How Different Seasons and Weather Can Affect Your Skin

Each season brings its own weather, and your skin reacts to it. From dry winter cold to burning summer sun, your skin feels it all. Knowing what each season does to your skin can help us take care of it better. Let’s explore these effects and find out tips on how to keep your skin happy all year round.

Understanding the weather-skin connection

The weather and its four seasons can greatly impact your skin. Heat can cause sweating and sunburn, while cold can lead to dryness and chapping. Humidity might trigger oiliness or breakouts, whereas wind can irritate and dry out your skin's protective barrier.1

To counter these challenges, it's essential to adopt a skincare routine tailored to each season.2 If you’re new to skincare routines, check out our guide on Getting Started With a Skincare Routine.

Winter chill: Why does my skin itch in the winter?

Many people ask themselves, “why does my skin itch when the weather changes?” This can be particularly true in the winter as the cold chill often brings along an uncomfortable 'winter itch.' This itch, known scientifically as pruritus hiemalis, is a type of skin inflammation or irritation triggered by cold weather, particularly in regions with low humidity and excessive indoor heating.

But what causes dry skin in winter? Well, during the cold winter, the humidity drop and the weather is cold and our skin can become very dry. Then, when we put the heating on in our homes this removes moisture from the air and further dries out our skin. This compromises the skin barrier and can lead to itchy, dry, red, and scaly skin, sometimes even causing small cracks.1-4

Winter itch can affect anyone, but those with pre-existing dry skin conditions or people over 60 years of age are especially susceptible.1,3

How to stop itchy skin in cold weather

To combat and prevent itchy skin when weather changes, it's important to adapt your skincare routine to the challenges of the season. Prioritize hydration in winter by intensifying your moisturizing routine with products containing ingredients like glycerin, urea, and hyaluronic acid.3 These ingredients work to maintain skin hydration and help to restore a damaged skin barrier.

Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream contains hyaluronic acid and helps protect skin against dryness for 24 hours. Or try Cetaphil Advanced Relief Lotion with glycerin that helps to nourish and soothe your skin, locking in moisture to relieve continuously or persistently dry skin.

Managing winter itch also includes avoiding common triggers like hot showers that can strip your skin of its natural oils. Instead, try shorter, lukewarm baths or showers. You may also want to try soap-free cleansers to cleanse your skin gently and pat your skin dry rather than rub it dry. Once cleansed, immediately apply a moisturizer while it's still damp as this helps to lock in moisture.2,3

Additionally, be cautious of irritants like wool clothing, and contemplate using a humidifier in your bedroom to introduce moisture into the air.2 It’s also important to not overlook the importance of sun protection, even in winter. Consider a moisturizer with a built-in SPF, such as Daily Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer SPF 35.

You can find further valuable tips in our articles Best Skincare Routine for Dry and Dehydrated Sensitive Skin and Your Guide to Itchy Skin Relief.

Spring's embrace: Why is it difficult for your skin to cope with the warmth?

During the hot summer months, your skin can experience both dryness and oiliness, presenting a unique skincare challenge. In summer, the combination of sweating, higher humidity levels, and prolonged sun exposure can lead to an even greater increase in oil production, which may result in oily skin and potential breakouts.4,6

Some people may find that their skin looks better in the summer, but it's very important in the hot weather to protect your skin from overexposure to UV rays, especially against sunburn, which not only damages your skin but decreases skin hydration and causes peeling and irritation.

How to take care of dry and oily skin in summer

Summer skincare, especially for those with dry and oily skin, centers around cleansing and protection. Adopting a balanced skincare routine with proper ingredients and sufficient sun protection is essential to keep your skin healthy-looking during the summer.

To manage sweat and excess oil, it's important to start with a good cleansing routine. Opt for non-comedogenic, lightweight moisturizers like the Cetaphil Deep Hydration and Cetaphil Healthy Radiance ranges to keep your skin balanced and hydrated. Our Deep Hydration series contains hyaluronic acid and HydroSensitiv Complex™ with soothing blue daisy to deepen dynamic hydration. Our Healthy Radiance products are powered by 2% niacinamide and nourishing antioxidants to help with skin radiance.

If you have oily skin, check our our article Best Skincare Routine for Combination to Oily Sensitive Skin.

It’s also important that you know how to moisturize dry skin in summer. Check out our Dry and Dehydrated Skin Care Routine or, for a comprehensive skincare information, refer to our article on the Best Skincare Routine for Combination to Oily Sensitive Skin.

Don’t forget sun protection and incorporate SPF into your routine with Cetaphil sunscreens. Be mindful of triggers like excessive sweating, tight-fitting clothes, prolonged sun exposure, and exposure to chlorine or saltwater, as these can worsen skin issues.6

Autumn's whisper: Why can temperature transition affect your skin?

The transition from hot to cold temperatures in autumn, both in weather variations and moving between indoor and outdoor environments, can stress your skin. As the temperature drops and humidity rises due to rain, it creates an environment favorable for allergens.1 This can trigger skin rashes and itching, particularly when your skin is exposed to these allergens. It's essential that you take steps to protect and nourish your skin during this seasonal shift.

How to take care of your skin in autumn

Autumn skincare is all about nourishing and repairing your skin’s moisture barrier. As the humidity drops with the change in season, it's essential to combat dryness by incorporating moisturizers rich in hydrating ingredients. Consider switching from a lotion to a thicker product such as Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, which contains niacinamide, panthenol, and hydrating glycerin to help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Additionally, address sun damage incurred over the summer by using skin serums like Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Antioxidant-C Serum. Be cautious when moving between cold and warm environments, as the change of temperature and humidity can lead to dryness and increased skin sensitivity. Similarly to room heaters, tight-fitting clothes can also contribute to dryness and sensitivity.1-4

The bottom line

Understanding the relationship between the seasons and your skin is important for maintaining its health and comfort. Each season presents its unique challenges and opportunities for skincare - from combating winter dryness to addressing spring triggers, balancing summer oiliness, and protecting against autumn's transitions. By selecting the right products, being mindful of environmental factors and doing necessary adaptations, you can keep your skin healthy-looking throughout the year.


  1. Balato N, Megna M, Ayala F, Patruno C. Effects of climate changes on skin diseases. ResearchGate. Published January 3, 2014. Accessed October 18, 2023.
  2. American Academy of Dermatologist Association. Cold weather and your skin. Available at: Accessed October 18, 2023
  3. USF Health - Winter Itch Is The Curse Of The Changing Season. Available at: Accessed October 10, 2023
  4. ‌Camilion JV, Khanna S, Sheela Anasseri, Laney C, Mayrovitz HN. Physiological, Pathological, and Circadian Factors Impacting Skin Hydration. Cureus. Published online August 4, 2022. doi:
  5. Hui J, Goleva E, Donald Y.M. Leung, Byung Eui Kim. The impact of temperature on the skin barrier and atopic dermatitis. Annals of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. 2023. doi:
  6. American Academy of Dermatologist Association. 12 Summer skin problems you can prevent. Available at: