Central heating, showering too much, and woolly jumpers could be bad for you, doctor warns

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Dr Manuraj Singh highlighted the risks associated with cranking up the central heating, layering up in woolly jumpers, and enjoying a steamy hot shower twice a day. “Showering once a day is enough for most people. Two showers is over the top,” Dr Singh said. “Obviously if you get dirty or become particularly sweaty you should wash this off, but in general I advise sticking to once a day for most adults.”

What is Dr Singh’s reasoning for this? The skin doctor explained: “Every time you wash your skin you are taking part of the epidermal barrier away.”

The epidermal barrier acts as the first line of defence for your skin.

It is the largest organ in the body, helping to keep harmful substances out and keep moisture in.

By excessive showering, you run the risk of drying out the skin and irritating any skin conditions you might have.

Another drying component is central heating, which “takes moisture away from the skin”.

“People with pre-existing dry skin and inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, may find [their conditions] get worse during the winter,” said Dr Singh.

“We also tend to go outside less during colder months so we don’t get as many UV rays, which are naturally anti-inflammatory.”

Dr Singh added: “Obviously, we don’t want too many UV rays because they damage your DNA over a period of time which can lead to premature ageing and skin cancer.

“But sensible exposure to sunshine while wearing appropriate clothing and sun cream is okay.”

Aside from spending some time outdoors while the sun is shining, Dr Singh advises to invest only in “good quality cotton”.

Dr Singh elaborated: “Woolly jumpers can certainly irritate the skin so good quality cotton is always better.

“Wool can induce hives and cause itchy bumps, called contact urticaria.”

If, however, you are suffering from itchy skin and it’s not related to the clothes you wear, further investigation is warranted.

“It could be a sign of an internal problem,” warned Dr Singh.

One common skin complaint in winter, aside from dry skin, is the development of chilblains.

Chilblains often appear a few hours after spending time outside in the cold, the NHS explained.

Dr Singh added: “These red skin lesions can be painful and itchy, but usually clear up on their own.”

You can usually spot them on the fingers, toes, face, and legs.

“If they don’t go away they will need to be investigated,” said Dr Singh.

To help guard skin against winter temperatures, Dr Singh’s advice is to “regularly moisturise”.

Dr Manuraj Singh works on behalf of MyHealthcare Clinic, a doctor-led private healthcare business.

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