The frigid weather during the winter months frustrates many people. The lack of sunlight and cold temperatures can be extremely discouraging. As a dermatologist, the biggest complaint that I receive during the winter months from my patients has to do with their dry skin conditions. To keep your skin from drying out and itching during the coldness, there are simple steps that I strongly suggest to many of my patients. The tips below should help the itchiness and frustration that dry skin irritation has caused.
Shorten Your Bath-time: When hopping in the shower, keep your bathing experience to less than 5 minutes and use warm water, not hot. People tend to think that standing in a steamy shower will help hydrate your skin but it can actually have the opposite effect. Hot showers or baths can strip the skin of its natural protection. While a long, hot shower during the coldness sounds compelling; it can actually lead to more dry skin irritation.
Your Soap: Use a mild soap when in the shower and use your hands to wash your body, not a washcloth or loufa. The mild soap can help soothe itchy spots and make it easier to remove dry skin. The texture on the loufa is not soft and can cause irritation on sensitive skin. Combining your washing effort with the mild soap and cleansing with your hands can make a big difference.
Cream It Up!: After toweling off while still damp, apply a solid moisturizing cream. If you aggressively dry your skin with a towel, the moisturizer will be less effective. An efficient moisturizer will help restore moisture that was removed by soap. You can expect your skin to feel much softer after applying moisturizer to your body.
Humidify: If you don’t have a humidifier on your furnace and have dry skin, investing in one for your bedroom would be a wise move. This will help to increase the moisture in the air, which will improve the air quality. This will lead to healthier, less dry skin. If you price shop online, you can find all different types of humidifiers for a reasonable price.
It is hard to believe that less than a month of winter remains. If you’ve been having issues with dry skin over the previous months, follow the above-mentioned steps and your chance of dry skin irritation will likely be reduced. If the problem persists, consult your local dermatologist to further address your skin problems.
Dr. Parks is board certified in dermatology with clinical interests including cosmetic and surgical dermatology, laser treatments, BOTOX® Cosmetic, and skin cancer surgery. Dr. Parks is a recipient of the American Academy of Dermatology Community Service Award for skin cancer screening and the Edmund D. Lowney Teaching Award for teaching dermatology residents. Visit www.eastsidedermatology.com for more information.
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