Winter itch is a common name for the skin symptom of generalized itching in the winter. It is primarily caused by dry skin and is most common in the elderly. This article review about causes, risk factors, different type, clinical presentation general management including some home remedies management and homoeopathic way of treatment of dry skin. Homoeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homoeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition.
Winter itch, also known as pruritus hiemalis, is a type of subclinical dermatitis, that affects individuals during cold weather. Dry is a very common condition that causes small fine flakes, cracking, and dry patches due to lack of the appropriate amount of water in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. While dry skin tends to affect males and females equally, older individuals are typically much more prone to dry skin. The skin in elderly individuals tends to have diminished amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants. Areas such as the arms, hands, and particularly lower legs tend to be more affected by dry skin. Environmental factors, such as humidity and temperature, have a profound effect on the amount of water retained within the skin.
Causes of winter itch
The exact cause of winter itch is unknown. Factors associated with winter itch include:
*Itching associated with cold weather, often coexisting with dry skin
*Itch presenting in autumn and winter, and clearing up during the summer months
*The aggravation of symptoms by the wearing of certain types of textures, such as flannel or woollen wear.
*Similar symptoms have also been reported in patients exposed to refrigerated air conditioning during the summer months. Winter itch is not influenced by frequency of bathing or by the temperature of the bath water.
*Cold, dry air when heated by a furnace will produce dry skin by evaporating moisture on the skin. Frequent hand-washing and sanitizing causes evaporation and dryness.
Winter itch does not cause a primary visible rash. The affected skin generally appears healthy, but usually slightly dry.
*The itch affects most or all parts of the body, but most commonly occurs on the legs.
*Typical sites are the inner surface of the thighs, above and behind the knees, on the calves, and around the ankles.
*It does not affect the hands, feet, face or scalp.
*The degree of irritation varies from mild to severe; when severe, it can result in great distress and discomfort that may require medical attention.
*The itchiness is sudden in onset, and is generally most noticeable at night and when removing clothing.
*Secondary lesions arise as a consequence of chronic scratching like skin becomes erythematous with noticeable scratch marks, Scratched skin may be dry, rough and thickened (lichenified), Intense rubbing of the skin may cause desquamation.
*There may be a secondary folliculitis, with torn and broken hair shafts due to constant scratching.
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