Winter dry skin: Causes, treatment, and more
Dry skin is an unpleasant condition characterized by scaling, itching, and cracking. It can happen for several reasons. Your skin may be naturally dry. Even if you have oily skin, you can get dry skin from time to time. Any region of your body might be affected by dry skin. It usually affects the hands, arms, and legs. In many cases, simple lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter moisturizers are required to treat it. If those therapies do not suffice, you should consult your doctor. Hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing might also cause your hands to become dry. Applying moisturizer after washing your hands can be beneficial.
What causes dry skin in the winter?
Winter brings fluctuations in humidity and temperature, which create ideal conditions for the development of dry skin, commonly known as xerosis. The epidermis refers to the skin's outermost layer. The stratum corneum, commonly known as the skin barrier, is the thin outer surface of the epidermis. The skin barrier acts as a barrier, preventing dangerous pollutants from entering the body. The skin barrier is made up of lipids and dying or dead skin cells. When the skin's barrier is compromised, the skin appears dry or irritated. People frequently turn up their interior heating during the winter months, which reduces humidity and impacts how much moisture is accessible to the skin. At the same time, chilly weather, strong winds, and rain can deplete the skin's natural, moisturizing oils. According to the Baylor College of Medicine, hot baths or showers can also harm the skin's surface, causing dryness. Using strong soaps and excessively massaging the skin when drying might cause skin damage. The moisture content of the skin changes with age, gender, ethnicity, and environmental factors. Other medical issues might also cause dry skin.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dry Skin?
While dry skin is a seasonal ailment, your skin can become excessively dry at any time of year. This is an indicator of a medical issue that requires care. The following are some symptoms of dry skin:
- Feeling your skin tighten, especially after bathing or showering
- The skin is harsh to the touch.
- Itching that persists
- Skin flaking, scale formation, or small fissures
- Skin color changes; it becomes grey
- Discoloration of the skin
- Deep crevices and bleeding cracks
What Are the Risks of Dry Skin Complications?
When the temperature gets chilly, the skin naturally dries out. There is less moisture in the air, which may cause the skin to feel dry. Ignoring the sensation of tightness or skin cracking can lead to more severe conditions, such as not being a significant issue that can be readily resolved with home treatments and over-the-counter topicals.
Your skin may turn red with inflammation, and there may be breaking of the skin associated with itching and bleeding from excessive scratching of the skin. Dry scales may also occur in some regions of the body. This happens when severe dry skin is not treated. This is frequent in young toddlers who do not moisturize their skin.
Cracked skin or open wounds on the skin can serve as an access route for bacteria and other germs, leading to illnesses. To minimize additional aggravation, seeing a dermatologist and getting the skin treated as away is critical.
Dry skin treatment
The reason for dry skin will determine the treatment approach prescribed by your doctor.
They may recommend you to a skin expert or dermatologist in some situations. They may offer over-the-counter or prescription ointments, creams, or lotions to treat your symptoms in addition to lifestyle changes.
How to Prevent Winter Dry Skin
When the seasons change, people can avoid having dry winter skin by doing the following:
Skincare approaches must be changed
In colder weather, skin demands different treatments, including the use of a more protective moisturizer. Exfoliating scrubs, face masks, and steam treatments should be avoided to protect the skin's barrier. Skincare approaches must be changed
Drinking plenty of water keeps your skin moisturized and smooth. Eating foods or taking supplements containing omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids may also be beneficial.
Making use of a humidifier
This gadget can reintroduce moisture into the air, assisting in the rehydration of the skin's outer layer. Alternatively, a bowl of water can be placed on top of a radiator so that as the heat rises, it drags water vapor.
limiting heat exposure
People can help themselves by taking a lukewarm bath or shower instead of a hot one and avoiding sitting in front of a fire or heater. Excessive heat can drain moisture from the skin.
Protecting the skin with clothing
Many individuals suffer from dry skin on their hands, especially since regular hand washing and sanitizing have become more common. Wearing gloves in chilly weather and when doing dishes will help keep your skin from drying out.
When should you consult a doctor about dry skin?
If your dry skin is severe and nothing you do appears to relieve the tightness, flakiness, and redness, you may want expert assistance. But first, ensure your home treatments aren't exacerbating the condition.
Do the following before seeking professional treatment:
- Avoid taking long, steamy showers or baths
- Use liquid cleansers that are fragrance-free and mild (avoid bar soap)
- Washcloths and abrasive sponges should be avoided as they can potentially strip your skin.
- After washing, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel — do not rub.
- After bathing, apply moisturizer to help seal in moisture and build your skin barrier.
Winter skin is not an unavoidable result of the coldest season. Being aware of the skin barrier and what it requires to keep healthy might assist people in taking the essential precautions to avoid this unpleasant condition.