Do you experience this sudden itching sensation during winter? There’s in fact, a term for it – it’s called the Winter Itch! Generally, it is more prominent on your lower legs, arms, hands, abdomen and areas of friction like the soles and ankles. It is caused by dryness of the skin due to cold weather. When humidity levels drop, the dry and cold weather cause loss of water from the superficial layer of the skin (epidermis).
Itching is the key symptom of dryness. If left untreated, the Winter Itch may lead to scratching which can cause a breakdown of the skin layer, creating complications such as Eczema, Bacterial Dermatitis, Cellulitis, etc. Fortunately, the Winter Itch is just a beginning and can be prevented and treated with some simple measures.
Tips to Reduce the Winter Itch
- Coconut Oil: The saturated fatty acids present in coconut oil are natural emollients which moisturize the skin by filling the gaps in dry skin, making it smooth. It significantly improves skin hydration and increases the lipid layer in the epidermis. It is one of the safest moisturizers which can even be applied to sensitive areas of skin like underneath the eyes or around the mouth.
- Oatmeal Bath: is an age-old remedy which has found its scientific backup from various research studies. Colloidal oatmeal is anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. It helps in reducing inflammation, soothes the skin and binds with it to make a protective barrier. Make sure the water is warm and not too hot so that it doesn’t make the skin drier. You can make your own colloidal oatmeal at home by blending raw oatmeal finely in a food processor. Do apply a moisturizer after taking the bath to lock the protective barrier.
- Peppermint Oil: Peppermint, the essential oil, contains menthol and is found to be quite effective in treating itchy skin. Its cooling effect instantly soothes the skin and reduces the urge to scratch.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe Vera is a natural coolant and moisturizer which you can easily grow in your kitchen garden! Clean and wash the Aloe Vera before applying to avoid any pollutants and dust particles. Aloe Vera’s wound healing property may help in quickening the healing of broken, rough patches of skin. You can mix it with essential oils like mint oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil as well to enhance its effectiveness!
- Honey: Because of its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing properties, honey is found to be quite effective in reducing skin itching and irritation. You can directly apply it on the affected part, keep it for a few minutes and wash thoroughly!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: According to some studies, taking a bath with Apple Cider Vinegar mixed warm water has been found to be very soothing and hydrating for the skin. It is particularly helpful in relieving an itchy scalp. Dilute the Apple cider vinegar in water with 1:1 ratio, apply to the scalp and rinse thoroughly after drying with warm water. The acetic acid present in it makes it a natural wound healer and disinfectant.
- Consume Antioxidants and Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Winter Itch is more prominent on damaged and unhealthy skin. Foods rich in antioxidants can minimize the damage from toxins and help the body make more healthy cells! Antioxidants are abundantly present in seasonal fruits and vegetables available during the winter season. Some of them include berries, carrots, beans, peas, tomatoes, lentils, etc. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like fish, seeds and nuts contribute to healthy and glowing skin!
Some additional measures you can take include:
- Avoid hot and long baths.
- Use a gentle soap and mild cleanser
- Avoid direct contact of the skin with certain materials which can irritate the skin. For instance, woollen cloths and nylon among others. Instead, wear natural, breathable material like cotton.
- Try a humidifier at home
- Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking a good amount of water.
We hope these tips help you relieve the Winter Itch and keep your skin glowing and healthy! How do you deal with the Winter Itch? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.