Spectro® Ipsos survey news release

Scratch vs. Sniffle: Canadians name their top winter health woe

TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Red, dry, itchy, irritated skin vs. non-stop nose blowing - while many of our wintertime health care efforts are centred around warding off colds and flu, you might be surprised to learn Canadians find dry, itchy skin more bothersome than runny noses during the coldest months of the year.

In a battle of scratch vs. sniffle, more Canadians say they are bothered by dry, itchy skin during the winter than they are by runny noses. In fact, according to the results of The Spectro®, Scratch vs. Sniffle poll by Ipsos Reid, dry, itchy, irritated skin actually plagues more than one-fifth of Canadians all year round, with the average person scratching their dry skin about half of the year.

Why the dry?

The skin has an outer layer called the "moisture barrier" which helps protect against external elements such as dirt and bacteria. Dry, itchy, flaky skin can happen when the moisture barrier becomes damaged. Precious moisture escapes while things that can cause inflammation and irritation are able to get in. For many people, winter dryness is caused by cold, dry air and indoor heating (those steamy, hot showers to warm up don't help either!). And for adults and children with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, these factors can pack a double punch.

The vicious scratch cycle

When asked which dry body parts they're tempted to scratch the most, Canadians listed legs, followed by head and hands as their driest, itchiest body part.

But wait. Before you sharpen those finger nails or break out the knitting needles, know that the sweet relief that comes from scratching won't last.

"Scratching dry, irritated skin is a vicious cycle," Toronto dermatologist, Dr. Benjamin Barankin says. "It might feel good for a moment, but what you're doing is causing further damage to the skin. This can cause bleeding and allows bacteria into the skin, putting people at risk not only for further irritation, but also skin infections."

"Instead of scratching, I tell patients to focus on keeping skin clean and moisturized, which helps the skin in keeping irritants out and moisture in."

"Maintaining a good level of moisture is one of the most important things people can do to ward off itching, whether it's caused by seasonal factors or a condition such as eczema," says Dr. Barankin. "But many skin care products - even moisturizers - contain ingredients, allergens and even scents that can further dry out the skin. When this happens, itchiness and irritation can get much worse than they already were."

Dr. Barankin says it's important to look for cleansers and moisturizers that are formulated specifically to be gentle and non-irritating such as Spectro® Dry Skin Therapy products, which he recommends to patients suffering from dry, itchy skin.

"Spectro® Dry Skin Therapy cleansers and moisturizers relieve itching due to dry, cracked skin. Spectro® Intense Rehydration Moisturizer, Spectro® Kids Intense Rehydration Moisturizer and Spectro® Kids Moisturizing Body Wash all bear the Seal of Acceptance from the Eczema Society of Canada for being free of ingredients known to irritate the skin."

Poll info - These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between October 4th to 9th on behalf of Spectro®. For this survey, a sample of 1,046 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online.  The survey® is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. Its well-known brands include the leading oral healthcare products, Sensodyne®, ProNamel® Biotene® and Aquafresh®, denture care products Polident® and PoliGrip®, Spectro® skincare products as well as many medicine cabinet staples -- Abreva®, Breathe Right®, and TUMS® -- which are trademarks owned by and/or licensed to GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

GlaxoSmithKline - one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies - is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

Image with caption: "Spectro®'s Dry Skin Therapy products help Canadians relieve itching caused by dry, cracked skin that is often associated with harsh winter weather. (CNW Group/GlaxoSmithKline)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131125_C4339_PHOTO_EN_33786.jpg

SOURCE: GlaxoSmithKline

For further information:

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GSK Consumer Healthcare 

Rachel Jaikaran
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