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Winter rash can cause sleepless nights! Here’s how to get rid of it

Winter rash can be extremely uncomfortable. However, with a few lifestyle changes, you can make sure to keep it at bay.
Woman experiencing a winter rash
A winter rash can be caused due to very hot showers or irritating clothing. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 20 Dec 2023, 01:15 pm IST
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While the chilly season reminds us of cosy winter evenings with a blanket and a steamy mug of hot chocolate; red, dry and itchy skin is a rather ugly side of the season. Cold weather can end up taking a toll on our body, especially our skin. The lack of moisture in the air makes the skin dry. As if that’s not all, thick woollen clothing, or the constant super-hot showers that we take, can all contribute to a winter rash.

Red blisters, scaly skin and irritation are common symptoms of this rash. Health Shots got in touch with dermatologist Dr Priyanka Kuri, who tells us how to diagnose as well as cure a winter rash.

What causes winter rash?

Low humidity leads to skin problems such as dehydration, and this is a big cause of winter rashes. Besides this, exposure to harsh cold winds, having a bath with very hot water, and wearing tight, irritating clothing, can also lead to rashes during this season. Additionally, certain skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis may worsen in winter, says Dr Kuri.

Woman protects her skin in winter
A winter rash can be prevented by hydrating your skin well. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Also, if you already suffer from eczema, rosacea, dermatitis, or have allergies and sensitive skin, you are more prone to getting a winter rash. And if a winter rash is not medically cured and followed by a lifestyle change, it can even reoccur and also last the entire season!

How is a winter rash different from other skin rashes?

A great way to understand that the rash you have is due to the weather is to analyse the time you get it. Seasonal change has a big impact on our body. “The best way to distinguish a winter rash is to consider the seasonal onset. Besides this, exacerbated dryness, and other exposure factors can also help diagnose a winter rash. A dermatologist may perform a physical examination, inquire about lifestyle changes, and sometimes conduct patch tests to rule out allergies. Biopsy or additional tests might be required in persistent or severe cases,” explains Dr Kuri.

Also Read: Hydrate your skin and banish dryness with this DIY avocado and olive oil face mask

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Winter rashes commonly show up as dry, red patches, often on exposed areas like the face and hands. However, further investigations must be done, says Dr Kuri. “Microscopic examination of skin scrapings may be performed to rule out fungal infections, while patch testing helps identify potential allergens worsening the condition.”

However, some symptoms of a winter rash might mirror those of other rashes.

“Winter rashes may be confused with other common skin conditions such as eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, and allergic reactions. Eczema shares similarities with winter rashes in terms of redness and itching, while psoriasis is usually present as dry, scaly patches,” says Dr Kuri. Allergic reactions to certain fabrics or skin care products can mimic the symptoms of a winter rash as well.

How to treat a winter rash?

It is safe to say that there is nothing more irritating than the constant desire to itch a rash. However, there are ways to relieve this itching. Treatment for winter rashes involves moisturising regularly with a fragrance-free cream, using mild soaps, and avoiding hot water.

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A woman applying cream
Winter creams also help keep dry skin at bay. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Topical corticosteroids can alleviate inflammation, while antihistamines may relieve the itching. “Severe cases may require prescription-strength medications. Aloe vera gel and coconut oil are beneficial treatments as they contain both antibacterial and moisturizing elements,” adds the expert These remedies are safe for application on cracked skin. Additionally, oatmeal baths can be effective for soothing dry and itchy skin.

Also Read: How to prevent windburn, a winter skin condition that’s often ignored

How to prevent a winter rash?

Prevention is always better than cure. So if you are wondering if a winter rash can be prevented, the answer is yes. There are practical steps to take that can reduce your risk of winter rash.

“Preventing winter rashes involves maintaining skin hydration through regular moisturising,” says Dr Kuri. Besides this, wearing protective clothing like gloves and scarves also helps protect your skin against the harsh winds and weather. You can also try using humidifiers to counteract indoor dryness. Additionally, avoiding long, hot showers and choosing hypoallergenic skincare products can also contribute to prevention of winter rashes.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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