How to Treat Winter Itch
If you suffer from winter itch, autumn is the ideal time to start preparing your skin for Old Man Winter to arrive. Winter itch is a disorder with many names, including winter eczema, asteototic eczema and eczema craquele. It is more common in patients with a history of atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) and in the elderly, but it can also occur in anyone whose skin has been exposed to cool, dry air. Winter itch commonly occurs on the legs, but it can crop up anywhere on the body.
Low humidity, cold temperatures, and central heating during the winter cause your skin to lose moisture. If your skin is exposed to decreased levels of humidity for several days, it can become severely dry, flaky and inflamed.
There are some simple ways to prevent or minimize the symptoms associated with winter itch:
- Use a gentle cleanser in the bath or shower. This is much gentler on the skin than regular soaps.
- Moisturize your skin at least once a day. It is important to know that not all lotions and moisturizers are equal. Use a thick, bland moisturizer and avoid lotions with fragrances. Products with ceramides can be especially good for eczema and winter itch. The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower. Pat your skin dry so that it is still a little wet, then apply a moisturizer. This will “trap” the moisture into your skin.
- Avoid fragrance, fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
- Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
- Use a humidifier.
Hopefully, with these simple measures, you will have an itch-free winter. If you do still get the winter itch, you may need to see your doctor for a prescription-strength steroid cream.
Safe in the Sun
“Wear a beach cover-up when headed for an all-day outing in the sun. I actually love the sun shirts that have SPF woven into the fabric.” – Dr. Vishakha Gigler
“The basic difference between a cream and a lotion is that cream is thicker. This allows for better emollition and hydration.” – Dr. Vishakha Gigler