Chapped lips and red, windburned cheeks are commonplace in the winter, especially for people who spend time outside participating in sports like skiing. When the body is exposed to cold air, it attempts to conserve heat by constricting blood vessels, which drains your skin of moisture, allowing the surface to dry out quickly. The subsequent dry skin can be painful if itching or chafing occurs along with it.
Humidity below 30 percent also contributes to dry skin, especially lips and hands, and especially for people over 50. (As you age, your body's natural to produce sebum, a natural oil, decreases.) [Source: Perry] Because dry skin is less supple and elastic, it's more vulnerable to irritation and infection, as well. Chronic conditions like dermatitis, eczema and rosacea are also more likely to flare up during cold, dry months.
Dry air can also change the appearance of skin. "It tends to make skin look more dull and flaky, and can make fine lines much more prominent," says Benabio. "Applying a high-quality moisturizer to your face when it's cold and dry outside can literally make you look younger and help erase some of those lines."