Winter Rash: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Prevention, & Treatment

Itchy skin on arm, scratching

Seasonal changes, particularly the transition into colder months, can pose challenges to skin health. Winter rash, a common skin condition that occurs during winter months, is one such change. Let’s talk about this condition, and understand its causes, prevention methods, and treatment strategies so we can better safeguard our skin.

Understanding Winter Rash

Itchy rash on hand, scratching, gray background

A winter rash is a skin condition that manifests itself as an area of irritated, itchy, bumpy, sensitive, blistered, and swollen skin during winter months. It most commonly appears on the hands, arms, and legs that are frequently exposed to the cold, dry air. Dry skin characterizes winter rash, often causing itchy, flaky, or even cracked skin.

What causes this skin condition?

Man walking in the snow with a dog

Several factors contribute to the development of a winter rash. Here are the main culprits:

  • Low humidity. Winter air is often lower in moisture than warm air. This dryness can rob the skin off its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.
  • Indoor heating. While central indoor heating systems keep us warm, they can also cause a decrease in indoor air moisture and dry out skin.
  • Hot showers or baths. These can offer comfort during winter, but they can unfortunately strip away vital skin oils, leading to dryness.
  • Existing skin conditions. People with pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, are more prone to winter rashes.
  • Skin sensitivity. If you have sensitive skin, you may find that it is very reactive to external factors like cold weather.
  • Infection. Certain skin infections can exacerbate the situation causing winter rash to appear.
  • Stress. Psychological stress can weaken the immune system and cause a flare-up

Preventing Winter Rash

Humidifier on wooden floor beside an indoor plant

Preventive steps are crucial in minimizing the occurrence and severity of winter rash. Let’s talk about some strategies:

  • Moisturize frequently. Regular application of moisturizer can help replenish the skin’s moisture and form a protective battier against the harsh elements.
  • Humidifiers. Using a humidifier at home can reintroduce moisture into dry indoor air, helping maintain skin hydration.
  • Limit hot showers. Although tempting, try to limit hot showers to avoid stripping away the skin’s oils. Opt for lukewarm water instead.
  • Wear proper clothing. Wear suitable, preferably layered, clothing that can protect the skin from extreme cold and wind.

See related: What are the different types of skin rashes?

Treating the Rash

Man applying a moisturizer on the back of his hand

If you’re already experiencing a winter rash, there are several over-the-counter remedies can provide relief.

  • Intensive moisturizers. Moisturizers specially designed for extremely dry or rough skin can aid in alleviating rash symptoms.
  • Natural oils. Oils from natural resources, like avocado oil and coconut oil, may help with moisturizing and soothing the affected skin.
  • Hydrocortisone cream. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can tame itching and redness associated with winter rash.

In case your symptoms persist or worsen, it’s crucial to consult with a dermatologist for professional advice and potential prescribed treatments.

Natural oil products

Jojoba oil in a small bottle, dropper, jojoba seeds, wooden surface

Some options for those looking to incorporate natural oils into their skin care routine include jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and sunflower seed oil.

  • Jojoba oil. The composition of this oil is similar to the skin’s natural oil, sebum, which allows it to deeply hydrate the skin without causing irritation or clogging pores. You can reap the benefits of jojoba oil by using CANhaveTODAY’s Soothing Juggernaut, Healing Legends, or Waters Mist on your rash.
  • Grapeseed oil. Rich in antioxidants, grapeseed oil can help soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation. Try Sparkling Rain, a 100% natural moisturizer by CANhaveTODAY, which contains grapeseed oil along with its beneficial properties.
  • Avocado oil. Avocado oil, rich in vitamins A, D, and E, along with omega-3 fatty acids, can help hydrate and protect the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help soothe winter rash. Enjoy the advantages of avocado oil from CANhaveTODAY’s Sparkling Rain moisturizer, which boasts this oil as one of its ingredients.
  • Shea butter. Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the Shea tree. It is enriched with antioxidants and can help combat skin issues like inflammation. Well-known for providing skin with essential nutrients and fatty acids, it can help maintain the skin barrier. It also has a buttery consistency that can moisturize and is excellent for dry skin. Tap into the benefits of shea butter with CANhaveTODAY’s Sparkling Rain moisturizer!
  • Sunflower seed oil. This oil is an excellent source of vitamin E and offers antioxidant protection. It can help fight inflammation, thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be helpful for dry, itchy skin and help maintain skin moisture. Harvest the benefits of sunflower seed oil with CANhaveTODAY’s skin care products: the Sparkling Rain moisturizer and the salves Healing Legends, Soothing Juggernaut, and Waters Mist.

A proactive approach to skin care coupled with an understanding of winter rash can ensure skin health throughout the winter season. Regardless of how extreme the winter might become, these strategies will help keep our skin healthy, well-hydrated, and problem-free. Also, try incorporating CANhaveTODAY’s Sparkling Rain, Soothing Juggernaut, Healing Legends, and Waters Mist to your skin care routine even if it’s not winter! These products have properties that come from their natural ingredients, which may be highly beneficial for your skin. A quick note: These products contain Sodium borate. The government of Canada does not recommend the use of products containing Sodium borate on open wounds, cuts, or abrasions.


What is a winter rash?

Winter rash refers to skin that becomes dry, inflamed, and itchy during the colder months. It usually affects parts of the body that are most exposed to cold, dry air. such as the hands, arms, and legs.

What causes winter rash?

Factors such as low humidity, indoor heating, hot showers or baths, existing skin conditions, skin sensitivity, infections, and psychological stress can contribute to a winter rash.

How can I prevent winter rash?

You can prevent winter rash by moisturizing your skin frequently, using a humidifier to increase indoor air moisture, limiting hot showers, and wearing appropriate winter clothing.

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