Colder weather and indoor heating can play havoc with your skin and even aggravate existing problems. But help is at hand from your Pharmacist.
Some health problems are worse during the winter than at other times of the year, and dry skin is one of them.
The fact is that the weather can affect your skin, especially when it turns cold. One of the problems is that humidity levels in winter are much lower than during the summer, even on rainy days. And when the humidity is very low, it can extract moisture from the skin, making it feel drier than usual. Central heating can make the air in your home very dry too.
Thankfully there are several things you can do to keep on top of your seasonal skin problems.
Even normal skin can feel tight and uncomfortable during the colder months. That’s because your skin’s natural moisture is depleted by harsh winds, central heating, low humidity and even hot baths and showers. Try switching to a richer moisturiser to stop your skin’s natural moisture from evaporating. Apply plenty of moisturiser after a warm – not hot – bath or shower while your skin is still moist; then if you need it, apply more again before you go to bed.
What else can you do? Try to drink at least two litres of water a day to avoid dehydration, and eat a healthy balanced diet with fresh fruits, lots of vegetables and proteins to give your skin the essential nutrients it needs. Also wrap up as much as possible when you’re outdoors and wear gloves to protect your hands.
Eczema and psoriasis
Conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can feel worse during the winter, thanks to the lack of humidity. Dampness can also aggravate eczema, says the NHS. And according to the Psoriasis Association, being exposed to sunlight less frequently can also contribute to winter psoriasis flare-ups.
How to treat them: If you’re affected by either eczema or psoriasis, it’s important to take care of your skin as your GP recommends. Treatments for eczema include medical moisturisers and soap substitutes called emollients, which are available over the counter at pharmacies as well as on prescription. If you have eczema, you should use emollients all the time, even when your skin feels normal.
Rosacea and facial flushing
If you have episodes of flushing where your skin – usually on your face – turns red for a short time and is accompanied by a burning or stinging sensation, you may have a skin condition called rosacea. Treatments designed to help keep rosacea under control are available from your GP or a dermatologist. These include skin creams and gels as well as oral antibiotics.
Ways to help yourself: Thankfully there are things you can do yourself to relieve the symptoms of rosacea. Try to avoid alcohol and spicy foods, and take steps to reduce stress. And at this time of year, covering your face and nose with a scarf when you go outside may also be helpful.
Ask your Pharmacist about colour-correcting moisturisers or makeup to help disguise any patches of persistent red skin if you are bothered by them. Your Pharmacist can also recommend skincare products that are suitable for sensitive skin, which may help reduce redness.