Dry, itchy skin can be a problem any time of the year, but winter weather makes it even worse. In winter, the humidity is low both indoors and outdoors. Heat pumps, furnaces and fireplaces draw moisture from the air. The dry air draws moisture away from your skin, causing itchiness. Dry skin is most common on your legs, arms and hands, but it can occur on any part of your body. Problems with dry skin can range from mild to severe, and may require a doctor’s care.
At times, itchy skin can be irritating and unbearable. Your natural reaction is to scratch. When you scratch, it causes your skin to itch even more. The cycle of scratching and itching can damage your skin. Excessive scratching can cause rough, thickened skin that may crack. Breaks in the skin from scratching or cracks can get infected, increasing the itchiness.
At Dermatology Associates, our team of medical professionals understands that the Massachusetts winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin. We want to give you some great skin care tips for dry, itchy skin. If you’d like to schedule your appointment to help soothe your winter skin, contact Dermatology Associates today.
The best remedy for dry skin is to add moisture. There are many effective lotions, creams, oils and ointments available that will soothe dry skin and reduce itchiness. Look for products that do not contain fragrance or that are created for sensitive skin to reduce possible irritants. Heavier creams and greasy ointments are generally more effective than lotions, but your personal preference plays a big role. If you don’t like the product, you won’t use it frequently enough to help your skin.
Dry skin is often lingering or recurring. If you experience dry skin on a frequent basis, you should continue your moisturizing routines even when your skin does not itch. There are also several other actions that you can take to improve your skin’s condition and reduce itching:
- Take shorter showers or baths with the water as cool as possible
- Apply moisturizer within three to five minutes of getting out of the shower to seal moisture in your skin
- Use soap or body wash that is designed for sensitive skin or a soap-free cleanser
- Leave your shaving cream on your skin for a couple of minutes before shaving
- Trade your razor blade for an electric shaver
- Increase the moisture in your home with a humidifier
- Try over-the-counter itch medications
- Take a nonprescription antihistamine
- Put on sunscreen when you are spending time outdoors
- Wear loose clothing made from natural, breathable fibers
If you are unable to control itchy skin through home treatment, you should discuss it with your dermatologist, or come in to Dermatology Associates for your free consultation. You may need medication to treat your dry skin. Treatment with ultraviolet light has also proven to reduce itchiness.