Is Winter Weather Hurting Your Hands? Check For Atopic Dermatitis

Health & Medical Blog

While it's normal for people's hands to dry out and become itchy in the winter due to less moisture in the air, severe scaling and rashes on the skin could be linked to atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, a chronic skin condition where skin can become red and itchy. While it can flare up at any time, winter weather can certainly exacerbate the condition. Read on to learn more about eczema, why you might have it, and how to treat it.

What Causes Eczema?

The National Institutes of Health Institute says that variations in the gene KIF3A can cause impairment in your skin barrier, thus making it easier for your skin to lose moisture and develop eczema. Certain autoimmune diseases, like lupus or inflammatory bowel disease, can also make it more likely for a person to develop eczema. If you have allergies, you can also develop eczema in response to an allergen.

Why Does Wintertime Cause Eczema Flare-ups?

Again, there's less moisture in the air, meaning that your hands can dry out easily. However, there are other possible reasons for winter flare-ups. If you go in and out of doors, your skin is exposed to extreme temperature variations, which can cause flare-ups. Another reason winter can cause flare-ups is because there is less sunlight during daytime hours. The sun helps your body create vitamin D, a necessary tool for the skin to repair itself; with less sunlight, you may not be getting sufficient vitamin D and your skin may suffer as a result. Although unrelated to the weather itself, wintertime does bring with it scented holiday products, like peppermint and gingerbread soaps; while some of these products smell nice, they can act as allergens and be irritating to people prone to eczema.

How Can You Treat it?

While eczema cannot be cured, there are lots of ways to manage the condition. You'll want to visit your doctor first for a diagnosis. While you may be suffering from eczema, the symptom may be indicative of an underlying health issue and not specifically caused by winter weather.

Although it's tempting to take scalding hot showers and baths during the winter, you should opt for warm temperatures instead. Hot water can dry out the skin and leave your hands prone to flare-ups. Look for soaps, shampoos, and other products that are geared towards people with allergies. If you need to expose your hands to water for long periods—like when washing the dishes—be sure to wear gloves.

Ask your doctor if you'd benefit from Vitamin D supplements. When it's cold out, it's easy to get dehydrated because you may not recognize thirst cravings like you would during hot days.

Lastly, ask your doctor for some ointments that are geared towards patients with atopic dermatitis. These types of products will create a good barrier on your skin so that your hands don't dry out further. If you want to wear these products at night, your doctor can fit you with gloves so the ointment doesn't get all over your sheets.

Reach out to a health and medical professional for more details on atopic dermatitis disease.


30 November 2020

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