Winter can wear us down in a number of ways. The short days and freezing temperatures might not only affect our mood but our skin as well. Dry skin is a common ailment during these colder months, and some people experience more severe symptoms than others, especially if they’re prone to eczema and/or psoriasis outbreaks. Whether you tend to suffer from chapped lips, general skin dryness, the dreaded winter itch, etc., here are some of the best ways to handle the arid winter air and its harmful effects.
As winter approaches and the air gets drier, it’s a good idea to stock up on suitable skincare products, such as moisturizers, lotions, and soaps that don’t irritate your skin. After all, you’ll want to address an issue as soon as it arises. If you’re not properly prepared, you may end up exposing your already irritated skin to further harm as you pick up the products you need.
Taking long, hot baths and showers can lead to eczema flare ups, trigger other inflammatory skin conditions, and further dry out your skin overall. These steamy reprieves can be extra enticing during the cold season, but they’re not worth it if they exacerbate your skin problems. So, do your best to shorten your showers and baths, turn down the temperature, use gentle soap on your skin, and pat yourself dry when you’re done -- rubbing your skin can cause irritation.
Keeping your home warm is a top priority during the winter. Unfortunately, this heat tends to dry out the inside air. If you want to diminish skin dryness and dermatitis during the winter, install humidifiers in your home, especially areas in which you spend lots of time, such as your bedroom and living space.
Even during winter’s gloomiest days, the sun’s rays can still harm your skin and dry it out. As such, it’s important to wear sunscreen (30+ SPF) year-round, especially when you plan on going outside. Of course, most people primarily stay indoors during the winter to stay warm -- while staying inside protects your skin from the sun, it also prevents your skin from receiving the sun’s benefits, namely vitamin D, which aids in skin repair and protection. As such, taking vitamin D supplements during the winter might be good for your skin.
It’s common to layer up during the winter. While doing so keeps us warm, it can also have negative effects on our skin, especially if the clothing is irritating and/or tight-fitting. The friction and heat from wearing such clothes for an extended period of time can create or exacerbate a dry skin rash. Whenever possible, change into clothes and do your best to avoid overheating.
Most instances of dry winter skin are minor and go away on their own, especially if you follow the above advice. However, certain symptoms and conditions are more severe and tend to linger, such as winter eczema (also known as the winter itch). In cases such as these, you might be able to find relief by taking certain treatments. Your dermatologist might recommend and/or prescribe topical corticosteroids, capsaicin cream, or system agents such as antihistamine and systemic corticosteroids to relieve your symptoms.
Even if you love winter, your skin might not feel the same way. Don’t let your skin succumb to the worst that winter has to offer. Let the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners help you handle winter skin dryness and dermatitis. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.