Cold Weather = Skin Damage

By Heather Legg

We tend to think of summer time being the one that reeks havoc on our skin. Well, not that it doesn’t, but we can’t forget the trials that the dry, cold air puts on our skin. It’s hard to forget with the dry, itchy, irritated skin a lot of get. So what to do?

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do, from the inside and out. Drink extra fluids and plug in your humidifiers. Use good hydrating lotions and creams a few times a day, especially after bathing. Watch your alcohol intake, too – it can really dehydrate and dry out your skin.

While you are choosing your lotion, be aware of what’s in it. You want to find the purest brands with the least additives, fragrances, colors and even leave out the antibacterial components. While it’s important to stay germ free during these winter months, too, the antibacterial elements in lotions can irritate already dry skin.

My daughter and her friends were playing outside on a cold day, no gloves of course. When they came in, one of the girls felt her hands were cold and dry so she washed them and then loaded up with lotion. She wasn’t aware that the lotion was antibacterial until after she slathered it on her hands. Because her hands were already irritated from the cold and dry, the additives in the lotion caused them to swell up and become even more irritated, red, itchy and sting. We think it was the antibacterial part of the lotion, but it could have been the fragrance or the color or anything else in there that normally wouldn’t bother her, but because her hands were already dry and susceptible, it caused problems.

Now, it wasn’t cause for a doctor visit or even medication, but it made her very uncomfortable and was a bit frightening to look at. Once the lotion is on, it’s hard to get off. We’ve experienced that in our own house with too strong lotion and sensitive skin.
You can’t really wash it off if it’s already soaked in to the skin. She did apply some warm, damp towels, which seemed to help a little, if nothing else to add back a little moisture and relax her a bit.

Though it’s not an allergic reaction per se, this was a skin reaction due to eczema and compromised skin. The best thing here is prevention and that means…moisture, moisture, moisture.

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