Winter is here again, and of course, you would be thinking of how to layer your clothing well enough to keep you warm in the weather. However, Winter isn’t all about the cold weather. It is also characterized by myriads of cold weather skin problems caused by the temperature drop.
Just as women, men also have skin problems during winter, and having healthy skin for the rest of the year has nothing to do with these winter skin problems; they are just part of the norms that accompany the season, thereby causing skin changes in winter.
This article shall discuss different winter skin problems, their symptoms, and treatment options for each. You will also learn the best skincare routine during winter.
Winter skin problems
The winter season is mainly characterized by “dryness, ” affecting our environment and human skin. An article by the National Library of Medicine asserted that there is always a peak of some diseases during some seasons, especially during winter.
Winter skin problems, which are caused by cold air, are harsh on the body and can be harsher in areas with extreme weather conditions. These winter skin issues include;
- Winter Dermatitis
One of the most common winter skin problems is dermatitis. Dermatitis, also known as eczema, is a condition that causes dry, itchy, cracked, or inflamed skin. This skin condition is often triggered by cold and dry weather condition-winter.
The cold winter weather extracts natural moisture from the skin and then flares up eczema in different body areas. People who take hot showers or baths during winter are even at more risk of winter dermatitis.
Eczema, which is of different types, may appear like bumpy, raised, or blotchy rashes.
Symptoms of Winter Dermatitis
- Dry, scaly skin
- Small, raised bumps
- Oozing and crusting
Eczema, a chronic skin condition caused by an inflammatory immune response, cannot be permanently cured. However, there are ways to manage and minimize its manifestations on the skin. These are;
- Avoid hot water in baths or showers in winter.
- Wrap up your body to maintain an even body temperature.
- Use heavier moisturizers during winter months.
Psoriasis is a very similar skin condition to eczema, and we often mistake them for each other. However, psoriasis is more inflammatory than eczema. It is often characterized by thick, well-defined, red, and scaly patches around the knees, elbows, scalp, and lower back.
Psoriasis often starts with a few red bumps, which then grow thicker and larger with scales on top. These scales are usually itchy and may even peel.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
- Rashes that vary in color
- Flaky patches
- Dry, cracked skin that may peel
- Heavy use of moisturizer
- Use of mild corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone skin cream and clobetasone
- Vitamin D such as calcitriol and calcipotriene
- Coal tar
- Salicylic acid shampoos(for scalp psoriasis)
- Aloe extract cream
- Light therapy
- Winter Acne
As much as the overproduction of oil can cause acne, Dry skin also causes acne. Acne tends to worsen in winter due to a lack of hydration, reducing the moisture retained by the skin.
Another reason acne worsens during winter is the lack of vitamin D. A 2016 study disclosed that about 49% of people with acne are vitamin D deficient. Like other forms of acne, winter acne can also appear anywhere, mainly on the face.
Symptoms of Winter Acne
- Small, red, tender bumps
- Blackheads(open plugged pores)
- Whiteheads(closed plugged pores)
- Painful pus-filled lumps under the skin
- Pimples(papules with pus at the tips)
- Fewer showers, baths, and face washing
- Opt for a gentle facial cleanser
- Drop thick, cream-based moisturizers for a light, nourishing moisturizer
- Apply sunscreen with SPF30 or higher every day
- Avoid touching your face or any other affected parts
- Visit a dermatologist when every treatment option seems ineffective.
- Cold Urticaria
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, some people are susceptible to cold weather or anything cold. This is known as cold urticaria or, as it is otherwise called, cold hives. People who experience this health condition tend to develop hives when exposed to anything cold.
Symptoms of Cold Urticaria
- Welts(which may be itchy)
- Lightheaded, faint feeling, or difficulty breathing
- Swollen throat or lips
- Redness and swelling around the areas exposed to cold
- Burning sensation
To prevent or manage Cold Urticaria during winter, you should wear protective clothing to avoid exposure. However, your health professional may prescribe some medications such as;
- Chapped lips
The skin on the lips has a thin layer, which still doesn’t get covered like other body parts. During winter, they tend to be extra dry, leading to crusts and splitting, which can be pretty painful.
According to experts the keratin that forms the top layer of lip skin can lose its flexibility and make them sore, cracky, and scaly when exposed to cold air.
Symptoms of chapped lips
- Lip dryness
- Lip redness
- Lip cracking
- Lip peeling
- Sores on the lips
- Mild pain on the lips
- Dry mouth
- Apply and reapply lip balms
- Stay hydrated always
- Use supplements with ingredients such as Gamma linoleic acid and evening primrose oil
- Gentle exfoliation
- Try lip moisturizers
- Raynaud’s disease
Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, was named after the first French doctor that discovered it. It is a condition that affects small blood vessels in the body, thereby affecting the blood supply to certain body parts, mainly fingers and toes.
This condition doesn’t do much for some people; however, the reduced blood flow can cause damage to others. It numbs the toes and fingers and changes their color to white or blue.
Symptoms of Raynaud’s disease
- Cold fingers and toes
- Pale white or blue skin when cold and red as you warm up
- Tingly or prickly fingers and toes as they warm up.
In some severe cases, the patient may have to get;
- Chemical injections
- Nerve surgery
- Winter Rash
A winter rash develops anywhere on the body, but most especially on arms, hands, and legs due to a lack of moisture on the skin. The harsh winter weather strips the skin of its natural moisture and leads to dry skin, which then causes rashes on the body. However, the rash is temporary and only lasts a few hours after exposure to cold.
Symptoms of Winter Rash
- Swollen or flaky skin
- Bumps and blisters on the exposed areas.
- Affected areas tend to be itchy and sensitive to the touch.
- Moisturizing your skin after baths or showers
- Use natural oils such as coconut, avocado, and safflower.
- Use of humidifiers in the bedroom and other commonly used areas in the house.
The best skincare for winter?
Different seasons call for various skin concerns. It is always advisable to consult your dermatologist at the beginning of a new season. This is to know what changes need to be made concerning your products and routines.
However, speaking in general terms, you should always apply sunscreens, moisturizers, and lip balms. Use clean sheets and pillows, wear clothing that provides UV protection, exercise to sweat, and get enough sleep.
There are so many effects of winter on the skin, which are not desirable. To fix the skin damage caused by winter, you can use nourishing moisturizers, exfoliants, and home humidifiers. You should also ensure you are well hydrated and desist from taking hot and long showers or baths.
Eating fruits is highly beneficial, as they provide the body with hydration. Fortunately, quite a number of these healthy fruits grow during winter. Examples of these fruits to take during winter include; oranges, Kiwis, sweet lime, Guava, strawberries, Apples, Grapes, Amla, and Plum.
Winter season can be as beautiful as you want it to be if you are ready to pay the price. You need to understand the skin problems that may arise from winter and, by implication, try to prevent them before they hit you. These skin conditions also affect not only women but also men.
Some skin problems include rashes, acne, psoriasis, chapped lips, dermatitis, Raynaud’s disease, and cold urticaria. These skin conditions can be taken care of with proper moisturizing, hydration, exfoliation, ditching the razor for a while, and other topical options.