Does your skin get dry during the winter? Do you find yourself always scratching? You might have a problem with Winter Itch. Asteatotic eczema, also known as winter itch, is a problem with severely dry skin that is usually chronic and is made worse in winter time due to low humidity. For most people this problem comes every year around the same time. If this is a problem you face every winter, we can put a stop to your itching.
Asteatotic eczema affects approximately 9% of the population, and can affect anyone. The most common area affected is the lower legs, which looks and feels extremely dry. Itching is the most common symptom; however a burning and stinging sensation can occur. In more extreme cases fissuring and crusting can occur.
What makes the condition worse?
Winter itch can be exacerbated by hot showers or baths, changes in temperature, stress, and allergies or asthma. Wools, pets, soaps, and certain foods can be a trigger for your dermatitits which will cause the rash to occur; if a rash is already present than it can also make it worse.
What is the treatment?
Therapy depends on the stage of the condition. For mild cases of winter itch a good moisturizer should suffice, however more extensive cases may require a prescription cream. A topical steroid may be used if the itching is not being resolved with a moisturizer. All moisturizers should be applied directly after a shower or bath while the skin is still moist so the body can lock in the moisture. Strong soaps with fragrances and hot showers should be avoided and instead a luke-warm shower or bath can be taken.
Many over the counter cleansers, moisturizers, and exfoliants can irritate the skin, or may simply not work. Skin care products containing botanicals, natural antioxidants, and vitamins can be very soothing and protect against transepidermal water loss. It is best to discuss your skin care program with a dermatologist.
If you have a problem with winter itch or any other skin problem, you should come in and see Dr. Kayal for a skin consultation. There are many treatment options for all skin issues, don’t spend your entire winter itching!