It’s winter, which means it’s time for cozying up with hot chocolate, donning your best chunky knitwear, and enjoying the crisp, cold days.
Unfortunately, these cool, dry months can really affect your skin — and not for the better.
It’s all too easy to neglect your skin during winter, chalking down any changes or skin problems to the harsh weather. But in some cases, it is best to see a dermatologist. But how do you know when it’s something little or whether it’s a bigger issue that needs addressing?
In this post, we’ll be looking at four signs that you may need to see a dermatologist — throughout winter and the rest of the year. Read on to find out more.
1. Very dry skin
Dry skin can seem like a normal part of winter; after all, the weather is colder and the air is drier. It stands to reason that your skin will become dry, flaky and chapped, doesn’t it?
Dry skin can be down to the changing weather, as well as other factors, like hot heated buildings, and hot baths that can dry you out. However, it could also be down to something more serious, like eczema or psoriasis.
If you notice red patches of skin, scaly skin, flakiness, itching and irritation, then it’s worth seeing a dermatologist to get it checked out.
They will be able to diagnose the issue, as well as help you come up with a treatment plan. A dermatologist might suggest a topical steroid cream, which can be extremely effective at treating eczema flare-ups. However, it’s worth knowing about the risks involved in taking steroid creams for a long time, such as any adverse side effects or topical steroid withdrawal (read this full article for information on this and topical steroid withdrawal success).
2. Permanent blushing
It’s very easy to flush in the winter. You’re going from the cold weather outside to the blast of heating indoors. It’s only natural that you spend most of the winter months with rosy cheeks, right?
Well, yes. But if you’ve noticed that your blushing doesn’t seem to go away and your cheeks always appear red, then you might want to see a dermatologist.
Redness of the skin — as well as visible blood vessels, small pink or red bumps, dry skin, and stinging — could be a result of rosacea.
Rosacea is a very common skin condition that mostly affects the face — particularly your cheeks, nose, and forehead. It can be triggered by exposure to hot or cold temperatures and strong winds, so you may notice it more during the winter.
If you’re worried about permanent blushing and think you may have rosacea, then it’s a good idea to see your dermatologist. They will be able to suggest preventative lifestyle changes as well as effective rosacea treatments.
3. Changing moles
We cannot stress how important it is to visit a dermatologist if you have noticed a change in any moles on your body. Whether it’s a mole that has changed shape, color or size, or it begins to itch or bleed, it needs to be checked out by a medical professional.
A changing mole — or the appearance of new moles — is an early sign of melanoma (skin cancer). The earlier you catch something like this, the sooner it can be sorted. You may need to have the mole removed, or undergo further tests to establish the cause of this recent skin change.
In particular, you should look out for moles that are abnormally shaped (e.g. they are asymmetrical, rather than a circle). Likewise, if a mole changes color or is multi-colored, it should also be checked out. The same goes for moles that get bigger (it is usually suggested that a mole bigger than 6mm is seen by a dermatologist) or has a changing border.
Most of the time, a mole will be nothing to worry about, but it’s always worth getting a second (professional) opinion just to be on the safe side.
4. Worsening or long-lasting acne
We often associate acne with our teenage years. But did you know that people of any age can suffer from acne? Pregnancy acne is a thing, and even the menopause can trigger skin changes.
It may feel like you can hide your acne with baggy clothes and scarves in the winter, but this is only going to exacerbate and prolong the situation. If you’re struggling with acne in any season, then it’s time to see a dermatologist. We’re talking whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, and cysts that won’t go away after months, or keep on getting worse.
It can feel embarrassing going to a dermatologist about acne, but it’s nothing to be worried about — lots of people get acne, and it’s not caused by being dirty, having a poor diet, or poor hygiene. It simply occurs when your skin produces too much sebum (a natural oily substance that the skin produces to stop it from drying out). When too much sebum is produced, it mixes with dead skin cells and clogs your pores — resulting in acne and other skin problems.
A dermatologist can help you to treat this skin condition and prevent flare-ups. They may suggest different medications depending on how severe your acne is.
The same goes for acne scars. If you struggle with picking your spots, you may begin notice permanent damage. This can appear as small dents in your skin, darker patches, red patches, or blemishes that simply won’t go away.
A dermatologist will be able to help you figure out how to handle acne scars and minimize their appearance.
It’s all too easy to neglect our skin, especially when it’s not on show during the cold winter months. However, you need to look after your skin all year round — and that means seeing a dermatologist if you notice any signs, changes or problems. If you experience any of the above issues, then it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your dermatologist to keep your skin happy and healthy.