Coping with dry winter skin

Spring flowers may already be showing signs of life in some parts of the country, but the ongoing cold winds remind us that winter’s not over yet – and we could be in for several more weeks of low temperatures.

If you have eczema or other dry skin condition, this doesn’t just mean hanging on to your thermals for a while longer – it can mean a longer struggle to keep your skin healthy too.

According to leading health charity Allergy UK, eczema affects up to 10 percent of adults and up to 20 percent of school children. And the cold weather is the single biggest trigger for their condition, with 91 percent of people with eczema claiming their skin dries out more in winter.

This suggests up to 3.8 million adults in the UK are suffering during the colder months – and the prospect of several more weeks of winter weather could cause them further distress. Turning up the heating at home may even worsen dry skin symptoms, says the charity, thanks to a lack of ventilation. A warm, stuffy house may also provide the perfect environment for house dust mites – which can also trigger the symptoms of eczema in those who are susceptible.

Thankfully, your local Careway pharmacist can help you to manage dry winter skin until the weather improves. Ask your pharmacist about topical treatments called emollients, which are designed to calm and soothe dry skin by creating a protective barrier on the top layer of the skin, which helps to keep it moisturised. There are several types of emollients available:

  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Ointments
  • Shower and bath products
  • Soap substitutes

If your skin is dry and itchy during the winter or indeed at any other time, Allergy UK recommends using emollients every day, even when your skin seems healthy (this helps to keep the symptoms under control).

Meanwhile, there are a few other things you could do to manage dry skin this winter:

  • Where possible, wear cotton or silk next to your skin, as these fabrics don’t irritate the skin as much as wool or man-made fibres.
  • Wash your clothes in detergents and fabric conditioners designed for sensitive skin.
  • Eczema symptoms can worsen when you’re stressed or anxious, so try to do something every day that helps you to relax.
  • Keep your nails short and clean to reduce the damage to your skin from unintentional scratching.

For more information on treatments for dry skin conditions, speak to your local pharmacist. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy today by using our Pharmacy Finder.