Dry, itchy skin can be a problem any time of year.
But for many people their skin problems flare up in the fall and winter and
subside in the warmer months. Many things get the blame, such as low indoor
humidity wearing more woolen garments and even bathing in hotter water. The real
culprit might be hiding in your bedroom and lurking under your covers. It could
be a dust mite allergy!
Your dry skin might be the result of asthma or allergies. If this is the case
you can find relief in something as simple as a zippered dust mite proof cover
for your mattress and pillow.
During the cooler months, our homes are more tightly closed. This means there is
less fresh air coming into the house. Unless you are running HEPA air cleaners
or other air purifiers, the same allergy-inducing particles of dust, animal
dander, mold, and dust mites simply re-circulate.
In addition, if your allergy is to the dust mite
(the most common household allergen in the United States) you are exposed to
these microscopic creatures each and every time you go to bed. These non-biting
insect like creatures feed on shed human skin cells. Their bodies and feces
contain a protein (der F1) that causes a variety of allergic reactions when
these particles are inhaled. Symptoms can be sneezing, itchy watery eyes,
coughing, asthma, hives, or even dry skin or eczema. Unfortunately, if your
allergy symptoms present as dry or itchy skin then the excessive flaking and
peeling only provides a greater food source for the mites. This sets up a
terrible cycle of inhaling particles from the mites that makes your skin dry so
you shed more skin so the mites eat more and produce more feces which in turn
causes your skin to become drier so you shed more skin cells.
Many people run indoor humidifiers to counter the drying effects of the air
heated to keep their homes warm. Whether you use a cool or warm mist humidifier,
you are adding moisture to the air. That is the purpose and function of a
humidifier. While this might bring some relief to your respiratory system, if
your dry skin is caused by dust mite allergy it could actually make your
symptoms worse. That is because dust mites thrive in humid environments. So as
you increase humidity to make yourself more comfortable, you are making the
environment much more comfortable for the dust mites as well. Catch 22. A
comfortable dust mite is going to reproduce and increase the dust mite
In order to reduce your symptoms, you must reduce your exposure to the dust mite
particles. This is easily accomplished with the use of a
zippered dust mite
cover for your mattress and pillow. These dust mite covers are especially
designed to trap all of the mite body parts and feces in your mattress and
pillow. If your mattress and pillow are not properly protected, each time you
move on your bed in your sleep you will send a cloud of these microscopic
allergy causing into the air. Once the particles are airborne, you will inhale
them starting the allergic reaction. If your skin becomes dry and flaky as a
result, then you will scratch and simply provide more food to the dust mites in
your mattress and pillow. More food means more mites, which means more itching
and dry skin.
Quality dust mite covers will have double sewn or bound seams and strong
zippers. Avoid plastic or vinyl covers except for the box springs. While they
will provide protection at a low cost, they are easily ripped or torn and do not
provide a comfortable sleeping environment. If you are looking for relief on a
tight budget, look for a fabric that is laminated to an allergy-proof membrane.
These types of covers will provide relief similar to a plastic cover, but are
cooler and more comfortable because the top side of the cover is fabric. For the
most complete and comfortable protection, look for a microweave fabric. There
are several microweave fabrics available from allergy niche retailers. These
allergy stores specialize in allergy and asthma control products and will be
your best source for durable, quality covers.
Once you have a dust mite cover on your mattress and pillow it is important to
wash your other bed linens weekly in hot water. This will get rid of any
accumulation of allergy particles that might build up on top of your zippered
dust mite proof covers.
In addition, apply your moisturizer immediately after bathing while skin is
still damp. Apply your moisturizer to your body in segments starting with your
feet and ending with your face. Only put as much in your hand as you need to
apply to one area. For example, start with your toes and feet then work to your
ankles, the calf, knees and thigh. Also, look on the ingredient list of your
moisturizer. Avoid products with ingredients including the word “paraben” or
formaldehyde. These ingredients can also cause your skin to be dry. Also be sure
to drink plenty of water. Good hydration starts on the inside.