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Stripping down the cause of your itchy winter skin

As we get deeper and deeper into full-on bundle-up season, have you started to notice you’ve been a bit itchier? Ever think that rash you suddenly noticed may have been left behind by that new warmth-packed sweater?

Well, while it’s important to stay warm in the blistering cold weather, certain fabrics can cause your skin more problems than they’re worth. The worst of a potential rash caused by clothing will probably occur in an area where the fabric is closest to your skin, where there’s consistent friction or in areas of high perspiration, according to a 2001 report from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Certain fabrics are just naturally itchier — we all avoid wearing that wool sweater from grandma, even though it is so very warm — but things like chemical additives, dyes and tanning agents also can cause skin irritation or allergies to sensitive skin. Elastic waistbands, like those in underwear, are culprits of irritation at times as well.

Sweating is a big factor in skin irritation, especially if you’re sporting tight clothing made of synthetic fabrics that may not breathe as well or dry as quickly. And yes, we get that you’re not about to throw on that light, flowy cotton dress or loose-fitting t-shirt in the middle of January, but you should still be making informed clothing choices to keep your skin from rebelling too much in winter. The cold weather is hard enough on most skin types without the added irritation.

In general, 100% cotton clothing is considered by many to be the easiest on skin. Silk also is a fabric that rarely will cause irritation. And if you find that you just can’t bring yourself to stop wearing that favorite pair of gloves or scarf, then be sure to keep your skin dry and moisturize to avoid aggravating any irritation you might experience.

Let us know your tricks for keeping your skin happy under layers upon layers of clothing.

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