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Fashion Says No to “Winter Itch”

June 11, 2012

          Dry, itchy skin is a common problem in the wintertime. So, what causes dry, itchy skin?


The harsh, cold wind and low humidity in winter depletes our skin of its natural oils. The dry air from heaters also sucks moisture from our skin. When our skin loses some of its protective oils it loses water making our skin dry. When there is not enough water in the outermost layer of our skin, it causes small cracks leaving the underlying layer exposed to irritating particles in the air. Itching is caused by these irritating particles.



Tips on how to prevent dry, itchy skin:


• Hot showers or baths will only draw moisture out of the skin, take lukewarm showers or baths instead and limit them to 5-10 minutes.

• Some soaps can be drying. Use a moisturizing cleanser with low pH as they help restore the skin’s moisture balance. Avoid cleansers with fragrance as fragrance tends to irritate the skin.

• After showering or bathing, pat the skin partially dry. Do not rub as this may also rub off natural oil from the skin.

• Apply moisturizer within three minutes after getting out of the water. This seals water in the skin before it can evaporate. The goal is not to keep adding water to our skin but to seal it in. Body butter works best in cold weather because their thick formulation has the greatest ability to trap moisture in the skin. To avoid the greasy feel of body butter, apply a small amount and rub it well.
• Exfoliate once a week. Moisturizer is more effective on regularly exfoliated skin. (Try using an oatmeal scrub; aside from being a gentle exfoliant, it is also hydrates dry, itchy skin.

• Give special attention to exposed skin, like the face and hands. Always moisturize hands after washing.

• Installing a humidifier or placing bowls of water near heating vents help counter the dry air from heaters, thus increasing moisture in the air indoors.

If these don’t stop the “winter itch”, see a dermatologist.

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