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Painful Skin in the Winter
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argosy2014 posted:
Hello,

I've had an issue that I've been dealing with for a few years now. It wasn't a problem until I got into my early 20's, around 23 or so. I'm now 25, and it's not getting any less. The skin on the backs of my hands, nowhere else, becomes red/purple and wrinkly in the cold, and feels very dry. My knuckles in particular crack, and I sometimes bleed a bit. Warming them up helps, but putting any hand sanitizer (which I just did a bit ago) or lotion on them burns like crazy. Even as I type this, when I make a fist, it burns a bit. When I open my hands, you can see a lot of wrinkles. In a fist, the wrinkles are mostly around my knuckles. There are red lines that are more visible when I'm colder as well, that resemble stretch marks. They are consistently like this throughout the winter, and even washing my hands usually burns. I grew up with psoriasis my whole life, and my dad when I was growing up said his knuckles split in the winter and he had to work to keep his hands warm. I don't know if this may be related, but I know it's a real pain. I want to talk to a dermatologist about it but I just don't have the money. The skin of my hands is also cold to the touch most of the time. This is not a problem whatsoever in the warmer months, but I live in Northwest Indiana, just a half an hour outside Chicago. I also don't have stellar heat in the old house I live in. So I want to know if there's a way (other than the obvious - keep your hands warm) to get over this issue or at least lessen it. It's not hindering, but it really is painful and annoying. Please help. Thank you!
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atti_editor responded:
Hi argosy2014,

I am sorry that you are experiencing this. I have eczema, and my hands also dry out and crack in winter. The big thing I've found is to make sure your hands are moisturized as low humidity and freezing temperatures (even frequent hand washing) can dry out your skin. Try a glycerin-based moisturizer daily and whenever you feel your hands drying out -- fragrance-free lotions seem to burn less for me. Covering up your hands when you go out into the cold can also help.

According to this article , worsening psoriasis symptoms in the fall and winter months is pretty common so the two could be related for you. Here are some resources that I found about fighting dry and cracking skin when the temperatures drop:



I hope that you find some relief soon!
 
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pinkpants78 responded:
Extreme dryness of the skin is really a major problem during cold weathers. Perhaps a good moisturizers will do the trick, and some good clothing that will protect your skin from the winter.
 
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Mohiba K Tareen, MD replied to pinkpants78's response:
In general, there are a few key ingredients to look for in moisturizers - ceramides (a protein that helps the skin hold onto water), petrolatum (the base in vaseline) and dimethicone (in particular for hands - this ingredient helps the water bead away and repels water from the skin).

My favorites are cerave, cetaphil restoraderm, vaniply ointment, and sometimes just plain old vaseline!

I hope that helps
Dr. Mohiba Tareen
Tareen Dermatology, Roseville, Minn
Castle Connoly's America's Top Cosmetic Dermatologists
Adjunct Assistant Professor Univ of MN Dept of Dermatology
www.TareenDermatology.com