Managing Scars in the Winter

With winter not too far off, you may be getting nervous for the colder, drier air to settle in. If you have scars, you know winter can be tough on them. They may get red, itchy, or just plain uncomfortable. The key to keeping them supple is to keep them moisturized. Here’s how cooler weather can affect scars differently, the importance of moisturizing, and treating scars in climate changes.

Cold Weather=Dry Skin

You may wonder: why does my skin get dry in the winter? Well, you tend to be indoors more, where there’s lots of artificial, dry heat going on. This takes the moisture out of the air, cracking your skin and in some cases making it bleed. With skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, these problems get even worse in winter. And if you have scars, especially fresher ones, winter can do a number on those too.

Lower temperatures cause tissues to contract, which in turn puts pressure on nerves. Different tissues will contract at different rates, and that includes scar tissue, which is why the site of a previous injury may become painful and itchy in cold temperatures.

What Should You Do?

Short of packing up and leaving town in favor of a humid, sunny climate, what can you do to manage your scars in winter?

  • Don’t take long hot baths or showers: What? No hot water for your daily shower? We know, we know. But if you want to avoid drying out your skin, keep your showers short and tepid in temperature. Combine that hot water with soap and you have a recipe for skin disaster, as that combination keeps essential oils from getting in. Use moisturizing soaps every time.
  • Choose the right moisturizer: Your summer moisturizer won’t cut it. You’ll need something thicker and creamier, with higher amounts of moisturizing qualities to relieve dry winter skin. Nix the heavy, petroleum or oil-based formulas and instead buy only ones with lipids that will avoid breakouts – a concern for those with acne scars. For intensely dry skin, go with an emollient moisturizer that will keep doing its job even after frequent hand washes.
  • Stay away from tanning beds: These do a lot of damage to your skin, especially scarred areas. Instead, get much-needed Vitamin D from vitamins and foods.
  • Slather on the sunscreen: No, you may not be laying out on the beach like you would in summer, but if you ski or spend a lot of time outdoors, the glare from the snow, as well as direct sunexposure, can still result in a sunburn.
  • See your dermatologist: Your skin doctor will be able to check you out, analyze your skin type, discuss your current skin care regimen and advise you on the types of products you should be using, as well as their frequency.
  • Use Scarfade: For an easy solution to keeping those scars looking and feeling good, apply Scarfade on cuts and burns as soon as they start to heal. This will help you weather the colder months!