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The Burn of Winter Itch

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I love a hot shower. I mean I love it scalding, pounding and endless. (A shower that is.) One would think that showering is primarily a solitude act but my family has made a sport of finding me in my private moments. Even the dog seems to know the minute I step into the bathroom and takes it as a cue to intrude.

SO it just seems unfair that one of my favorite indulgences (one of the few that does not cause weight gain, I might add) does cause the most annoying winter itch.

Grant it, not as bad as pregnancy itch but a nuisance just the same.

Winter weather brings cold temperatures and low humidity that dries out the skin. Constant central heating or wood burning stoves remove water from the skin that leads to severe itchy skin. There is usually not much of a rash but scratching can lead to redness and painful cracks or fissures in the skin.

What steps can be taken to prevent Winter Itch?

Long hot showers remove the protective oils that keep water in our skin so you should takes short baths (<10 minutes) using warm, not hot water. What a drag.

Harsh antibacterial soaps are not needed and contribute to the problem. Stick to mild soaps such as Dove, Oil of Olay or Neutrogena and don’t shower everyday. The essential bath (pits and privates) should get you through most off days.

Big Trick: When you get out of the shower, pat skin dry instead of rubbing and apply moisturizer to wet skin to seal in water. Might feel a little slippery for a few minutes but this will really help dry itchy skin. The thicker the moisturizer the better. I like Curel or Eucerin.

Other tips are to add a humidifier, wear natural fabrics such as cotton and you may try a nonprescription OTC hydrocortisone cream.

If there is no improvement in a few weeks then see your doctor and be sure to have your thyroid checked.

They tell me that I will miss all of the intrusions when the kids are grown but for now a solitary shower is still one of my greatest joys… even if the water is just warm.


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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.