During the winter season, dry skin is likely to occur among many individuals. The dry skin can eventually progress into scaly patches in areas that are not normally affected in other times of the year. In reality, the weather during winter can also cause the skin to lose moisture in the stratum corneum which is the outermost skin layer, resulting to skin that cracks and flakes.
Individuals who have pre-existing dry skin will suffer worsening of the skin during the winter season. Once the outdoor temperature drops, the humidity will fall as well, sucking up the moisture from the skin and making it dry. Even indoors, the heater that is supposed to make the environment comfortable will reduce the humidity inside the house and dries out the skin.
Scaly, red-colored patches called as discoid eczema can appear or become evident during the winter season. These round or oval dry skin spots on the skin can cause intense itchiness or can be hardly noticeable. The skin surrounding these areas can feel dry and tight. In most cases, the skin can become rough, flaky and itchy while the surface of the skin can fill with fine lines and cracks. Oftentimes, the dry skin can only occur during the winter season.
Dry patch issues
If the individual will scratch the dry skin patches, it can cause the skin to thicken and eventually cause sore cracking. The feet and hands are prone to this complication. The thick skin will appear leathery and rough.
Atopic dermatitis can develop which causes the skin to turn red, inflamed and cracked. This can allow a bacterial infection to develop. As for cellulitis, it is a severe bacterial infection that can develop under the skin and often accompanied by yellow crusts or pus that seeps from the cracked areas. Other possible complications include open sores, sleeplessness, scaling skin and peeling involving large regions as well as areas that are bleeding. It is important to seek immediate medical care if the individual suffers from any of these complications.
Treatment for parched patches
Hot water and harsh soaps must be avoided while bathing. The individual should bathe in warm water and use moisturizing soaps. Pat the skin dry using a towel and apply a moisturizer within three minutes after a shower or bath, particularly on the arms, hands and legs.
Over-the-counter topical cortisone creams must be applied over the dry patches. You can even apply a cool compress on the itchy area to help relieve the discomfort caused by the dry skin. If you want to learn how to properly use a cool compress, click here.
The individual should also avoid wool and other fabrics that are rough since they can irritate the skin. Gloves must be used during the winter for protection and apply a hand lotion. Additionally, the individual must be encouraged to drink plenty of water to keep the skin properly hydrated.