Woodland Healthcare Dermatologist Dr. Christie Carroll Offers Tips for “Winter Itch”
At this time of the year many people may notice dryness of their skin. Some people notice the skin on their hands is dry and cracked; others get an area of itchy red skin on their legs. As a dermatologist, I see many people at this time of the year for what is called “winter itch.”
The air in northern California is traditionally drier than much of the United States, however this phenomenon occurs across the country in the winter. Due to cold weather we start to stay inside more and depend on heating systems to keep us warm. Heating systems dry out the air indoors, which evaporates the moisture from our skin, making it dry and more sensitive.
There are several things that you can do to help combat this dryness. First, use a humidifier in your home. They can add moisture into the air, helping your skin by decreasing that evaporation. Moisturizing with over-the-counter creams can also be helpful. I recommend looking for something in the cream form which is more moisturizing than lotions. Avoiding hot showers and baths can also help. Hot water removes the oils from our skin that form a barrier to keep it from drying out. At times the skin is so affected that simple moisturizing doesn’t help. We can help out with medicated, prescription creams to calm down the irritation and moisturize the skin.