Cold-weather skin problems and how to treat them


Everyone knows that it's important to protect your skin from the summer sun, but skin problems don't go away when the temperature drops. In addition to being cold, winter air is often extremely dry, and that can take a toll on your skin.

Many people experience skin flakiness, itchiness, rashes and more during the winter months. Cranking up the heater and taking hot showers only worsens the situation by causing skin to lose its moisture and natural oils. Fortunately, some simple lifestyle and skincare changes can keep winter skin issues at bay.

Here are some common cold-weather skin problems and how you can treat them.

Redness and irritation
Skin is more easily irritated when it's dry, so use a gentle cleanser and a rich, fragrance-free moisturizer on your face and body. Tip: Apply moisturizer several times a day — including right after you get out of the shower — to help your skin absorb maximum moisture.

Dry patches
Dry, tight patches of skin are inevitable during the winter, so in addition to using moisturizer on your body regularly, try running a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep and applying a gentle night cream to your face. 

Many acne treatments can dry out your skin, as can switching skin products. In addition to using gentle cleansers and moisturizers, find an acne treatment that's non-irritating and non-drying.

Winter sunburns aren't as expected as summer ones, but the sun can still do damage in the winter, even if it's cloudy outside. Apply sunscreen daily and use a lip balm with SPF.

Itchiness caused by dry skin can be exacerbated by hot showers and wooly clothes. Spend less time in the shower or keep the temperature moderate, and wear soft fabrics to avoid itchiness. You can also try taking a milk bath. Apply a washcloth soaked with whole milk to the affected area, or soak yourself in a warm (not hot) bath with milk added for about ten minutes.

Persistent dryness
Are you doing all the above and still suffering from dry skin? Try moisturizing from the inside out by staying well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water to give your skin the extra moisture it needs. A diet rich in healthy fats can also help fight dry, itchy skin. Try adding some walnuts, flax and salmon to your diet to see the skin-moisturizing benefits.

If your skin is still dry after trying these tips, it might be time to talk to a doctor. For more information on how you can keep your skin safe and healthy all year round, visit a healthcare provider with Goshen Physicians.