Winters herald an increase in skin complaints for many patients. Why is there a worsening of skin diseases in winter? What can you do to manage this increase? Let’s take a look:
Increased dryness of skin in winters:
The outermost layer of our skin mainly performs the major role of protecting the inner sensitive and delicate layers of skin. In winter, the humidity of air goes down and this dry air causes drying out of this outermost layer. There is a continuous water loss through the skin by evaporation.
Also, under optimal weather conditions water contents of the outer skin layer are maintained by sweat glands, oil glands and fat molecules produced by deeper skin cells. As a result of some metabolic changes that occur in skin during winters, activity of oil glands and sweat glands tends to decrease.
Dryness of skin results if this water loss is not replenished adequately. Itching becomes more pronounced due to increased dryness of skin. Most patients suffering from skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis and lichen planus are bothered mainly by itching.
To maintain the water content of skin, moisturizing the skin frequently is most important. It protects the skin in two ways. The applied moisturizer forms a protective layer on skin which stops dry air from sucking out the moisture from skin. It also provides the oil and fat molecules required to maintain the smooth and soft texture of skin.
Extreme cold as well as extreme heat both can induce dryness of skin. Heaters used to maintain warmth during winters produce dry heat that absorbs moisture. Dryness is more pronounced in legs and hands as they have less oil glands as compared to face or chest.
Less exposure to sunlight in winter can make psoriasis worse in some people:
Research and experience shows that exposure to natural UV rays from natural sunlight or exposure to artificial UV rays makes psoriasis better.
In winter the amount of UV rays in sunlight is less. Also people tend to cover up for warmth and this gives less exposure to natural UV rays. This can be a substantial cause of psoriasis flare ups in winter.
Here are few tips which can help you combat dryness of skin and keep your skin healthy during winters:
- Take a short bath with warm water: Although we crave for hot baths in winter, there is a marked increase in the dryness of skin after such steamy baths.
- Soaps rich in moisture should be used
- After bathing, do not rub the towel very harshly against skin. Rather pat your skin dry very gently and keep it a little wet before applying a moisturizer.
- Applying a moisturizer is a must. Moisturizing done immediately after the bath when skin is little wet is more effective than random moisturization done during other parts of the day.
- Alovera gel, olive oil, coconut oil are also good moisturizers along with other medicated or non-medicated moisturizers. One can also specially look for moisturizers with Vit E, Vit C and ceramides as these have special moisturizing effects on skin.
- Drink plenty of water: As one tends to feel less thirsty during winters due to cold weather, this can reduce the levels of water in body which can be the additional factor for dehydration of skin. Hence adequate water intake should be maintained even during winters.
If your skin disease is worsening this winter, do not worry. This is commonly seen in many patients. You may visit your skin doctor to confirm that the increase is not significant enough to be worried. If you would like a second opinion about homeopathy for skin diseases, do get in touch with Dr Rajesh Shah’s associate doctors at LifeForce Homeopathy. You may get in touch via the contact form below or call us at +91-22-66-888888. You can also email pictures of your skin disease at email@example.com
– Dr Mugdha R Patil, Associate Doctor to Dr Rajesh Shah, LifeForce Team