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Young woman scratching arm from having itching on white background. Cause of itchy skin include insect bites, dermatitis, food/drugs allergies or dry skin. Health care concept. Close up.

If you’re suddenly feeling itchy this winter, it could be eczema. Although it’s typically diagnosed in childhood, eczema can occur for the first time at any age. In the winter, eczema often flares up because of dry air, causing red, inflamed, dry skin. How do you know if your itchy skin is eczema? And if it is, how do you treat it?

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, causes a dry, scaly, itchy rash. This condition is so itchy, in fact, that people with eczema may have trouble sleeping. In addition to severe itching, symptoms of eczema include dry, scaly patches on the skin that are red to brownish-grey, small raised bumps that leak fluid and scab when scratched, thick, cracked, dry, scaly skin, and raw, sensitive skin. When dry winter air, intensified by the dry air of indoor heat, meets too many layers of clothing, too many bed coverings, and hot baths, an eczema flare-up is likely.

This troublesome condition can also be caused by fungi, soaps and shampoos, lotions, alcohol, detergents, dryer sheets, and other irritants. You might have eczema because of an allergy to something like latex, nickel, aloe vera, or Vitamin E. If you’re dealing with eczema, what can you do?

  • First of all, skip the hot baths and showers. Heat can dry out your skin, so use warm water and bathe or shower less frequently than usual. Don’t rub your skin with a towel, but simply pat dry.
  • Be careful with the things that touch your skin. Use gentle moisturizing soap, free from fragrance and dye, and avoid bubble baths. Be careful with your laundry detergent too, steering clear of anything harsh. Dress in breathable fabrics, and avoid too many layers of clothing or bedding.
  • Keep your skin well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water, use plenty of lotion, and moisten your home’s air with a humidifier.
  • Try some Vitamin D. There’s research to indicate that vitamin D can help with eczema flare-ups, whether taken in supplement form or through the use of UV lights.
  • Talk to your dermatologist. There are many therapeutic options for the treatment of eczema, including topical creams, antihistamines, and prescription medications. Sometimes, the best treatment for eczema is not a treatment at all. Discovering what’s causing the condition can help you determine how to avoid it in the future. Having a dermatologist you can trust can help you find the source of the issue.

Swinger-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing superior, professional skin care in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With more than 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers, along with our friendly staff, are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable and professional atmosphere. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us through our website or call 801-266-8841.