The holidays are over, the new year is upon us, and ss Old Man Winter really gets rolling here in Colorado, many people across the state will no doubt notice disturbing signs of the times, such as weight gain, or an uptick in fatigue and other hormonal/metabolic symptoms that are no fun to endure. Those with eczema know it’s one of the worst times of the year.
Winter can obviously cause many changes to the body and to the skin. We’ve discussed some of the more direct changes the season can bring in previous blog posts. To recap, these include:
Drier skin, which can lead to cracking, chafing and eczema.
Less natural exposure to (safe) amount of sunlight, which can predispose you to lower vitamin D levels, which can in turn hormonally influence the body in diverse ways.
Uncomfortable clothing. The clothes that people tend to wear during the winter can have bad effects on the skin. Wearing wet gloves, for instance, can dry out and damage the skin on the hands. Certain fabrics such as wool can irritate sensitive skin as well, leading to an even itchier winter.
Whipping wind can impact the blood vessels in the face and nose, causing redness and puffiness. The wind further dries out the skin as well.
But the season can have more subtle, indirect effects on all sorts of tissues. For instance, historically, the amount of body fat that people carry fluctuates to a significant degree during the different seasons.
Researchers now believe that this tide-like rise and fall may have something to do with seasonal influences on hormonal systems, in particular on our body’s regulation of insulin and blood sugar. As these levels fluctuate, they can cause us to store more fat and feel more lethargic and also potentially influence skin health in many ways.
For instance, too much blood sugar can lead to vascularization problems, which can in turn influence the way your skin looks and how it heals when it encounters damage. Blood sugar levels and other hormones and enzymes can also influence the body’s level of inflammation, which can have a dramatic influence on skin health as well.
Immunity levels may also fluctuate during the winter; overexerted immune systems may have a harder time fighting off bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can cause certain skin blemishes.
Is There a Solution?
Obviously, there is no one size fits all answer. However, by paying attention to your whole body health – including your diet, your exercise plan, your family history, and your lifestyle and genes, you may be able to fend off some problems and stay in control of your health.
Of course, it’s important to have effective, qualified medical allies help you with your journey to overall wellness (and skincare health). To that end, if you’re in need of a dermatologist in Colorado, consider calling or emailing the team here at Mountain View Dermatology to schedule a consultation with our team. Let’s make 2015 a productive, fun and above all else healthy year.
This is a guest post by the boulder dermatology office of Mountain View Dermatology – A company offering a wide variety of skin care services including skin cancer treatment.