Winter Skin

Winter Skin

By Megan Barber, Grocery Buyer, Wellness Buyer, Merchandising Manager, Co-op Owner

It’s safe to say no one is spending too much time outdoors this time of year – especially with the subzero temperatures we’ve been experiencing lately. With the drop in temperatures and cranking up the heat indoors, low humidity and more comes seasonal winter skin troubles. Our skin is made up of mostly water and when we lose moisture, we start experiencing issues. Taking care of your skin is key to your overall health as your skin acts as a barrier keeping out bacteria, viruses, chemicals, and more from entering your body. Here are some common issues and some steps to take to clear up your skin!

Michigan winter – when your hands start to look like an elephant with a sunburn.

Some people experience genetic issues such as psoriasis and eczema which can worsen during the winter months. Though the two conditions may often appear similar, they both have different causes and triggers. As a basic explanation, eczema appears when the skin’s effectiveness at being a barrier for irritating and harsh elements. With this decrease a loss of moisture is also common and the skin can become red and irritated easily. On the other hand, psoriasis skin produces a higher amount of skin cells than normal which causes inflammation and redness.

Your health care provider can offer you injectable treatments that often clear up trouble areas and patches of both. In the case of psoriasis, most typically a topical solution is suggested. In stubborn cases, a Xtrac ultraviolet laser can be used in short sessions until the affected areas are cleared up. Eczema treatments are generally less intense,  with hydration both internally and topically being the most recommended. Use rich thick lotions and creams in the winter months to see the most improvement.

If you have itchy skin or scalp, trying some of the small lifestyle changes listed below might be the easiest way to clear it up fast. Wearing heavy non-breathable clothes in winter can cause irritation so keeping a cotton layer close to your skin could be beneficial. Keep in mind your hands and feet have few sweat glands, so they will need more attention from lotions and creams to keep them healthy. And finally, remember to keep an eye on any children’s skin as theirs is more prone to dryness and they have no problem scratching away at it!

Lifestyle changes can include:

  • Using a gentle, fragrance-free soap.
  • Moisturize right out of the shower.
  • Avoid non-breathable materials such as polyester.
  • Use a hand sanitizer with aloe in it to prevent the severe drying that can be caused by alcohol-based formulas.
  • Wear sunscreen if you’re braving the outdoors! It’s not just for summer use.
  • Change to dry socks and gloves quickly if yours become damp.
  • Invest in a humidifier for your household.
  • Try to avoid hot showers and stick with warmer temperatures.

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