Winter Rash: Causes and Treatments

Winter should be all about fun and enjoyment. Do not let winter rashes prevent you from enjoying the season. Take the necessary preventive steps and apply moisturizer at the first sign of dry, itchy skin.

Dry skin is a very common skin problem caused by a combination of factors such as cold weather, a lack of humidity, and recirculated air. With winter fast approaching in the next few months, people in Provo and other areas with seasonal changes may develop an itchy rash or what they call “winter itch.” You simply cannot get rid of a winter rash without following proper skin rash treatment and even making some lifestyle changes.

An important aspect of treating dry skin is to identify the reasons contributing to the rash. Treatments should focus on re-moisturizing the skin and soothing out any irritation. Dry skin results from the top layer of skin losing too much of its protective oil for it to properly conduct its function. The function is to keep the water inside our body from escaping and irritating substances from entering our body.

Take Time to Moisturize

Keep in mind that moisturizers are often the first defense against a winter rash as they help increase and seal moisture into your skin. But avoid moisturizers with fragrances and other additives that can further cause allergic reactions in dry, irritated skin.

Use Natural Oils

A 2017 review published by the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that a number of natural oils, such as coconut, safflower, and avocado oil, can also help with dry skin.

  • Lanolin and lauric acid can promote skin healing by improving the skin’s barrier function.
  • Safflower oil has anti-inflammatory effects, making it an excellent oil for soothing cracked skin.
  • Avocado oil contains vitamins C, D, and E, all of which help replenish moisture and treat dry skin.

Avoid Long Hot Baths and Showers

Water alone can worsen dry skin by stripping away the natural, protective skin oil. Hot water can further cause your skin to dry out. That is why showers and baths should be kept warm, short, and less frequent while you are still trying to treat your winter rash. Like moisturizers, avoid soap that is scented and that with added harsh chemicals; instead, use mild soap designed for sensitive skin. Right after a shower, make sure to pat your skin dry-not rub-and smooth your moisturizer right away.

Turn Down the Heat and Use a Humidifier

Invest in a humidifier to bring much-needed moisture back to the house and increase the humidity level in the air around you. People often crank up their central heating systems during winter, which forces hot air throughout the house and consequently suck up moisture from the air. Using a humidifier to counter the effects will be very helpful in managing humidity to an ideal level-between 45% to 55%-inside the home.

Wear Gloves and Use Sunscreen When Outside

Fresh snow has higher albedo than water, reflecting 80% of the sun’s rays back to us, than an open ocean (6%), asphalt (4%), and concrete (55%). That is why people can still get bad sunburn during winter.

Winter rashes are a nuisance and can become serious if left untreated. Taking preventive steps and applying moisturizer at the first sign of your skin beginning to get dry can help you enjoy the winter season more.

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