Now that winter is on its way yet again, you may be bracing yourself not only for the colder temps but also the dry air that comes with it. Winter cold saps the moisture from the air, which you can only remedy through humidifiers or extra moisturizing. Not only can your whole body feel the effects of dry air, but your scars in particular can too. In fact, that dry air can also hamper the wound healing process.
Drastic changes in temperature also impact how you care for your wounds, from dressing to drainage.
Cold Weather vs. Wounds
Here are some facts about the cold weather and wounds/scars.
- Sick of those chapped lips and hands? That’s because lower temperatures dry out the skin so it is more susceptible to cracking.
- It also doesn’t help that winter is a harbinger of viruses and bacteria, so as cold and flu season descends upon us, it’s even more important to take care of your skin.
- Treating open cuts and other wounds as they happen is important. If left untreated, infection can result.
- The colder temperatures slow blood flow, which is essential to the wound healing process. When your circulation is sub-par, it’s tougher to achieve oxygenation of the wound site, which means it’s harder to guard against harmful bacteria. If that weren’t enough, poor circulation makes it more difficult for your tissue to regenerate.
- You can’t just stay indoors all winter. You’ll become inactive, which is an impetus to healing thanks to the decrease in blood flow.
How to Protect Your Skin and Scars in Winter
Here are some tips on protecting your skin and scars from dry winter air.
- Keep Moving: You need to ensure good blood circulation if you want to heal your wounds. To do that, you need to be active on a regular basis. While exercising, cover the area with a loose dressing so as not to restrict circulation. You will feel numbness if it’s wrapped too tightly. Try low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and yoga.
- Boost Your Immune System: Guard against the flu and colds by getting a flu shot each year, washing hands often, and refraining from congregating in congested public places like airports, malls and offices.
- Care For Your Wound: To ensure the wound heals correctly and quickly, you need to initially keep the area properly dressed, applying antibiotic ointment to increase moisture. If a wound is allowed to dry out, it won’t heal as quickly, plus bacteria can get in. Your best bet is to apply a silicone scar gel product such as Scarfade, in conjunction with massage, in order to minimize the appearance of scars.