"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Cold weather brings itchy, irritated, dry and rough skin – the right way to treat eczema and other skin conditions and when to see a physician.

In many parts of the United States, the winter months bring cold temperatures and dry conditions that may wreak havoc on the skin.

The primary role of the skin, as the most important organ of the body, is to act as a physical barrier to the external environment. When your skin is healthy, it helps protect you from allergens and infections. But within the winter, when the skin temperature and humidity drop, skin may be especially liable to irritation.

we're one Dermatologist And a Medical students who read Wide range of common skin conditions and environmental effects on skin health.

Heading into the winter months, a handful of common dermatological conditions can worsen or worsen in response to the cold. These include eczema, chilblains, Raynaud's phenomenon, cold urticaria and cold panniculitis. All are conditions that may be annoying and uncomfortable, and a few are harder to treat than others. So it's helpful to know when to self-manage these conditions and when to see a dermatologist.

Although eczema most frequently affects children, a form affects people 60 years of age or older.


Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes dry and itchy skin and may be triggered by soaps and detergents, environmental or food allergies, hormonal changes, and skin infections. There are several varieties of eczema, often with overlapping symptoms.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, eczema affects greater than 30 million Americans.
Tylum/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Esthetotic eczemaAlso often known as winter itch, it is not uncommon in older adults. During the winter months, the skin can change into dry and, in some cases, cracked, cracked and inflamed.

Severe dandruff could cause itchiness and itching. As a result, it could possibly create open sores that allow allergens and bacteria to penetrate the skin and cause a rash or infection.

This sort of eczema normally occurs on the lower legs, but eruptions can occur anywhere on the skin, resembling the trunk, arms, and hands.

Keeping the skin hydrated is the first treatment. Water-based lotions can worsen dry skin, due to this fact Applying a moisturizer with an oil content – resembling petroleum jelly, mineral oil or Vaseline – really helpful on wet or damp skin. Hypoallergenic and anti-itch moisturizers designed specifically for eczema are also available.

Other suggestions include replacing long hot baths with quick hot showers, switching to mild soaps, and using a room humidifier if the climate is dry. If itching and dryness persist, seek care from a dermatologist, who may prescribe a topical steroid.

Hand eczema can even worsen in winter. Hands are often exposed to cold, dry air.. Scaling, cracking and bleeding are common on the hands. Minimizing exposure to harsh or antibacterial soaps, in addition to applying an unscented petroleum-based moisturizer after using mild cleansing products, may improve symptoms.


ChilblainsAlso often known as parenio, are small, itchy bumps that may occur when the skin is exposed to cold and damp weather, leading to swollen and painful spots that appear on the fingers, toes, Affects the ears and face. poor circulation, Narrowing of blood vesselsA history of autoimmune disease and weight reduction can predispose people to chilblains.

Against a blue background, a woman's hand shows chilblains -- swollen, bright red marks on her middle and ring fingers just below the nails.
Although they typically heal when shielded from the cold, chilblains may be painful.
Elizabeth Fernandez/The Moment via Getty Images

Affected areas are painful, itchy, swollen and frequently blue to purple in color. In severe cases, blisters and ulcers may occur. But for most individuals, the condition resolves by itself inside one to 3 weeks.

Until this happens, it is necessary to guard the affected areas from the cold. If the sensitive area starts to blister, or if fever, muscle aches and chills appear, it's best to see a dermatologist or physician.

Pseudo chilblainsAlso often known as “COVID toes,” it could possibly be attributable to a COVID-19 infection. Chilblains related to COVID-19 resemble the rash in chilblains – painful red to blue nodules on the fingers – but aren't specific to winter.

Dry, cracked skin can result in infection.

Raynaud's phenomenon

Like Chilblain, Raynaud's phenomenon is a skin condition characterised by a big constriction of the blood vessels within the fingers and toes in response to exposure to cold. The digits may be red or blue, but they quickly turn red when reheated. Affected areas might also be numb or painful, and when severe, ulcers may develop.

Against a black background, an adult hand with a pale middle finger shows Raynaud's phenomenon.
Although Raynaud's phenomenon normally affects the fingers and toes, it could possibly also affect the nose, ears, and lips.
Barb Elkin/iStock via Getty Images Plus

To treat Raynaud's phenomenon, it is necessary to avoid exposure to cold weather. Ideally, Raynaud's patients should dress for the cold in layers. At a minimum, be sure you wear gloves and insulated shoes. Avoid tobacco, caffeine and decongestants; They could cause Further narrowing of blood vessels. If symptoms don't improve quickly — cold-induced Raynaud's normally gets higher after just a couple of minutes — see a dermatologist or your doctor, as Raynaud's phenomenon may also be a symptom. A more serious systemic diseaseincluding cancer, infection and/or trauma.

Cold rash

Cold rash A skin rash is believed to be triggered by an autoimmune response, which results in the discharge of inflammatory molecules, including histamine.

A woman's arm is covered in blotchy red marks known as hives.
Cold urticaria is usually often known as hives.
Alec Scott/i Stock via Getty Images

Immediately after a sudden drop in skin temperature, hives – also often known as hives – may develop. These are red, itchy and swollen patches of skin. Such episodes can last for about two hours. Occasionally, other symptoms accompany the outbreak, including headache, chills, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

People can use it to check for cold urticaria. The ice cube test. It is finished by simply placing an ice cube on the skin for five minutes. If you will have cold sores, the skin will swell and itch inside five to quarter-hour. Treatment includes avoiding cold exposure and using over-the-counter antihistamines.

For those that have experienced cold urticaria, Swimming in cold water Can be dangerous, as it could possibly cause unconsciousness and drowning.

Cold panniculitis

Cold panniculitis – which appear as raised, red and painful nodules on the skin – develop 12 to 72 hours after exposure to a chilly.

Cases of cold panniculitis have been documented Kids eat popsicles. and in treated adults Whole body cryotherapywhich is commonly used as a treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions resembling rheumatoid arthritis, or to enhance recovery after exercise.

Colds are more common in childhood and frequently resolve on their very own by avoiding cold exposure and direct contact with frozen products.

Symptoms of winter skin conditions are sometimes self-limiting and resolve on their very own with proper protection from the cold. But if symptoms don't resolve, you need to see a licensed dermatologist, as cold sores could also be more of a symptom of an underlying health condition.

If visiting your dermatologist in person proves difficult, you might consider seeing a dermatologist in practice, as many academic medical centers and personal practices now do. Telehealth offers dermatology..