The winter season brings challenges for our skin. The heaters are cranking and the moisture in the air is usually low. This leaves our skin dry. Without its proper moisture barrier, the skin can become irritated, inflamed, and even fissured (aka cracked). Many consequences stem from this.

For example, we see men flock to our office with flares of hand eczema during the winter, where they present with hands that are bright red, itchy, and painful. To prevent this, men need to limit heater use, limit hand washing with harsh soaps, and moisturize daily with quality creams by Cerave, Aveeno, Eucerin, or Cetaphil. Even simple products like Vaseline (petroleum jelly) can help tremendously for the hands.

Unfortunately, even when a man abides by this routine strictly, he still may require a visit to the dermatologist for medicated ointments. Men additionally experience flares of dandruff (known as seborrheic dermatitis), where bright red patches and greasy scales develop within and around the scalp and facial hair, as well as around the nose, ears, and eyebrows.

Men, you need to address this problem with over-the-counter shampoos that contain ingredients like ketoconazole or selenium sulfide, which are contained in brand products like Nizoral and Selsun Blue, respectively. It’s important to keep in mind that there are many rashes that can mimic seborrhea/dandruff, so visiting your dermatologist is a good idea. Plus, we can prescribe special medications to men for this condition.  Also, stay away from hair pomades and thick hair gels, as these will worsen dandruff!  

Many other skin conditions worsen in the winter – including psoriasis, acne, and rosacea just to name a few. So, if you are unsure about a winter rash, visit the dermatologist to get evaluated.

— Andrew Newman, DO | Affiliated Dermatology | Resident Tips

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