Do you ever get a winter face rash like this on the lower part of your face and wonder what’s causing it? Every winter, without fail, people contact me and say, “The skin on my face, chin and neck is getting rough, dry and red. What do you think this is from?” When the skin flares up, there are so many factors to consider — not just the products you’re using, but habits and lifestyle as well.
When I saw this cry for help from o0ne of my client, on Instagram stories, I had to step in and try to figure it out for her. Since I knew she was in New York where the weather was 14° F and windy, I asked her this simple question: “Have you been wearing a wool scarf to cover your face?” She immediately replied back, “OMG, yes!”
So there you go, it turns out her wool scarf was the cause of this face rash.
For starters, your skin has a barrier made up of natural lipids that help keep moisture in and irritants out. When this barrier is damaged (due to extremely cold winter temps or any of these other reasons), it creates tiny, invisible cracks in the skin. These cracks allow moisture to escape, leading to dryness and flakiness.
If wool or a wool-like material is then rubbing up against this already vulnerable skin, it exacerbates the problem and causes an inflammatory response. This is because wool fibers create friction that can act as an additional irritant, causing further damage to the skin’s protective barrier.
A wool scarf or turtleneck sweater can be particularly irritating on the neck because the skin in this area is so thin to begin with. Wool is even known to trigger eczema and perioral dermatitis flare-ups.
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid wearing clothing made of wool or any other material with scratchy-feeling fibers, especially clothing like turtlenecks and scarves that will be close to your neck and face.
Instead, choose materials that feel very soft to the touch. If you have a favorite wool scarf and just don’t want to give it up, be conscious of not wrapping it too close to the skin. For many people, simply having this new-found awareness allows them to position their scarf in a way that prevents that uncomfortable face rash.
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