Why does skin get dry in winter?

February 26, 2018

Why does skin get dry in winter?

Derrick Szuszkiel

We know all too well how dry and itchy skin can get in the winter, but do you know why? Every time you lather slabs of lotion onto your arms and legs during those cold dry days, you’re probably wondering, “why does skin get dry in the winter anyway?”

Water in the body

It is common knowledge that humans are mostly made of water, but if we want to be exact, the average adult human is made of 50-65% water. The range is based on a number of factors including age, gender, and physical fitness. These factors are based on fatty tissue which has less water than lean tissue, so people with more lean tissue generally have a higher water percentage.

Each organ in the body has its own water content. Focusing on the skin, it is the largest organ of the body and its water content is about 65%. Since the skin has such a large surface area it’s profoundly impacted by the climate we live in.

Water and winter air

The science behind water evaporation and its relationship to temperature can be easily explained with rudimentary physics and chemistry.

Picture a pot of water on a stove. As the temperature rises the water molecules begin to move faster which causes them to break their bonds and fly up into the air as a gas which is called evaporation.

If you put that pot of water in the freezer the molecules will begin to move slower causing evaporation to slow to almost a standstill, freezing the water into a solid.

The common misconception about winter air is that it holds less water than warm air does. This is not the case, rather it gets so cold in the winter water begins to freeze which means less evaporation.

When less water evaporation occurs it causes the humidity (a measurement of water in the air) to drop, creating that dry winter air that damages your skin.

So, why does skin get dry in winter?

Recall that 65% of the human skin is made up of water and in the winter the air outside is dryer than usual. The cold, dry air will draw moisture out of unprotected skin making the skin dry. This phenomenon is called transepidermal water loss. Since your skin has so much surface area, a lot of moisture can be lost.

The cause of this water loss is a natural process called osmosis which is the transfer of molecules (in this case water) from an area of high concentration to low concentration. The air has less water concentration than your skin does so the water molecules will flow out of your skin and into the atmosphere.

Skin dryness is also the result of the extreme nature of winter weather. Not only is our skin drying out from the cold air outside, but the ways that we use keep warm like the heat from car heaters and furnaces are also drying out our skin.

Showering is also a reason why we have dry skin, especially in the winter. Nothing warms the body quite like a shower, and because society demands cleanliness people are spending more time in the shower than necessary.

We do need to bathe on occasion, but the frequency is usually too high especially in winter. Scouring the body with hot water and abrasive soaps actually strip the skin of its stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum was originally thought to be inert dead skin that had no real use. Research shows that this topmost layer of skin is actually responsible for maintaining a barrier to the outside world.

Most importantly, it makes sure that excess water does not leave the body.

There are other factors that cause the skin to lose water in winter. Your age is one such factor because the older we get, the less likely our skin is capable of holding moisture.

Surprisingly, skin pigmentation also seems to have an effect on water loss. Studies have suggested that darker skin experiences more transepidermal water loss on average than lighter skin.

What can effectively help with dry skin?

Although there are many ways you can treat your dry skin in the winter, there is one product that stands above the rest: DeepMarine collagen.

Proven safe and highly effective, DeepMarine collagen is made from fish scales and has the smallest molecule size available in a supplement today. The smaller the collagen molecule, the more readily the body can absorb and use it.DM collagen is a tiny peptide or string of specific amino acids in specific sequences. These peptides increase your body’s ability to produce collagen for your skin, and that very significantly increases skin hydration and skin health.

If you’re suffering from dry skin this winter, give DeepMarine a try.