You know that winter feeling: itchy, irritated skin that you can’t stop scratching. During wintertime, the lack of moisture in the air leads to a drop in the moisture content in your skin. Beyond the usual parched skin, your skin can become so irritated during this dry season that it develops winter rashes. A winter rash is an area of irritated skin, which is very common and often occurs on a yearly basis during the cold season.
People who live in cold climates like the Northeast may be especially familiar with winter rashes. If your rash does not respond to basic at-home care, it’s time to visit Dr. Shukla, your allergy doctor in New York, to get more advanced allergy treatment.
Winter Rash Symptoms
Winter rashes may present in several different ways. These are some of the most common:
How Winter Rashes Develop
Rashes can happen anywhere on the body; often, however, they often appear on the legs, arms, and hands.
It’s important to remember that winter rash can happen to absolutely anyone– you don’t need to have an allergy or prior skin condition. Still, people with the following conditions are more likely to develop rashes come winter.
● Sensitive skin
If you think you may have one of these conditions, check with your allergy doctor in New York to find out more about it. Dr. Shukla is a top allergy doctor in New York and has offices in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan.
Reasons We Get Winter Rashes
Too Much Time Outdoors
The more time you spend outside in cold weather, the more likely you are to develop a winter rash. You are exposing your skin to the cold air, low humidity, and windy conditions that dry your skin out.
When you get home, you might turn up the heater and take a hot shower. Unfortunately, both things strip your skin of its natural oils. The oils are there to hold moisture in, and without them, you make your skin more susceptible to moisture loss.
Sensitivity to Soaps and Detergents, or Other Things
The types of soaps and detergents you use can also cause rashes. You may be sensitive to the scents or chemicals in them. Or, you could have another type of allergy such as a latex allergy. Contact your allergy doctor in New York to have an allergy test this winter. Dr. Shukla provides allergy testing in New York.
Rashes can also be caused by a bacterial infection or a viral infection. If you have a persistent rash or a rash that spreads, make sure to check it out with your doctor. Also, too much scratching can cause your rash to crack and bleed, which opens the door to infection. To avoid this, make sure to properly moisturize any dry or itchy patches.
Stress and Fatigue
In addition, winter rashes are also caused by stress and fatigue, which can place heavy burdens on the immune system.
Too Much Sun
Did you know you can get a sunburn during winter? Sunburns are a common cause of winter rashes. “According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV light, which means can be hit by the same rays twice. UV rays are also more intense at higher altitudes. This is important to remember if you enjoy snowboarding, skiing, or other alpine sports [healthline.com.]”
Treating a Winter Rash
Treating a winter rash is usually about taking proper care to moisturize your skin. You can buy effective over the counter products from your local drugstore which restore oils and others which take away the itch.
Moisturizers are your best defense against winter rashes. Apply liberally throughout the day, but, make sure to smooth on every time you shower or wash your hands.
Some specialists recommend petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline,) which forms a barrier and seals moisture into your skin. If you don’t like the greasy feel of the petroleum jelly, you can try a healing ointment such as Aquaphor, which has the same effect. Or, if you object to using petroleum products, try an un-petroleum such as Waxelene.
If you prefer to go the holistic route, you can try using natural oils to soothe and moisturize your skin. Fractionated Coconut Oil is made to be massaged into the skin, and it doesn’t clump or solidify in cold weather (the coconut oil you buy in a jar at the grocery store definitely will.)
Soaps, lotions, and bath add-ons made with colloidal oatmeal have been proven to soothe itchy, irritated skin. They are even marketed for eczema sufferers for this reason, but they work well for any skin that needs a little TLC. Aveeno makes a great product which you can add to your bathwater as well as a soothing colloidal oatmeal soap; they and many other companies make lotions containing colloidal oatmeal as well.
You can buy cortisone cream over-the-counter (OTC), and if you are still itchy, you can ask your allergy doctor in New York for a stronger prescription. Cortisone creams are great for reducing redness, itching, and inflammation.
Top Allergy Doctor in New York
Get the best allergy treatment New York City has to offer with Dr. Mayank Shukla. Dr. Shukla has helped thousands of patients in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan for over 15 years. He is an empathetic doctor who takes a personalized approach to healthcare, using the latest diagnostic technology. To get the best care possible, contact Dr. Shukla today!