What is “winter itch?”

“Winter itch” or “winter eczema” refers to dry, itchy skin that happens in the chilly winter months. When the temperature drops, the cold weather can dry out your skin’s natural barrier, creating dry, itchy, and irritated skin. For some people the dryness is so severe that the skin becomes cracked and inflamed. Dry indoor air, harsh soaps, and low humidity also contribute to dry, itchy skin. People with history of eczema are often more prone to “winter itch,” although anyone can experience it.

How can I treat “winter itch?”

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! The most important treatment is regular moisturization with an unscented, heavy moisturizing cream. Cream, not lotion! Products such as Cerave, Aveeno, Cetaphil and Vanicream are great gentle moisturizers that you can find at your local store or pharmacy. Other techniques that can improve symptoms are shorter, cooler showers; avoiding products with harsh chemicals and fragrance; buying a humidifier for your home; and decreasing use of acne products or other skin treatments that may cause dry skin.

What if my symptoms worsen or persist?

If you try these tips and are still experiencing symptoms, it’s important to follow up with a dermatology provider as you may have a more serious underlying skin issue. Give us a call so we can schedule an appointment to help you achieve your best skin!

~ Kate Siedor, PA-C