Dermatitis is an allergic condition in which the skin gets red, itchy, and tender to the touch after contact with certain irritants. There are various types of dermatitis, some of which are activated by direct contact with stimuli and some flare with indirect contact. For many people with dermatitis, the condition tends to flare up in colder weather. Here are some key ways to prevent uncomfortable skin rashes when the temperature drops.
- Since skin tends to dry out quickly in the winter, be sure to take warm showers and baths rather than hot. Limit your time in the water to no longer than 15 minutes, preferably less. Avoid scented or harsh soaps, instead opting for mild cleanser or a moisturizing bath oil. If possible, bathe only a few times a week in the winter rather than every day.
- After bathing and throughout the day, moisturize your skin with a mild, unscented lotion. Fragrances and additives in cosmetics and beauty products are often a cause of dermatitis flares. For best results, apply lotion while the skin is still slightly damp to lock in moisture.
- When drying the skin, avoid harsh rubbing, especially in areas affected by the rash. Instead, pat dry gently with a soft towel.
- Avoid rough materials like wool, and anything that irritates your skin. If you must wear a sweater, be sure to pair it with a soft undershirt.
- When outside, keep the skin covered, especially if the weather is cold, dry, or windy. Using an over the counter gel on exposed skin can form a barrier that helps prevent the skin from irritation. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before going outside, even on winter days.
- Use a humidifier in your home during the winter to combat dry air. Some models are portable while others can be built directly into your heating system.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature, which can worsen dermatitis flares. Keep the heating in your home and car moderate if you are planning to go outside so that the contrast will not irritate your skin.
While doctors are not sure exactly what causes dermatitis, it is more common in people with a history and/or a family history of allergies, hay fever, and eczema. If you are prone to skin rashes that tend to worsen in the winter, at Dermatology Associates, we can review your symptoms and determine whether dermatitis is the cause. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained clinicians.