Your Wool Winter Coat and Lotion May Be Giving You Contact Dermatitis

During the colder months of winter, your actions to stay warm and keep your skin hydrated may be a trigger for chronically itchy skin and widespread rashes.

As a board-certified dermatologist, Lisa Hitchins, MD, often treats people who experience unexplained rashes and chronically itchy skin. In many cases, Dr. Hitchins determines that these issues are actually side effects of direct contact with substances you use in your everyday life.

Skin rashes and itchiness are all forms of eczema, specifically, contact dermatitis. While exposure to wool and ingredients in skincare products normally doesn’t create a life-threatening situation, contact with certain substances can cause an uncomfortable rash that interferes with your quality of life.

Why that wool sweater may be bad for your skin

Wool has been recognized as a common allergen since the 1930s. Contact with wool can cause itchy skin, irritated and watery eyes, and a runny nose if you have an allergy to the material.

For many with wool allergies, wearing a wool sweater, scarf, or hat can also result in the development of painful bumps that ooze fluids, or skin that’s so dry, it cracks and bleeds.

In addition to wool, you may have undiagnosed allergies to other substances you use in your daily life, and it can become increasingly difficult to identify the root cause of your symptoms.

Unfortunately, people with contact dermatitis may not realize that allergies are causing their symptoms. By waiting too long to address the condition, you may be at increased risk for recurrent skin issues, including infections caused by chronic scratching.

Making changes in your life to avoid contact dermatitis

If every time you put on that wool sweater or apply a certain lotion you break out into a rash, don’t ignore what’s going on. Your body may be trying to tell you about underlying allergies.

By paying attention to what bothers your skin, you can work with Dr. Hitchens on a treatment plan to prevent future rashes and painful, oozing bumps. She offers comprehensive care to address existing skin issues, like rashes, with topicals or oral medications, and can also help you avoid making contact with allergy-triggering materials.

While you may not be able to wear your favorite sweater anymore, you can reduce your risk factors for permanent skin issues, like scarring for excessive scratching.

Upgrading your skincare routine

When it comes to skincare, many people are unknowingly allergic to ingredients in lotions, body washes, and other products. For this reason, it’s important that you don’t introduce a number of new products into your skincare routine at the same time.

If you already have overly dry or extra sensitive skin, Dr. Hitchins can recommend products that are gentle on sensitive skin and do not contain ingredients that are known allergens, such as fragrances, parabens, and sulfates.

In addition to reading the ingredients in your lotions and facial cleansers, you should also evaluate potential allergens included in your makeup and favorite hair dyes, which can all cause contact dermatitis symptoms.

Additionally, your jewelry may be contributing to skin rashes and itchiness, especially if you’re allergic to aluminum or nickel, two common metal allergies.

If you need answers for unexplained skin rashes and chronically dry skin, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hitchens at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston by phone or using the online booking feature. 

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