How to deal with winter skin problems

March 11, 2021 / Akshata
Tips from our dermatologists

Winter is a beautiful season, but it can be a punishing time for your skin. After a long, harsh couple of months, you may want to ditch the coats and scarves and bring out the t-shirts and shorts, but your skin may not be recovered enough for that. Cold weather causes rash, cracked heels, sun- and windburn, flare-ups of underlying conditions, and chapped lips. If you happen to suffer from any of these conditions, here’s what to do about them.

Winter rash:

Winter dries you out. Your skin’s outermost layer, the stratum corneum, functions as your outside shield and what keeps natural moisture inside the skin. When the humidity drops, the stratum corneum begins to dry out, leading to your skin feeling tight. To fight this, apply a moisturizer immediately after showering, to lock in the moisture. Use a product that is thicker than what you normally use and make sure you drink plenty of fluids to replenish your body moisture.

Cracked heels:

That harmful winter air can also dry out and damage your feet. Dry, cracked feet can make walking painful and can even invite infection. You can keep your feet healthy by covering them up in petroleum jelly and putting on a pair of socks overnight. You can also use a pumice stone to exfoliate your feet in the shower, and you can apply moisturizers to alleviate the dryness.

Sunburn and Windburn:

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t get a sunburn. During the winter, most people forget to use sunscreen, resulting in sunburns in uncovered places, most commonly the face, chest and neck areas. Gusts of wind with cold, dry air can also result in windburn, which leads to redness, soreness and dry patches on the face. Protect yourself from the harmful UV rays and wind damage by using sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, keeping your face moisturized and investing in a scarf to fend off the elements.

Flare-ups:

Winter doesn’t just cause new conditions to arise, it makes old ones reappear too. People with rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis and cold urticaria have trouble with flare-ups during these months. Moisturizing and using a humidifier in your home can help ameliorate these conditions and prevent flare-ups.

Chapped lips:

The lips are always exposed to the elements; chapped lips aren’t exclusive to the winter, but they are more common during this time. Exposure to the sun, wind and cold, dry air can lead to chapped lips. To prevent chapping, apply a lip balm daily, especially at night. Make sure it has sufficient SPF to prevent burning.

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