Now that the cold weather is upon us, many might think that itchiness caused by a heat rash is far behind us. Mistake not: wintery, cold weather can also produce rashes and itchy skin; sometimes, more than that in summer. In fact; a winter skin rash is often called ‘an itch that rashes’. What this means is that unlike a typical skin rash that itches, a winter rash starts with an itch which then leads to a rash. So if your body is itching during winter, this guide is for you. In it, I will be talking about the best supplements to take to keep your skin healthy and glowing all winter long.
Winter rash causes
Winter is characterized by cold, dry weather and there is hardly any humidity. It does not help that we run the heaters and furnaces indoors. So the environment in our offices and homes gets very dry and completely devoid of moisture. It also does not help that we do not drink adequate fluids since our body does not sweat as much as it does in summers. Woolen clothes can also abrade the sensitive skin causing further dryness and irritation. Check out my detailed article on causes and winter rash treatment remedies here.
What is the difference between winter itchy rash and heat rash?
Heat rash can occur in winters as well. You may have worn tight woolen clothes that cause sweating. If, due to some reason, your sweat glands are clogged, your skin breaks out into prickly heat like rash. The difference between heat rash and winter itchy rash is that a heat rash will be warm to touch, reddish in color, inflamed and accompanied by tiny irritated blisters. The rash may also ooze. Winter itchy rashes on the other hand, do not have pustules or blisters. They simply are characterized by dry, parched skin that is completely devoid of moisture.
Some home remedies to stop winter rash and itching
I have already discussed winter rash treatment in this article. Here’s a recap:
Avoid hot water baths
Bathing in very hot water might feel nice but it strips your body off natural oils. So avoid baths or bathe using tepid water. If you can, take alternate cold and warm showers which not only keep your skin supple and soft; they also prevent inflammation within the body. You can also add oatmeal to your bath water and soak in it for a few minutes. Oatmeal is soothing and heals rashes quickly. You may also add Epsom salts or essential oils to the bath water. Cut down your water exposure when doing the dishes. If needed, ask your kids or husband to do them. Use protective gloves as far as possible.
Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize
If you have itchy legs in winter at night, apply a soothing, hydrating and long lasting moisturizing lotion before bed and cover up your legs with light socks. Re-apply the lotion as often as needed. Use a separate ‘dry winter skin’ face lotion that won’t clog your pores. During the day, use a SPF based gel or lotion on the face, neck and arms.
Run a humidifier
Always run a cool or warm mist humidifier, especially while sleeping . The difference you will see in your skin will be tremendous. Heaters dry the skin and that leads to waking up coughing at night due to dry parched nasal tissues. This can cause the natural barrier of the skin to break.
Supplements for cold weather skin protection
While you must use a winter itch lotion, your skin also needs protection from within. Often, our diet is not adequate and that can cause deficiencies within the body. These deficiencies can lead to skin problems like dryness, itching, eczema etc. Here are some supplements to take for your skin. (Talk to your doctor if these supplements can be taken all year round)
Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that works especially well when taken with Vitamin C. Scientific benefits of taking Vitamin E are so overwhelming that there is no excuse not to take it. You need at least 400 IU of alpha tocopherol, 100 mg of beta tocopherol and 200 mg of gamma tocopherol. This will help keep your skin youthful, prevent seasonal rashes and also protect the skin from harmful UV radiation. Naturally, that does not excuse you from using a sunscreen.
Combined with grapeseed extract and flavonoid Quercetin, vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine that prevents skin rashes. It is best to get your vitamin C from food but if you do not eat healthy, you need to take at least 500 mg per day of ascorbic acid. In winters, taking higher dosage of vitamin C can also prevent coughs, colds and seasonal respiratory problems.
Other supplements for preventing winter skin rashes
Vitamin A, Biotin and Zinc
Deplete your boy of vitamins A, zinc and biotin and it won’t be long before a skin rash occurs. You need at least 15 mg zinc, 30 mcg biotin and 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day.
Vitamin D is proven to prevent chronic urticaria; a rash that causes red, itchy, raised bumps. Take at least 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
Coenzyme Q10 boosts collagen and is generally great for the skin. COQ10 supplements also prevent premature aging.
Other tips to prevent winter itch
- Take vitamins mentioned above.
- Wear cotton clothes. Avoid woolen or synthetic clothes that can aggravate the itch.
- Use a mild soap or not at all.
- Moisturize your skin after bath.
- Use a humidifier all day and night.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat hydrating foods like melons, berries, green tea, herbal tea, fresh fruit juices, salmon, walnuts, avocado, olive oil etc. Avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrate the body.
- Avoid scratching the skin. If needed, use a towel dipped in milk to ‘scratch’ the area.
- Avoid standing near the fireplace for too long.
- Bathe no more than 10 minutes. Use warm water and add oatmeal or cornstarch powder to it.
- Avoid spicy foods.
I hope these tips help you avoid winter itch.