The lower humidity, cold temperatures and wind that come with winter can wreak havoc on women’s skin. Our skin, made up mostly of water, acts as a barrier to all unhealthy things that might attempt to enter our bodies.
In the winter months, humidity in the air is reduced. Less humidity means less water for our skin. And that compromises our skin’s ability to be that effective barrier.
One skin issue that can be worse in the winter is eczema. With eczema, the skin has a hard time retaining water, leaving it dry, itchy and inflamed. Combine that with less water from reduced humidity in the winter, and people suffering from eczema can get hit twice as hard.
Psoriasis is another skin issue that can affect women in the winter. With psoriasis, dry scaly patches form on the skin. Sunlight is said to be good for treating psoriasis. However during the winter months, there is less sunlight and this can make the condition worse.
Other winter skin issues include ichthyosis, nummular dermatitis and winter itch.
Ichthyosis is characterized by scaly patches — usually in the shape of diamonds that appear on one’s legs. Those who have experienced it say it can be terribly painful.
Nummular dermatitis is another condition characterized by scaly patches. In this case, they tend to be round. Like ichthyosis, these scaly patches tend to favor the legs. Fortunately prescription creams are an easy treatment.
Winter itch is a condition that can happen when we wear heavy, warm winter clothing. Lack of circulating air can make sweat accumulate and irritate the pores of our already dry skin. Crusty, itchy bumps may appear. To treat winter itch, a prescription medication may be needed from your doctor, according to Advanced Dermatology.
Other more common skin issues that women are susceptible to in winter include severe dryness, sunburn and windburn. These can leave women’s skin and lips chapped, cracked and flaky.
Many women notice that their hands and legs seem to get particularly dry and scaly during the winter months. This is due to the lack of oil glands in our skin in those areas. When you combine less oil in the skin with winter’s cold and dry air, that equates to dry and scaly skin.
Summer isn't the only time to be wary of the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays don’t care what season it is, and can damage women’s skin all year long.
Skiing and other outdoor activities that take place at higher mountain elevations put women closer to the sun, and directly exposed to getting both a sunburn and windburn which results in chapped, cracked and dry skin.
Catanese, Nicole. "Four Common Winter Skin Problems." Self.com. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.
Dr. Forman Taub, Amy. "Winter Skin – Itchy, Dry and Associated Rashes, Winter 2015 Newsletter." Advanced Dermatology Blog Winter Skin Itchy Dry and Associated Rashes Winter 2015 Newsletter Comments. 26 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.
MacMillan, Amanda. "Winter Skin Annoyances, Solved." Health.com. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.
Tzeses, Jennifer. "Winter Beauty Woes--Solved." Woman's Day. 12 Dec. 2011. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.
Reviewed November 6, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith