Cold air, harsh winds, and other seasonal factors can lead to dry skin in the winter. Get tips for rescue remedies to treat itching and other allergies.
Winter is awesome season to enjoy life. But it also affects you with some diseases and skin allegies if you are careless. Skin itching is a typical allergy during winter weather. Itching skin is an inflammatory reaction of the skin. Itching is a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Itching is also called pruritus. Itching or itchy skin may or may not be associated with a rash. Itching skin can affect a small area of the skin or the full body, and it differs in severity, frequency and duration, depending on the underlying cause.
Causes of winter itching
Dry skin: Winter itch is a common name for the skin symptom of generalized itching in the winter. It is primarily caused by dry skin and is most common in the elderly. Winter itch caused by dry skin may also be seen commonly in those with a history of eczema, allergies, or asthma. External factors, including cold temperatures, low humidity, and the use of central heat, tend to worsen dry skin during the winter season.
Skin conditions and rashes: Many skin conditions itch, including eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, scabies, lice, chickenpox and hives. The itching usually affects specific areas and is accompanied by other signs, such as red, irritated skin or bumps and blisters.
Internal diseases: These include liver disease, malabsorption of wheat (celiac disease), kidney failure, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems and cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Nerve disorders: Conditions that affect the nervous system — such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, pinched nerves and shingles (herpes zoster) — can cause itching.
Irritation and allergic reactions: Wool, chemicals, soaps and other substances can irritate the skin and cause itching. Sometimes the substance, such as poison ivy or cosmetics, causes an allergic reaction. Food allergies also may cause skin to itch.
Drugs: Reactions to drugs, such as antibiotics, antifungal drugs or narcotic pain medications, can cause widespread rashes and itching.
Pregnancy: During pregnancy, some women experience itchy skin, especially on the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms. Also, itchy skin conditions, such as dermatitis, can worsen during pregnancy.
Home remedies for itchy skin
Clay: Put a bit of bentonite or Montmorillonite clay on it! Clay is very helpful for itching and a number of other skin issues such as acne. It particularly helps heal venomous stings and bites, like from bees, wasps and spiders. The clay helps draw the venom out of the skin, which will help relieve the pain and let the sting heal more quickly.
Petroleum Jelly: If your skin is of the sensitive type, the best remedy is petroleum jelly. It does not contain any harmful chemicals and by its very nature, has a smoothening action on the skin.
Baking Soda Bath: Soaking in a bath of baking soda for 30-60 minutes can make all the difference. Add one cup baking soda to a tub of warm water. After the bath, it is important to gently pat your skin dry with a towel (or air-dry).
Apple Cider Vinegar: Many people use vinegar on the scalp for dandruff; by the same logic, it works well for itchy skin, too. It has a good antiseptic and antifungal action and this makes it a good anti-itching agent. Dip a cotton ball or cloth in a little apple cider vinegar and dab on the itchy area. Or if you feel a general itchy sensation all over the body, add a cupful into your bath water.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice can be directly applied on itchy skin to relieve the irritation.
Essential Oils: There are many good essential oils with anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that have the ability to give relief to itchy skin and alleviate irritations.
Cold Water: ecause cold and itch travel along the same nerve fibers, the use of cold can “jam the circuits” and deaden itch. Cool showers or baths or even ice packs can be an instant remedy for itchy skin.
Tulsi: Tulsi leaves are rich in thymol, eugenol and camphor and these have the ability to reduce irritation of the skin. Just wash a few leaves and rub them over the affected area. Or prepare a tea by boiling a few leaves in water in a covered utensil; then dip a cotton ball or cloth into the tea and apply to the itchy skin.
Aloe Vera: Slice a piece of aloe, squeeze all the gel out and apply to itchy skin. It will not only moisturise your skin, it will also form a protective layer that will keep impurities from entering your pores.
Stock Up On Glycerin: Glycerin is a humectant (draws water to your body) and has a cooling, hydrating effect on the skin which is why it is used so prevalently in soap and skin care products. Combine with rose water for even better results.
- Limit a bath or shower to no more than 15 minutes and use lukewarm instead of hot water.
- Use bath oil, or when you get out of the bath or shower, pat dry and apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp to hold in the moisture.
- Avoid harsh soaps such as deodorant soap. Look for shower gels, soaps or soap-free cleansers that contain moisturizer.
- A shower filter to remove chlorine and other chemicals from the water can be helpful.
- Only take one bath or shower a day, and arms and legs don’t even need soaping every day.
Be Aware of the Sun: Keep Using Sunscreen
Though the sun’s rays are less intense in winter, those rays can still burn and damage your skin, says Taylor.
As a matter of fact, snow is an even better reflector than water, bouncing 80% of the sun’s rays back to us, compared to less than 20% for sand and surf. That’s why you can get a nasty sunburn even in winter — and why it’s important to put on sunscreen all year long.
For daily protection, Taylor suggests using a moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and when heading outdoors for winter fun, use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 15 or higher. And give your UV protection an even bigger boost by donning sunglasses, a hat, and scarf.
Get Your Diet Into the Act: Eat Up for Better Skin
A diet rich in healthy fats can be another crucial element in your fight against dry, itchy skin. That’s because essential fatty acids like omega-3s help make up your skin’s natural, moisture-retaining oil barrier. Too few of these healthy fats can not only encourage irritated, dry skin, but leave you more prone to acne, too.
Give your diet an essential fatty acid boost with omega-3-rich foods like flax, walnuts, and safflower oil, as well as cold-water fish such as tuna, herring, halibut, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.