above all, I mean long showers with excessively hot water.

Hidracijske kreme niso primerne za nego kože pozimi I Nona Luisa

Moisturizing creams are not suitable for skin care in the cold winter months, as they do not protect it from drying out.

Water on the skin destroys the protective layer of the skin. similar, an even worse effect like pure water have t. i. moisturizing creams, which contain a large proportion of water (80% usually). That feeling of hydration and moisturization is very short-lived, as the water in moisturizing creams destroys the skin's natural protective layer, because it washes away the lipid protective layer. In addition, they contain such creams strong emulsifiers that have surfactant properties. These are compounds that bind oil and water together.

And do you know why surfactants are still used in laboratory research? As protein denaturators (those that break down the structure of proteins). So they also destroy protein bridges, which hold together the structure of the skin's protective cells v stratum corneum.

We all know what happens to water at minus degrees - it freezes. We can also imagine what happens to this 80% water at –10˚C. In to already our skin and inside her?!

2 Wash and clean the skin with the mildest possible cleansers

Hot water and aggressive detergents extract lipids and proteins from the protective layer, therefore, such skin becomes dry, cracked. It may start to peel and itch. Especially on cold days  avoid using liquid soaps containing SLS, SLES and similar sulfate surfactants. This especially applies to areas that cannot be protected from the cold by clothing (face and hands).

Naravna mila iz oljčnega olja I Nona Luisa

Instead, use gentle detergents such as natural soaps, which do not dry out the skin and also protect it, as they contain natural glycerin. Glycerin belongs to the so-called in cosmetics humming These are compounds that bind moisture and keep the skin moisturized.

3 Give your hand to your hands

Učinkovita nega rok pozimi I Nona Luisa


The skin on the palms is thinner than on other parts of the body and contains fewer oil glands. Therefore, it dries faster. This is exactly the reason that on the hands first and foremost we feel dry skin in cold and dry winter days. Quite often, the skin on the knuckles cracks and itches. At low temperatures that's why protect your hands with gloves or at least put them in the pockets of your jacket/coat so that they are as little exposed to the cold as possible. And, of course, don't forget to protect your hands with a protective cream based on oils and wax. These offer maximum protection to the skin in winter.

4 Strengthen the skin's lipid protection

We now know that it is the lipid layer of the superficial cells that protects us from drying out. Let's strengthen it!

The best winter skin protection against drying out is care with products based on oils and waxes. Such a cream will not just freeze at minus. In addition, it will also protect the skin from UV rays. Too often we forget about UV protection of the skin especially in winter. Cream based on cold-pressed oils and raw butters offers natural protection against UV rays.

Lipidni sloj povrhnjih celic - sestava I Nona Luisa

The oil with the greatest moisturizing effect is olive oil. If you don't have a suitable sunscreen on hand, just putting it on will do a lot for your skin with pure olive oilThe chemical structure of olive oil is very similar to the protective lipid layer of our skin.

Jojoba oil has a similar composition. Olive oil is also unique in the care of dry skin because miraculous compounds of squalene, which is found in the highest concentration in olive oil. The gossip is a very important humactant in the sebum of our skin, where it is found in a concentration of 12 to 20%. With age, the concentration of squalene in the sebum of the skin decreases. As a result, older skin is more prone to dryness and is less elastic. Therefore, it is not surprising that squalene is also present in some anti-aging skin care products.

Čebelji vosek za zaščito kože pozimi I Nona Luisa

When caring for and protecting your skin in winter, choose products based on coconut oil, grape seed oil, shea and cocoa mass, and beeswax. Beeswax is an indispensable ingredient of effective products for protecting the skin in winter. Together with the waxes in our sebum, it forms an impermeable barrier that cold and wind cannot penetrate. Not to mention all the protective ingredients in the wax that additionally protect the skin from infections, smog and the harmful effects of UV rays.

It is wrong to think that oily creams are not suitable for acne-prone and oily facial skin. On the contrary, the most effective means of care for such skin are oils. Only those ingredients that have a comedogenic effect (to close the pores) should be avoided.

5 Winter kisses should be soft, so don't forget the lips

 Nega ustnic pozimi I Nona Lusia

Lips are just like our hands especially sensitive to unfavorable winter conditions because the skin on them is thinner. It's common knowledge that licking lips makes them plumper dry, cracked and may sting uncomfortably. This is due to the above-described effect of water on the skin's protective layer.

Protect your lips in winter with balms based on oils and natural waxes.

6 Avoid using products based on mineral oils and paraffin

Not only is their use ecologically objectionable, but their composition is also inadequate composition of our skin. That's why mineral components do not strengthen the lipid bilayer of the skin. In addition, their effect on health is very questionable, as we must be aware that more than 50% of the ingredients we put on our skin end up in our body.

And last but not least, it is characteristic of paraffin that naturally reduces the ability of the skin to hydrate itself. And that's exactly the reason, yes long-term use of lip balms based on mineral oils causes withdrawal, because over time the skin is no longer able to moisturize itself. Therefore, it is necessary to apply the balm again and again.

Sources: My curiosity, curiosity and unbridled desire to get to the bottom of everything. Thanks for reading me.


We recommend the following products:

  1. Calendula and lavender ointment, is great for hand care and protection, for face and lip protection, if you rub it on your feet and then put on your socks, you will wake up in the morning with soft and warm feet.
  2. Natural ones lip balms, above all Lavender and marigoldwhich are 100% natural, based on oils, butters and waxes, so they offer perfect protection for the lips in winter. Balms are available in push-up contact (Rožni poljub, Sivka's kiss, Cherry kiss) or in a box (Lavender and marigold, Honey and chocolate).
  3. Natural soapswhich are made on the basis of olive oil and according to the cold process. This means that they are rich in natural glycerin, which is a by-product of saponification. We have a whole range of these, but I would advise in particular: soap Lavender, milo Carrot and marigold, milo Chamomile and mint, and for very sensitive or children's skin Pure.
  4. Piling miles, which are an excellent solution for very dry skin, especially skin that peels, and also for anyone who has problems with poor blood circulation in the limbs. I would recommend soap Lavender scrub, and it is the best for improving circulation Anti-cellulite milo with coffee beans, brown algae and a mixture of essential oils that accelerate circulation.
  1. I did something special to clean my face natural face soap, which I added to it clay, activated carbon, goat's milk, beeswax, butters and oils. This soap thoroughly cleans the face and moisturizes it at the same time, as it contains natural glycerin, which was formed during the months of maturation of the soap.
  2. Natural foam body butter Sivka dotik it is very suitable for moisturizing and protecting the dry skin of the body after showering, as it is rich in natural butters, oils and vitamins.
  3. Kremni piling za telo Detox Sugar Cane, which is suitable for very dry skin. Pling is recommended at least once a month. In addition to essential oils that have a stimulating effect on the soul and body, our scrub contains unprocessed fats that nourish the skin after the scrub is finished.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published