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Are you suffering from dry, itchy, flaky skin this winter?

Cold weather can cause something called “winter itch” which causes skin to become dry, red, and scaly. In some circumstances small cracks in the skin and bleeding can also occur. In this blog, you will discover the causes of skin damage in colder months and effective preventive measures to keep your skin healthy.

Can cold weather cause itchy skin?

If you’re suffering from flaky, itchy or dry skin this winter, you’re not alone. Cold weather – combined with the effects of central heating – can wreak havoc on our skin, particularly exposed areas such as the hands. Winter weather can increase sensitivity, dryness and cracking, especially if you have an underlying skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, cold urticaria, rosacea and many more. This is because your skin already has a barrier that’s compromised and not working as well as it should.

Why does skin get dry in winter?

In winter, the air outside has way less moisture than it does in summer, and that can make your skin feel dry. When you step inside from the cold, we often want to cosy up with the heater. But guess what? That warm air can also dry out your skin because it lacks moisture. So, both the chilly outdoors and the toasty indoors might leave your skin feeling a bit dry.

So, how do we stay warm this winter and be kind to our skin?

Here are some simple steps we can take to help prevent dry hands in winter

  • Drink more water and avoid excessive alcohol intake. When it’s cold you don’t sweat as much and don’t become as dehydrated. If you don’t fancy water, try caffeine-free herbal teas.
  • Add some extra layers and turn the heating off at the warmest time of the day to help ease skin dryness – and reduce your heating bill. If you can’t cope with it being off completely, turn the thermostat down a notch or two.
  • Moisturise day and night. Use more than you usually would in the summer to help with the loss of natural moisture from the cold and wind. Also, use lip balm, body wash and makeup that has moisturiser in it.
  • Using a humidifier will force moisture into the air, combatting dry air through the fan.
  • Reduce the temperature of your bath and shower, use bath oils, and apply body moisturiser immediately after your shower, ideally within a couple of minutes to lock moisture in.
  • Use moisturiser as soap – applied to dry skin before getting wet. Please take extra caution as this will make your feet and bath or shower slippery. Many moisturisers are flammable so keep away from the naked flames.
  • What you eat is also important. Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can really help. These nutrient dense foods provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that promote healthy skin. A poor diet can result in poor skin health and appearance, so it is important to limit your consumption of refined sugars, salts and saturated fats.
  • Use enriched daytime moisturisers and add an extra layer of protection by using a serum.

What to do for severe dry skin

If you feel your condition is more than just dry skin and wish to see a dermatologist, ask your GP to refer you to Novus Health.


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