Itchy Skin Problem and treatment In Winter
One of the most common problems that people face during the winter is itchy skin. Cold temperature with low humidity results in winter itch. These symptoms are common in people with sensitive skin and allergies, and are often aggravated by the cold, dry air and severe temperatures of the season. Dry air takes away the thin layer of oil that traps moisture in the skin, flaring itchy and painful conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and severe dry skin.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a chronic skin disease in which patches of skin become irritated or inflamed, causing itching and the formation of rashes or blisters. Eczema can occur secondary to loss of skin moisture or even due to a reaction to an irritant or allergen, but oftentimes there is not a clear external cause. Atopic dermatitis (also called atopic eczema) is a common type of eczema often associated with a hypersensitive reaction to an allergen. Eczema can be commonly found on areas of the body that bend, such as behind the knees and inner elbows/forearms, as well as on the face, neck, wrists, scalp, arms, legs, chest and back.
How Can Eczema Flare-ups Be Prevented?
Eczema outbreaks can sometimes be avoided or the severity lessened by following these simple tips.
- Moisturize frequently.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature or humidity.
- Avoid sweating or overheating.
- Reduce stress.
- Avoid scratchy materials, such as wool.
- Avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and solvents.
- Be aware of any foods that may cause an outbreak and avoid those foods.
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. This build-up of cells causes scaling on the skin’s surface. Inflammation and redness around the scales is fairly common. Typical psoriatic scales are whitish-silver and develop in thick, red patches. Sometimes, these patches will crack and bleed. Psoriasis is the result of a sped-up skin production process. Typically, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface.
Luckily, there are many treatments. Some slow the growth of new skin cells, and others relieve itching and dry skin. Common treatments include:
- Steroid creams
- Moisturizers for dry skin
- Coal tar (a common treatment for scalp psoriasis; available in lotions, creams, foams, shampoos, and bath solutions)
- Vitamin D cream (a strong kind
- Ordered by your doctor; vitamin D in foods and pills has no effect)
- Retinoid creams
Eczema vs. psoriasis
The time of onset is different
- Eczema is most common in babies and young kids. In many cases, the symptoms will become less severe as the child gets older, and the skin condition may also occur in adults.
- Psoriasis can begin at any time, but it’s most common between the ages of 15 and 30. It’s also not unusual for psoriasis to begin later in life, between 50 and 60.
Treatment differs for psoriasis and eczema
- People suffering from eczema can use topical creams and lotions to help manage the dryness and irritation, and cold compresses to relieve painful itching. Your doctor might also prescribe an antihistamine or corticosteroid.
- Doctors may also prescribe topical or oral treatments for your psoriasis to stop your skin cells from reproducing so quickly. These could include biologics, light therapy, topical corticosteroids, retinoid or salicylic acid. You can also manage the condition at home by taking oatmeal baths to alleviate itching and using a humidifier to help prevent dryness and irritation.