Winter itch, also known as xerosis/Eczema or dry skin, is a common condition that occurs during the winter months when the air is dry and cold. Here are some recommendations for treating winter itch:
- Moisturize regularly: Use a thick, oil-based moisturizer to help lock in moisture and protect your skin. Avoid hot water when washing your skin, as it can strip away natural oils and make dryness worse.
Moisturizing Must Haves: The Different Types of Moisturizers:
There are many different types of moisturizers. Here are some different classes of moisturizers and example of each class:
- Humectants: These moisturizers contain ingredients that help to attract and retain moisture in the skin. Examples include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea.
- Emollients: These moisturizers contain ingredients that help to smooth and soften the skin, making it feel more comfortable. Examples include shea butter, cocoa butter, and avocado oil.
- Occlusives: These moisturizers create a barrier on the skin to help prevent moisture loss. Examples include petroleum jelly, mineral oil, and beeswax.
- Ceramides: These moisturizers contain ceramides, which are lipids that help to strengthen the skin’s barrier and retain moisture.
- Nourishing: These moisturizers contain a combination of ingredients that help to nourish and hydrate the skin. Examples include antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
- Sunscreen: These moisturizers contain SPF to help protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
- Anti-aging: These moisturizers contain ingredients that may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Examples include retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, and collagen.
- Beta-Glucan: Beta-Glucan is a type of polysaccharide, or complex carbohydrate, found in various fungi and plants, including oats, barley and mushrooms. It has been used in skincare products for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Technically this might be under the heading of nourishing but I wanted to discuss it separately as it is evolving as its own separate category when it comes to skin care.
A New Natural Moisturizing Solution: Beta-Glucan
I wanted to touch on Beta-Glucan a bit further as it is a newer category when it comes to moisturizers. You can find it in products such as oatmeal baths which contain about 3% Beta-Glucan. There are other newer products in this category that do have higher levels of Beta-Glucan. An example of this is Dr.Mom’s oatmeal bath or cream that contains 15% concentration of Beta-Glucan’s. I have used this product myself specifically after going to the pool and getting that chlorine itch and found it was quite soothing.
One of the main benefits of betaglucan is its ability to improve the skin’s natural barrier function. This can help to protect the skin from environmental stressors and keep it hydrated. Betaglucan is also thought to stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that helps to maintain the skin’s elasticity and structure.
In addition to its moisturizing properties, betaglucan has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. This makes it a useful ingredient for treating a variety of skin conditions, including acne, rosacea, and eczema.
There are several ways that betaglucan can be incorporated into a moisturizer. It can be added to the formula as a standalone ingredient or combined with other active ingredients to enhance its effectiveness.
One thing to keep in mind when using betaglucan based moisturizers is that they may not be suitable for all skin types. Some people may experience irritation or allergic reactions to betaglucan, so it’s important to do a patch test before using any new skincare product. Being that the product is Barley based this would be particularly tru if you are celiac have a sensitivity to wheat?
Overall, betaglucan is a promising ingredient for skin care due to its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects. If you have dry or sensitive skin, or if you are looking for a natural way to improve the health and appearance of your skin, a betaglucan based moisturizer may be worth trying.
Top Tips for Soothing Winter Itch (xerosis)
- Use a humidifier: Dry air can worsen winter itch, so using a humidifier in your home or office can help add moisture back into the air and reduce dryness.
- Take shorter showers: Long, hot showers can strip away natural oils from your skin, so try to limit your showers to no more than 10 minutes and use lukewarm water instead of hot water. Showers can sometimes be aggressive themselves. Try not to run it on full blast.
- Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers. I am looking at you Irish spring! Choose mild, fragrance-free soaps and cleansers to avoid further drying out your skin.
- Protect your skin from the cold, dry air by wearing gloves and covering exposed skin with a scarf or hat.
- Drink plenty of water: what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your body. Staying hydrated can help keep your skin moisturized from the inside out.
If these measures do not improve your winter itch, you may want to consider seeing a dermatologist or family physician for additional treatment options. You may be prescribed prescription medication to help manage your dry skin but it should not be seen as a replacement to using a daily skin care routine. When it comes to treating dry skin, having a daily skin care routine goes a long way to ensuring that you have a solid foundation to manage dry skin with or without the use of a prescription product.