« Living Earth School of Herbalism - Herbal Field Studies | Main | The Living Earth School of Herbalism Online is live! »

Dry, Itchy Skin in the Winter

Winter is rough on the skin. Indoor heating, wind chill and low humidity all rob your skin of vital moisture leaving it itchy and irritated. Below are some simple steps to keep itchy skin at bay.  

Water: The skin holds several litres of water within its dermal layer that keeps it plumped up and healthy. Be sure to drink enough water each day to keep you well hydrated - the amount you need depends on your activity levels and body size. Our bodies need pure water to function and nothing can be substituted for it. Juice, tea, pop, even herbal teas are not water. Only water is water. Start each morning with a full glass of water. If you have difficulty drinking straight water, the best thing to do is reprogram your experience of it. As you drink your water, be grateful for the gift of life it is giving you. If drinking down a whole big bottle of water is intimidating, keep a glass of water near you throughout the day and refill it when it is empty. This gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps you keep track of how much water you’ve had. Add a slice of lemon to your water to spruce it up if you need to. Build up your water intake slowly. Be gentle with yourself and do your best.

Nutrition: Be sure to include raw, organic oils in your diet everyday which will help keep your skin moisturized from the inside out.

Indoor Humidity: In the warmer months, indoor humidity is around 35%. Anything under 30% relative humidity will cause loss of moisture from the skin. In the winter, indoor humidity is reduced to 5-10% - this is the same humidity as a desert! A humidifier is a necessity in the winter. Check out the differences between a hot and cool mist humidifier and chose what is best for you. Be sure to regularly change the water in your humidifier and give it a good cleaning often to prevent bacteria and mold from forming.

Bathing: Bathing in hot water will dry the skin by stripping it of its natural oils. The chlorine and other chemicals in the water are hard on your skin as well (and toxic to your body) so get yourself a shower filter. There are also filters that fit over your tub faucet. Take quick showers or baths and use lukewarm water if you can bear it. On those days when you need a good soak, add 1-2 tbsp of an organic, cold-pressed oil such as flax, hemp, coconut or olive oil to your bath after you get into the tub. Adding 1 cup of organic raw apple cider vinegar also helps relieve dry, itchy skin. Soap strips away your natural oils and defenses. Only use soap on your armpits, anus and feet. The skin is like a self-cleaning oven and doesn’t require harsh cleansers. If you feel you need to use something on your skin, use oatmeal. Wrap a handful of rolled oats in a washcloth and tie closed with a rubber band. Wet the cloth well and knead it until the milkiness of the oats comes out. Use this to rub all over your skin for an amazing anti-itch, exfoliating and cleansing skin treatment. After bathing, massage a small amount of the organic, cold-pressed oil of your choice into your damp skin. Try not to bathe every day, but instead use a face cloth on armpits and groin in between the days you bathe.

Moisturizing: Be sure to use an all natural moisturizer to keep your skin protected from environmental dehydration. The moisturizer you use should be food for your skin, not a blend of foreign chemicals. Any of the cold-pressed food oils can work to seal moisture in your skin. Moisture is water, so be sure to always apply your moisturizer on damp skin.

Dry Skin Brushing: Dry skin brushing before your shower or bath will keep your skin exfoliated and healthy. This simple technique helps with your skin’s elimination process by stimulating the blood and lymphatic systems and removing dead skin cells. Purchase a brush made from natural bristles that are of a medium firmness. The brush should have a removable long handle for reaching your back.


  • Brush your skin before showering, while the skin is dry.
  • Use a medium firm stroke, always towards the heart, to brush your entire body. Start at the feet and go over each body section front and back 2-3 times (strokes).  
  • The order that you do the strokes are: the soles of your feet (stroke toes to heels), top of the feet to knees, knees to hips, abdomen (use a circular, counter-clockwise stroke here), breast (brush gently over the breasts - finish with strokes towards your armpits), buttocks, lower back, upper back, hands to elbows, elbows to shoulders, neck from chin to chest (use very gentle strokes here).
  • It should only take about 2 -3 minutes to dry brush your entire body .

Wind Chill: Be sure to bundle up well and protect your face when going outside to prevent the drying, chafing effects of wind chill.

Sun Protection: Even though it can be quite cold outside, the normal precautions for excessive sun exposure apply on a sunny winter’s day.

With these few simple changes/additions to your skincare regime you can ensure that your skin in winter will be as soft, supple and itch-free as it is in the warmer months!


References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: detox diet
    Dreaming Willow Natural Therapies - Blog - Dry, Itchy Skin in the Winter
  • Response
    Internet marketing pleased for that blog article. Much cheers once again. Desire more.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>