As the weather starts to cool down, cracked, dry, and sensitive skin starts to creep its way back in. Our skin naturally traps moisture due to natural oils, which act as a barrier of protection and hydration. During colder months, your skin doesn’t trap enough moisture, and dry skin is caused by a weakened skin barrier. Luckily, most fall and winter rashes can be treated with at-home remedies and small lifestyle changes.
Sensitive Skin Irritants And Remedies
If you have dealt with sensitive skin in the past, you understand it often comes with its fair share of trial and error to find remedies that work for you. Blue Ridge Dermatology is here to outline a few fall and winter-sensitive skin irritants and their remedies. Continue reading to find ways to keep your skin glowing as the days get cooler.
Harsh Soaps And Fragrances
Fragrances may smell great but can run you the risk of contact dermatitis, which is a rash forming after exposure to an irritating chemical, allergen, or anything that damages the skin’s protective outer layer. Harsh soaps are ones that strip your skin\’s essential lipids, often leaving you feeling dried out, brittle, and irritated. If you’re in the market for a gentle soap, avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, added fragrances, alcohol, and synthetic dyes. Instead, look for plant oils, glycerin, lanolin, or hyaluronic acid.
Although a nice hot shower during the cooler months feels great, it may not be the best option for those with sensitive skin. Consistent hot showers can lead to excessively dry skin and even damage the surface of the skin over time. If you notice your skin becoming red, scaly, or itchy, this may be a sign of skin inflammation or eczema irritation. By switching your hot shower to lukewarm (~98.6- 76 degrees Fahrenheit), you may notice your sensitive skin begin to subside.
Central Heating Systems
When the temperature outside goes down, the thermostat inside goes up. Those with sensitive skin or pre-existing conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, want to be careful about how much they crank the heat. Central heating dries out the air, which causes the skin to lose moisture. To combat moisture loss, use a humidifier, increase your moisturizer use, stay hydrated, keep the heat at a modest temperature, or switch it off at night.
Exfoliation is great for removing dead skin cells, improving the skin’s texture, and keeping skin looking young and fresh. However, those with sensitive skin need to be aware of over-exfoliating, especially in the cooler weather when the skin is already drier than normal. Signs of over-exfoliation may include irritation, burning, peeling, redness, inflammation, or breakouts. It is best to limit exfoliation or to use more gentle techniques during the colder months.
Did you know that the cold itself can be a direct sensitive skin irritant? According to the Mayo Clinic, cold urticaria is a skin reaction due to the cold that appears within minutes of exposure. Some symptoms of this condition include:
- Temporary hives or welts of the area exposed to the cold
- A worsened reaction when returning to the heat
- Swelling of the hands while making contact with cold objects
- Swelling of the lips from consuming cold food or drink
Although the exact cause of this sensitive skin condition is unknown, it is most commonly seen in young adults and those with an underlying health condition or certain inherited traits.
If you have questions about fall and winter-sensitive skin irritants and their remedies, we are here to help. Blue Ridge Dermatology is proud to offer medical and cosmetic dermatological services that can aid you in getting the results you want. If you are interested in seeing one of our team members, call our office today at 919-781-1050.