Winter itch

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Winter itch is a persistent or intermittent itching of dry skin, often accompanied by scaling. It occurs when the moisture level in the skin drops. Advancing age of the patient can increase the severity of the symptoms.


All about winter itch

Winter itch is associated with dry, itchy skin, especially on the arms, legs, and sides of one’s body that occurs during the dry winter weather. It can be accompanied by red rashes that look blotchy, scaly, and might progress to raised dried brawny-colored patches. Skin lines become accentuated and fine cracking can occur.


  • Indoor heating dries the air inside buildings.
  • Long hot water baths
  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Strong soaps wash away the natural body oil, especially deodorant soaps.
  • Allergic or chemical reaction to fabric softeners remaining in pillowcases or clothing.


  • Prefer shower to bathing.
  • Use warm and not hot for baths.
  • If you are keen to use the bath tub, do not stay more than 10-15 minutes. *Avoid deodorant soaps if you get rashes.
  • Switch to an oil-based cream or lotion and apply it often.
  • Use a humidifier at home and in the office.
  • Do not forget the sunscreen, the fruit and the water if you are outdoors even for brief periods, and especially if you’re skiing.
  • Have strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, plum, and foods with essential fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts and canola oil.
  • Drink water and green tea in sufficient quantities to hydrate body cells and increase anti-inflammatory chemistry.
  • If you are exercising, you need more fluid.

What can I do?

  1. Moisturize daily. Cream moisturizers are better than lotions for normal to dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer without fragrance or lanolin.
  2. Cleanse your skin, but don't overdo it. Too much cleansing removes skin's natural moisturizers. It is enough to wash your face, hands, feet, and between the folds of your skin once a day. While you can rinse your trunk, arms, and legs daily; it is not necessary to use soap or cleanser on these areas every day.
  3. Limit the use of hot water and soap. If you have "winter itch," take short lukewarm showers or baths with a non-irritating, non-detergent-based cleanser. Immediately afterward, apply a mineral oil or petroleum jelly type moisturizer. Gently pat skin dry.
  4. Avoid extreme cold. See a doctor immediately if you develop color changes in your hands or feet accompanied by pain or ulceration.
  5. See your dermatologist. If you have persistent dry skin, scaling, itching, skin growths that concern you, or other rashes, see your dermatologist -- not only in winter but throughout the year.


  • Results of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) suggest that at least 81 million Americans experience dry, itchy or scaly skin during the winter months due to blasts of colder, dryer air, winter sun exposure and over-heated homes and offices. [1]


  • How To Stop Winter From Weathering Your Skin
  • Winter Itch or Xerotic Eczema


  1. Skin Needs 'Winterizing' To Head Off Damage:Science Daily