How To Identify And Alleviate Winter Itch Symptoms

Winter itch symptoms got you down? It’s not uncommon for skin to start to feel tight, dehydrated, and itchy as cool weather develops.

In fact, this so-called “winter itch” can happen to just about anyone, regardless of their skin type or condition.

However, for people who suffer from dry, itchy eczema symptoms all year-round, winter itch can mean even more severe patches of dry, flaky, and uncomfortable skin.

Here’s what you need to know about winter itch, why it happens, and what you can do to relieve your winter itch symptoms.


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Winter Itch Explained

Winter Itch and humility

So why is it that the winter weather seems to bring with it so many problems for our skin?

The main issue is that in most regions, the level of humidity in the air begins to decrease in the winter, which means that there is less moisture available in the air for your skin to pull in.

That’s why virtually anyone of any age and with any skin type, eczema or not, can experience itchy, dry skin in the winter (University of Iowa).

If you are someone who struggles with eczema, though, you may notice that your winter itch symptoms tend to worsen in the colder months due to the low humidity levels of the air.

Other seasonal triggers for eczema include scratchy fabrics like wool, heavily fragranced moisturizers, and even holiday stress.

How to Alleviate Winter Dry Skin Symptoms

Eksem Moisturizering Body Cream

The good news is that there are a few key steps you can take to help alleviate dry, itchy winter skin and prevent new patches of flaky skin from developing.

  • Use a non-irritating, nourishing moisturizer. Your choices of moisturizing skin care products are practically endless. But that doesn’t mean they will all provide the same skin-soothing results. Many moisturizers, especially seasonal ones that come out around this time of year, are heavily fragranced and contain other harsh ingredients that can irritate and dry your skin even further. Instead, look for a gentle, non-irritating product like Eksem Moisturizing Body Cream that swaps out fragrances, preservatives, and steroids for essential micronutrients like vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Invest in a humidifier. Since the air around you naturally loses much of its moisture content in the winter months, you might want to try placing a humidifier in your home and/or office this time of year. By adding moisture back into the air, a humidifier may help your skin to not feel so dry, tight, and itchy, especially if it is on in your bedroom while you sleep.
  • Avoid irritants. Moisturizers aren’t the only products that can contain skin irritants that could be contributing to your winter itch symptoms. Many other skin care, cosmetic, and household products contain harsh ingredients that are known to irritate and dry the skin. Be on the lookout for sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), petrolatum, and even most essential oils, as these ingredients can all worsen your eczema or winter itch symptoms.
  • Keep your skin protected. Be sure to cover up your skin with warm, soft clothing when you go outside in colder weather and chilly winds. This can help to prevent your skin from losing moisture when exposed to the cold, dry air. It’s also important to continue to wear sunscreen, even in the winter, to keep your skin protected from the sun’s UV rays and its harmful effects (Skin Cancer Foundation). If you have very sensitive skin or a condition like eczema, you might have the best luck using a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, rather than a chemical sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or avobenzone.

Winter Itch Symptoms: The Bottom Line

You don’t have to simply live with uncomfortable, dry skin this winter.

By understanding what’s causing or worsening your winter itch symptoms, avoiding possible triggers, and following a few easy steps to help relieve dry skin symptoms, you should be able to enjoy comfortable, clear skin all year long.


About the Authors

Bill Goolsbee

William Goolsbee has spent his career in Life Sciences including leading roles in drug development in immunology and genetic medicine. Recent senior positions include Chairman of the Board at Sarepta Therapeutics and Founder and CEO at Metrodora Therapeutics.

Dr. Gil Price

Gil Price M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at the Propharma Group, where he provides medical supervision for all clinical trials. He previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Drug Safety Solutions, where he oversaw safety monitoring for drugs in clinical development. Dr. Price also served as the Director of Clinical Development at Medimmune Oncology and Director of Medical Affairs at Glaxo.

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