Winter Itch

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“Winter itch” is the common name for dry and itchy skin that plagues many people during the winter months. Winter itch is associated with dry skin, especially in those with a history of eczema. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and it is greatly affected by different external and internal factors.

Low humidity, cold temperatures, hot water, and the use of central heat contribute to extremely dry skin during the winter season. While Georgia does not typically drop down to extremely cold temperatures, there is a great difference in temperatures from summer to winter. Georgia summers are notorious for high humidity and high temps, which coat the skin in sweat and extra moisture. However, as the temperatures cool off in late fall and winter, the skin becomes deprived of moisture and faces negative side effects.

The changing temperatures from hot to cold depletes the skin of moisture that must be replaced. It is important to use a heavier skin cream to add moisture back to the skin. When bathing or showering, hot water strips the skin of natural oils that leave it dry and scaly. It is also important to avoid soaps that contain alcohol or antibacterial ingredients because they also strip the skin of necessary components.

When running central heat in your home or office, your skin will be affected because this sucks all of the moisture out of the air. Many people often find that they suffer from incessant thirst during the winter, and this is because of the depleted moisture. Your skin reacts in the same way, staying constantly thirsty and craving moisture to be applied. Using an oil-based moisturizer protects the skin from the drying effects of the air because it has an added layer of thick moisture. However, reapplication will be necessary in order to keep the skin moist enough that it keeps a barrier against cold temperatures and dry air.

At Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta, we understand that skin requires TLC throughout the year. If you have extremely dry skin that is not helped by at-home remedies and over the counter moisturizers, contact our practice to schedule an appointment. Our customized approach to skin care goes beyond skin deep. We want to help patients find the root of their problems in order to find successful solutions.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.