Skin Conditions That Pop Up in Winter—And How to Fix Them

Skin Conditions That Pop Up in Winter

In this post, I’ll be looking at 3 skin conditions that like to appear in the winter months and give some tips on how to manage each of them.

Dry Skin

Believe it or not, but the air itself tends to be drier in the spring and summer. While outdoor humidity levels are typically higher in the winter, heating the house can lead to drier air indoors. This often leads to skin being drier, more sensitive, and itchy, especially on the hands and face, and may cause chapped lips.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to both prevent and treat dry skin.

For milder cases, keeping a good moisturiser to hand may be all you need. For more severe cases, this might involve strategically placing lotions and creams at points in your home or office where you are likely to see and use them more often (e.g., by your work station, by the side of your bed, or the coffee table next to where you like to sit and unwind in the evening). You may also want to change the type of moisturiser that you are using. Fragrances can be irritating to dry skin so it may be best to opt for fragrance-free formulations if you find certain moisturisers having the opposite of the desired effect.

Lotions tend to be lighter and easier to rub in, but potentially less effective in terms of treating dryness. Having a light, soothing lotion to hand for frequent use during the day can help you keep on top of dryness easily without having the type of slippery hands from using a greasy cream that can make your day more difficult. Then, swapping to a thicker, more intensive cream last thing at night means you can put that cream to work at a time when it won’t bother you. For an extra intensive treatment, pop some light cotton gloves on after applying cream generously.

At the same time as adding moisture to our skin, it can also be helpful to avoid things that we know dry the skin out. If you do the washing up regularly, pick up some rubber gloves to protect your hands from harsh dish soap. If things are bad enough, you may need to pack in soap altogether (even mild ones can irritate the surface layer of skin on your hands) and use a substitute like Dermol 500 lotion for a while. If you have any older lotions that you aren’t keen on, you can use them instead of soap also. Just wet your hands, add some lotion like you would do soap, rub all over (ideally for 2 renditions of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song) then rinse well and pat dry. Old lotion gets used up and your skin gets clean without being dried out.

If you are still struggling with dry skin despite trying these tips, it might be helpful to consider doing tests to rule out any medical conditions that could be contributing (e.g., issues with the thyroid gland), and/or getting some stronger creams on prescription. Book an appointment with one of our GPs here at CheckUp Health and they would be more than happy to talk through any concerns with you.



This is when toes or fingers that have been subject to colder temperatures then develop red spots after warming up, which can be quite itchy and uncomfortable. Confusingly, many people who have had Covid-19 have also ended up with very similar-looking spots, so this is always worth bearing in mind as another potential cause of this type of skin reaction.

Chilblains generally can be prevented by protecting your fingers and toes from getting too cold; if you know you will be outside for a while, pop on some thick wooly socks and warm, waterproof gloves, and make sure you are wearing enough layers in general.

If you are bothered by symptoms of Chilblains, there are creams that can be helpful. Speak to your chemist or book an appointment with one of our GPs to find out more. You can also read more about them here1.

Raynaud’s Disease

For those who aren’t already familiar with Raynaud’s, this is a painful condition where the colour of the fingers (and toes, and sometimes other parts of the body) alters dramatically in response to changes in temperature. A typical case of Raynaud’s in a person with white skin would involve the ends of the fingers going white first in response to cold. The white colour is eventually replaced by a blue colour, then, in response to warming up, turning red.

For people with darker skin, Raynaud’s may occur just as often2, but it may be less obvious as the colour changes may not appear quite as dramatic. However, there can still be a similar pattern of loss of colour/relative paleness seen first, followed by a more blue change then a dark red. Or, the changes may be more subtle and just involve darkening, alongside other symptoms like pain or pins and needles3.


Raynaud’s tends to be associated with pain and sensitivity in the areas affected. There may also be swelling, tingling and altered sensation. Usually it improves when the hands warm up and stay warm for a while.

It can be prevented by keeping the extremities warm and dry when being in a cold environment. It’s important also to make sure the rest of the body is protected from the cold as this can also have a knock-on effect on fingers and toes.

Raynaud’s can also be associated with an increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease so if you think you might suffer from this, it is worth speaking to your NHS GP, or one of the GPs at CheckUp Health to discuss what other risks you might have that can be minimised.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about something mentioned in this article, or wider health concerns in general, don’t hesitate to reach out and speak to us.

Download the CheckUp Health app now and book a video or audio call with a private GP, daytime or evening, 7 days/week. Take control of your health.


  2. Gelber AC, Wigley FM, Stallings RY, Bone LR, Barker AV, Baylor I, Harris CW, Hill MN, Zeger SL, Levine DM. Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon in an inner-city African-American community: prevalence and self-reported cardiovascular comorbidity. J Clin Epidemiol. 1999 May;52(5):441-6. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(99)00015-3. PMID: 10360339.
  3. Agbor VN, Njim T, Aminde LN. Difficulties in diagnosis and treatment of severe secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon in a Cameroonian woman: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2016 Dec 20;10(1):356. doi: 10.1186/s13256-016-1142-x. PMID: 27998297; PMCID: PMC5175299.

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