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5 top winter skin conditions and how to prepare for them

Winter weather conditions can be hard on your skin from head to toe. Adding holiday stress to the wintry mix presents an additional challenge for people with—or without—chronic skin diseases.
"Even if you're not prone to chronic skin conditions, your skin may have a reaction if you're exposed to cold, windy, sunny, or stressful conditions this holiday season," said Mark P. Seraly, MD, founder of DermatologistOnCall. "Planning ahead and, when needed, knowing where to get a quick professional diagnosis and treatment, can make the difference between mild irritation and full-blown flare-up."

Five common conditions to troubleshoot during the winter holidays

Sunburn – Overexposure to sun extends beyond the beach. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays reflect off the snow and onto your skin—and they're stronger at higher altitudes, like at the top of the ski lift. Plan ahead to protect yourself with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.

Eczema – Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic condition that can be triggered by stress. If you have eczema and it's your first time hosting the in-laws for the holidays, you may be in for a flare-up. Mild soaps and moisturizers can help keep your skin in good condition, and prescription topical steroids can ease severe eczema outbreaks.

Psoriasis – This condition results in red, irritated skin varying in intensity from minor to unbearable. Factors triggering psoriasis include cold weather, stress and drinking alcohol—all common around the winter holidays. Prescription topical and oral treatments help treat psoriasis.

Rosacea – Wind, cold temperatures, stress, and holiday cocktails may cause a flare-up in those prone to this rash, which results in flushed red skin and sometimes acne-like pimples. Some of these triggers may be unavoidable this season, but like psoriasis, rosacea can be treated with topical treatments like antibiotics.

Athlete's foot – This foot fungus is contagious and most commonly appears between toes. Ski boots or anything worn for shoveling the walk are perfect breeding grounds given their warm, damp environment. Since getting your feet wet is often unavoidable, over-the-counter topical medications are available to help you heal.

Telemedicine can help

When you're experiencing something new or unexpected, or you're traveling and need a dermatologist's care, an online dermatologist is a convenient option for a diagnosis and relief. A virtual dermatology visit provides the care you need from anywhere you may go.