Winter is coming, and I feel it in my painful skin

The cold (and heavier clothes) means extra care for myself and my wounds

Lena Riedl avatar

by Lena Riedl |

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I’ll always feel when the seasons are changing by the way my skin reacts. Here in Vienna, autumn is slowly coming to an end and winter is coming, slowly crawling into our smallest crevices. I not only recognize winter when it gets darker outside and the temperature drops, but I can also feel it, almost immediately, when my skin suffers.

I live with a rare skin condition — epidermolysis bullosa (EB) — which makes my skin very fragile; the slightest friction can cause blisters and wounds. Even though we who live with EB face a lot of daily challenges, I’m used to them. But I can’t come to terms with how my skin changes in winter. It’s as if it surprises me every year.

Colder days mean I have to spend more time in the bathroom caring for my wounds. My skin gets drier and requires more attention. I might have to spend about an hour showering, applying creams and lotions, and bandaging my body. I even need different skin products — oilier and heavier — in winter.

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My hands will suffer the most when exposed to the cold. (Yes, gloves do help, but not enough.) Because of the cold temperatures outside and the warm and dry air inside, my hands get almost irreversibly dry. And they hurt — a lot.

I can do a few things to make them better, but the only thing that really helps is the return of spring and summer.

Summer over winter

Summer is always easier for me — mentally, too, but obviously physically, because of my skin. In summer, I usually don’t need to put bandages on all my wounds, unless they’re particularly large. I’m also able to wear short or loose clothes, which helps. (These clothes can also cause me problems, but of a different sort.)

But in winter, I need to put on long sleeves and long pants, which means I have to bandage every little wound so my clothes don’t make them more painful.

I still haven’t fully come to terms with the weather getting colder and my need to plan more time for hygiene. But I have a new strategy: After my shower, I sometimes grab all my bandages, lotions, and creams and snuggle up on the sofa with my current favorite Netflix show. I need to make this seasonal care a bearable routine.

And what’s better in winter than snuggling on the couch, anyway?

Note: Epidermolysis Bullosa News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Epidermolysis Bullosa News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to epidermolysis bullosa.


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