Skip to content

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Soothe Dry Skin When You Have a Cold

Protect From the Outdoors

When you have a cold, you should stay home while you're getting better. But if you have to go out, protect your skin.

The sun, wind, and cold all can be enemies when your skin is dry and sore. Though the sun's rays can be less intense in cold weather, they can still burn and damage your skin -- leading to even more peeling, flaking, and itchiness. That's why it's important to wear sunscreen all year long. Choose a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen of SPF 30.

Wearing a scarf, hat, and gloves can protect from the sun. They can also help save you from the drying effects of cold weather and wind.

Hydrate Your House and Body

Dry indoor air can irritate your skin and your sinuses, so keep indoor air moist. Install a whole-house humidifier on your furnace or use a room humidifier or two. Keep humidity set between 30% and 50%. If you use a room humidifier, clean it often so mold or mildew don't build up.

Keep your skin hydrated from the inside out by getting enough healthy fats and vitamins. Fatty acids like omega-3s help make up your skin's natural, moisture-retaining oil barrier. Too few of these healthy fats can result in dry, itchy skin. You can get omega-3s from seafood (especially salmon and tuna), as well as flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Foods rich in vitamins also help keep your skin moist and healthy. Eat plenty of poultry, fish, whole grains, and beans.

1 | 2
Reviewed on October 22, 2013

Today on WebMD

hot toddy
15 tips to help you feel better.
man sneezing into elbow
Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
teen girl coughing
Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
elder berry
Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
cold weather
Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
Boy holding ear

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

woman receiving vaccine shot
woman with fever
Waking up from sleep
woman with sore throat