The other day my daughter exclaimed while pointing at my neck, “Mommy! You have all these red scratch marks on your neck!”
I had been absent mindedly and half heartedly scratching at the driest parts of my body- the base of my neck and between my shoulder blades.
This annual ritual begins about November when the nights get cold, the air dryer, and the static electricity starts to spark. My kids mark the advent of the Winter Itch season with their Ronald McDonald red irritated lips and flyaway hair.
Hands take on a reddish, inflamed hue and knuckles tend to crack. Does this sound familiar?
If so, you likely suffer from a version of many skin issues that flare in the colder, drier, winter months (depending where you live).
The medical terminology varies (atopic dermatitis, xerosis, eczema, etc) but the treatment is basically the same.
1. Minimize direct exposure to the elements (wind, sun and water).
2. Use emollients; those are the moisturizers in jars or tub containers. They are richer than your regular creams and help with retaining moisture in your skin.
3. Decrease the water temperature you wash or bathe in. Better yet, skip the long soaks in the bath tub. Short showers with tepid water is the way to go. Hot water will dry out your skin more.
4. Drink plenty of water. Hydration starts from within.
5. Use cool mist humidifier to add moisture back to the dry air in the home.
6. Seek medical care for prescription topical treatments as needed for more severe cases.
Doing the above not only limits the contortions you go through to get that itch, but it can also help prevent complications like secondary bacterial infections and scarring from all that scratching.