Winter Rash: Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies

  • Winter rashes commonly occur during cold temperatures where the skin becomes dry and itchy due to moisture loss.
  • Rashes can appear anywhere on the body but most especially on the arms, legs and hands.
  • While anyone can have a winter rash, people with sensitive skin, asthma and have skin conditions are more likely to develop them.

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your body. Extremely low temperatures can sap the moisture from your skin making it dry and itchy. Hence, rashes tend to appear.

Typically known as winter rashes, these commonly occur as an allergic reaction to cold weather and can even recur or last throughout the winter season. Good thing, there are several winter rash remedies available that can help improve skin health to avoid further skin issues.

Signs of a Winter Rash

A winter rash can appear on any part of the body particularly your hands, arms and legs. It may include any of the symptoms below:

  • Redness or swelling
  • Itching and flaking on the skin
  • Bumps
  • Noticeable blisters
  • Rough skin patches

Who is most at risk?

Anyone can suffer from a winter rash, however, some people have higher risks of getting it. Those suffering from a skin allergy or any other skin condition are more prone to having a winter rash. Aside from this, your chances of having one can also be higher if you have a history of the following:

  • Skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea and other allergies
  • Asthma
  • Sensitive skin
  • Spending a lot of time outdoors without adequate skin protection

Why winter rashes develop

The skin’s outer layer of natural oils and dead skin cells protects the skin, keeping it soft and moisturized. When you’re outdoors, cold temperatures, low humidity and harsh winds strip this protective layer from the skin. But it doesn’t get any better when indoors, turning up the heat and taking showers, because these hinder your skin from recovering. With all these factors combined, the skin becomes dry, itchy and irritated during winter.

Other causes include:

  • Sensitivity to chemical-filled soaps and detergents
  • Psoriasis or eczema
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Latex allergy
  • High stress levels and fatigue
  • Sunburns

How are winter rashes diagnosed?

Winter rashes are often detected during a physical exam. Your symptoms and medical history will help ascertain what’s causing your winter rash so your doctor can prescribe treatments.

If you were exposed to chemicals lately, your rash can possibly be due to dry skin.

If you’re regularly moisturizing your skin and avoiding the sun or cold, your rash may be due to something else. Or you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to medication or any skin care product. Or maybe you have skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis.

What are the effective home remedies for a winter rash?

Most home treatments are inexpensive and don’t require a prescription. Some of these include:

  • Moisturizers: Also called the first defense against a winter rash, these are applied throughout the day especially after bathing and hand washing.
  • Petroleum Jelly or other petroleum options like Waxelene or Un-Petroleum that prevent moisture loss
  • Olive or coconut oil oils: Apply on the skin as needed. It relieves irritated skin and restores moisture.
  • Vegetable shortening: Applied after bathing or before bed.
  • Bathing with milk for about 10 minutes to reduce skin itching.
  • Soaking in oatmeal baths for 10 minutes to help soothe your skin.
  • Over-the –counter topical cortisone creams to help relieve skin redness, itching and swelling.
  • Lifestyle changes like taking fewer baths, wearing clothes that can make your skin breathe, installing a humidifier and always using sunscreen when going outdoors.

Winter rash is not a medical emergency. If your rash is bleeding or becomes painful despite OTC and home treatments, contact your doctor or dermatologist immediately to prevent your rash from putting you at risk for infection.

Source: Healthline