Dry, itchy and flaky skin is more prevalent in winters, when the environmental humidity gets extremely low. It can be characterized by the normal fine lines in the skin getting more prominent and the skin feeling rough and appearing dull and flaky. To make things worse, fish net-like cracks, resembling the fine fracture lines of cracked porcelain, can occur. Most commonly, winter itchy skin can be seen on the arms and legs and sometimes, the trunk of the body. The best way to protect your skin from dryness is to keep it well hydrated and well moisturized. Water can control the problem to quite an extent and the oil in moisturizers can help trap and seal water in the skin, making it softer, smoother and less likely to become dry, cracked and itchy. Read on to explore some more tips on how to deal with winter itchy skin.
Image: ? Lee J Haywood@flickr
Dry & Itchy Skin Treatment In Winters
Humidify Your Home
Increase the humidity in your home, especially the bedroom where you sleep. It will not only help with the itching in winter, but the humidified air will also keep your mucous membranes moist, in turn reducing the risk of wintertime colds and viruses.
Most of us think that itchy and flaky skin is the result of loss of oil, which is actually a mistaken notion. It is the lack of water in the skin that leads to dryness. Drink lots of water and fluids to do away with your winter itch. Consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. Another way to hydrate yourself is by soaking your body in lukewarm, not very hot or cold, water.
Moisturize Your Body
Use a moisturizing soap, such as Dove, which is less likely to strip the skin of its oils. At the same time, add bath oil to your water. After stepping out of the bath or shower, lubricate your skin with a rich moisturizer, when your skin is still damp.
Protect Your Exposed Skin
Cover as much skin as possible, in case you are involved in sports or other outdoor activities in the winter. Apply a heavy layer of moisturizer to the exposed skin and petroleum jelly to your lips, if the temperatures are too low.
Do Not Scratch Itchy Skin
Ensure that your skin is well moisturized in winters, to avoid scratching dry, itchy areas. Scratching repeatedly can lead to a condition called lichenification, which thickens the skin and can be very difficult to control. Protect all the areas with a layer of petroleum jelly or mineral oil to reduce the tendency to scratch.
Choose The Correct Moisturizer
There are two types of moisturizers, namely, facial moisturizers and body moisturizers. Facial moisturizers are designed to keep the face soft, supple and nourished. The other type, as the name suggests, is meant for the body parts. There are four classes of body moisturizers: ointments, oils, creams and lotions. Ointment moisturizers have the greatest to ability to trap moisture in the skin though they have a greasy feel. It’s best to apply a small amount of the same and rub it well into the skin.
Oil moisturizers are less greasy than the ointments, but still very effective. To get the best effect, it is wise to apply them directly to damp skin, immediately after a light toweling to dry the skin partially. Examples of such oils are baby oil, mineral oil, vegetable oil and bath oil. Cream moisturizers are white in color and when rubbed into the skin, they disappear without leaving a greasy feel. Hence, they are more popular than ointments. Lotion moisturizers are the least greasy of all the types and the most pleasant to use. However, since they contain alcohol, they can dry the skin when applied repeatedly.