highwaystarz/Fotolia

How To Cure Itchy Winter Skin, According To Science

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I don't know about you, but I have dry skin 365 days a year. But in winter, I feel like it's doubly bad. The dry weather, the forced air heat everywhere you go, the harsh wind on your face and hands all add up to a dry, itchy mess. Fortunately, I've picked up some tips to help alleviate or eliminate the problem. Turns out, knowing how to cure itchy winter skin isn't too tough and might include some ideas you haven't thought about before.

When it comes to dry skin, the old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is absolutely true. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), dry skin is easier to prevent than to treat. Doing things like taking warm instead of hot showers (while limiting their duration), using unscented body products, and making sure you're well hydrated all go a long way in preventing the dreaded winter itch. If you do find yourself suffering, the AAD suggested that you stick with ointments and creams as opposed to traditional lotions you might use in the summer months, as they provide a deeper level of moisture. Also, apply that cream directly after coming out of the shower to lock in the moisture on your skin.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Why do you get such dry skin in the winter? According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, dry skin is cyclical, and highly affected by the weather and personal biology. You see, the layers of the skin are made up of different complex structures serving different purposes. While they must be fairly impenetrable, a small amount of water must be shed via the skin for waste and cooling purposes. The outer stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis, consists of mostly dead skin cells that shed off at regular intervals, but with varying degrees of irritation.

The irritation comes when the inner stratum corneum, which looks like a cubical lattice work of cells, begins edging up at the corners, noted the journal. This layer is made up of different chains of fatty acids, or lipids, and they serve to protect the skin from becoming irritated and protect the deeper layers of skin and the rest of your body from the outside. When the hydration cycle is disrupted by biology or exterior influences like the weather or perfumes, the delicate balance goes awry, causing irritation like that you see in the winter.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

I spoke to esthetician Joni Borshchizer of Brooklyn, New York and asked her about some possible cures for itchy winter skin. She tells Romper, "You need to get a really good lotion with alpha hydroxy acid in it, and put it on right away after you bathe." She suggests Eucerin Intesive Repair ($10, Target). These acids work with the moisturizer in the lotion to eliminate the peeling skin and work the moisture down deep.

Joni also suggests the use of a humidifier. These inexpensive appliances help keep the air in your home or office moist and comfortable, decreasing the irritation of winter on your skin. This should be used in combination with drinking plenty of water, and she notes, "Add some lemon or berry to your water. Those antioxidants help keep your skin glowing and fresh in the harshest conditions."

After you've done all of this, the cool shower, the lotion, the drinking, think about layering up with a protective barrier like petroleum jelly or Aquaphor if your skin is really dry. "It will give your skin a barrier between it and the cold wind." Joni notes that protection is key in the battle against the winter itch, and that if you are religious in your routine, you can prevent much of what ails your skin during the cold winter months.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}