Winters are synonymous with dry skin. However, some skin conditions can develop or worsen during colder temperatures.

A dermatologist and medical students are warning people against three such skin problems--eczema, chilblains, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

"All are conditions that can be irritating and uncomfortable, and some are harder to treat than others. So, it’s helpful to know when to manage these conditions on your own and when to see a dermatologist,” Sonal Choudhary, assistant professor of Dermatology and Dermatopathology, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences and Jeffrey Chen, Medical Student, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences wrote, Inverse reported.


One of the most commonly known skin problems, eczema is an inflammatory condition. The skin can become aggravated by soaps and detergents, environmental or food allergens, hormonal changes, and skin infections, making it dry and itchy, as per the outlet.

In some cases, intense scratching “can create open wounds that may allow allergens and bacteria to penetrate the skin and cause a rash or an infection,” the medical professionals said.

To treat the condition, the dermatologist recommends applying moisturizers with high oil content and avoiding water-based lotions as they may worsen skin drying. Using petroleum jelly, mineral oil, or Vaseline on wet or damp skin is most beneficial. One can also use hypoallergenic and anti-itch moisturizers made particularly for eczema.

If all the efforts fail and the itching continues, visit a dermatologist.


Also known as pernio, chilblains are small, itchy patches on the skin that develop in response to cold and damp weather. These swollen and painful bumps are usually found on fingers, toes, ears, and face.

Typically, the condition resolves on its own within one to three weeks. However, blisters and ulcers may occur in severe cases.

A person afflicted with this condition should keep affected areas warm.

“If the sensitive area starts to blister, or if fevers, muscle aches, and chills develop, it’s best to see a dermatologist or physician,” the duo advised.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is caused by a major constriction of blood vessels in the digits due to exposure to cold weather. The fingers and toes can turn red or blue in this condition, but, fortunately, they regain their normal color upon rewarming. The afflicted areas may become numb or painful, and ulcers can develop in severe cases.

“To treat Raynaud’s phenomenon, it’s necessary to avoid cold-weather exposure. Ideally, patients with Raynaud’s should dress for the cold in layers. At a minimum, make sure to wear gloves and insulated footwear. Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and decongestants; they may cause blood vessels to constrict more,” Choudhary and Chen noted.

The condition is temporary, and gets better within a few minutes. But if symptoms don’t improve within this time, it is a good idea to see a dermatologist or your physician.