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6 Common Winter Skin Conditions And Ways To Prevent Them

Research suggests that your skin is likely drier, cracked and more irritated when exposed to colder weather during winter. Keeping your skin looking healthy throughout winter requires more effort and following a routine to ensure sufficient moisture. Read on to discover 6 common winter skin conditions and ways to prevent them.

Dry And Irritated Nose

Allergies, dehydration and dry air during winter can increase your chances of experiencing a highly uncomfortable, dry and irritated nose. If you don’t relieve a dry nose, it could lead to nasal congestion, nose bleeds or scabbing. However, this is a typical winter condition that can be treated with these effective home remedies:

  • Apply petroleum jelly to the lining of your nose to keep it moisturised.
  • Using a humidifier to improve the concentration of water in the air.
  • A saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  • Wiping the lining of your nostrils with damp wipes to prevent drying and irritation.
  • Steaming your face can help to reduce dryness and irritation.

Chapped Lips

Dry lips in winter can be frustrating, especially when dealing with flaking, cracked lips, bleeding, swelling, and sores. When temperatures drop, the air causes your lips to dry quickly. Moreover, you will want to lick your lips often to increase moisture, but it won’t help much since saliva evaporates quickly, leading to drier lips than before.

The good news is that chapped lips are easily treatable at home when you follow these simple tips:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Apply lip balm or lip gloss throughout the day.
  • Wrapping your mouth with a scarf on colder days.

Chafing

Research suggests that colder weather tends to dry the skin because of decreased atmospheric moisture levels. If your skin is dry and sensitive, you might be vulnerable to chafing in winter, especially if you often wear tights or ill-fitting clothing. The friction from wearing specific clothing can cause tearing on your skin’s epidermis, the top layer.

This can lead to inflamed, irritated and blistered skin. It’s important to address chafed skin immediately to reduce the risk of infections by:

  • Avoiding things that can worsen the irritation, such as hot water and soap.
  • Do not use products that contain alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Gently pat the affected area dry after washing or bathing.
  • Apply anti-chafing cream, coconut oil or petroleum jelly to ensure the skin patch remains moist while it heals.

Winter Rash

The lack of air moisture during winter can cause distressed skin. This is why keeping your skin at its best around this time of the year might be challenging. Winter rash is common and might be characterised by:

  • Tiny blisters.
  • Itching.
  • Redness.
  • Flaking.
  • Swelling.

It mostly appears on body parts that are likely to be exposed to the harsh, dry winter air, such as hands. While cold conditions are the main cause, people with underlying skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis are at a higher risk. The best way to treat winter rash is to improve your skin’s barrier function by moisturising after every bath or shower.

Cracked Heels

When trying to bundle up with extra layers of clothing to protect your body from the blistering cold, you should remember to do the same for your feet. The danger of the cold air is that it can steal moisture from your feet and cause the layer of skin on your heels to harden. Moreover, a buildup of dead skin or callus exposed to cold air and indoor heating can dry your heels quickly.

This can result in cracked heels that can be treated by:

  • Soaking your feet.
  • Exfoliating with a pumice stone or foot filer.
  • Moisturising your feet and putting on socks when you go to sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water and use a humidifier in your home.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and avoid standing in one position for too long.

Eczema

Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema can cause dry, itchy and scaly rashes on your skin. This is why skin flare-ups are common during winter when the air is cold and dry. Additionally, the constant change of temperatures from cold outdoor air to indoor heating might increase the risk of rashes and itchiness.

If your skin experiences a downturn at the onset of winter, these are simple tips you should consider:

  • Avoid hot baths or showers to regulate your skin and get used to its surroundings.
  • Choose non-fragranced and gentle soaps.
  • Consider using a thicker moisturiser such as petroleum jelly.
  • Avoid clothing materials like wool or nylon during winter.
  • Take vitamin D supplements to boost your immune system and help reduce inflammation.

If you have an underlying skin condition, it helps to stay winter-ready to reduce the risk of flare-ups and uncomfortable rashes. If you experience itchy, dry, and cracked skin or heels this winter, you should ensure you find the ideal treatment for your specific needs. Affinity Health offers healthcare plans that provide you with access to in-person GP visits and unlimited 24/7 telehealth consultations to address various skin concerns.

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