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Winter Skincare – Tips to Ditch Those Itches

Written by Courteney

Posted on February 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm

 

Dry Winter Skin

According to the American Skin Association, xerosis (excessively dry skin) is a very common condition that afflicts people of all ages. Dry winter air is notorious for causing xerosis, as well as exacerbating pre-existing skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff. All of these skin conditions can cause discomfort and intense itchiness.

Tips for Keeping Control

There are various measures you can take to relieve your irritated epidermis. Taking showers or baths with cooler water (or more brief hot ones) can help, as hot water sucks the moisture from your skin. You can apply light, non-alcohol moisturizers several times daily, and try to avoid harsh chemical irritants such as cleaners or scented soaps. When outside, don’t forget to protect your skin from the winter elements with warm scarves, mittens and hats. For psoriasis, try an oatmeal bath. You can also add a humidifier to your home to help replenish moisture during the dry winter months.

Natural Moisture Locking Remedies

There are a number of natural remedies for parched winter skin:

  • An olive, lemon and salt scrub – mix a whole lemon’s juice with 1 tbsp olive oil and 5 tbsp sea salt for a beautifully moisturizing facial (or body) scrub
  • Honey softens and moisturizes problem skin
  • Coconut oil is a gentle way to replace moisture in your dry, cracked hands
  • Aloe vera has amazing healing powers and can help replenish and rejuvenate your tired winter skin. You can buy your own aloe plant, and remove a tentacle to squeeze onto your skin

What’s Your Winter Culprit?

Dry skin can be just that, or it can be an indication of another dermatological issue. According to WebMD, some skin conditions that similarly present as dry, red, itchy skin are:

Psoriasis: an autoimmune condition which creates skin ‘plaques’ by overproducing skin cells. Psoriasis can range from mild, causing dry, cracked, red and itchy skin, to a severe systemic form which can be debilitating.

Eczema: A skin condition characterized by inflamed, red, cracked, blistered and itchy skin, often much worse in dry air (especially harsh winter air).

Dandruff: Causes your scalp to produce extra skin cells which become inflamed and flake off, sometimes causing immense itchiness. In severe cases, prescription shampoo may be necessary.

Rosacea: A condition causing small blood vessels across the cheeks and bridge of the nose to be inflamed, creating an uncomfortable, raised rash that can resemble acne. Rosacea can be a symptom of a larger autoimmune condition such as scleroderma or lupus.

When to Consult a Doctor or Specialist

If you’ve tried home remedies and over-the-counter creams to no avail, it is time to seek medical attention. It is important to consult a dermatologist if your symptoms are particularly severe, because a specialist is trained to distinguish which skin condition you may be suffering from and provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Some of these conditions, such as psoriasis, can become very troublesome if unchecked. Be sure to make an appointment with your doctor, or see one of our certified DocChat physicians today.

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