Winter skin: Remedies for dry skin

While summer brings sunburns and spring brings itchiness from allergies, the cold winter months cause a different kind of irritation: dry, flaky, red, and itchy skin. Humidity levels drop along with the temperature, making it more difficult for the skin to retain moisture, and leading it to become dry and uncomfortable. Don’t let your dry skin stop you from enjoying the winter months.

Try these tips to keep your skin healthy throughout the winter.

Shorten your shower

Quicker, and cooler, showers are key to keeping the skin moisturized in the winter. Lukewarm showers help the skin keep its natural oils and moisture, while hot water dries the skin out more. Limit your showers to 10 minutes or less to help your skin retain more moisture.

Avoid harsh soaps

Heavily perfumed soaps, especially bar soaps, strip the skin of its natural oils, causing it to become more dry and sensitive. Use a fragrance-free, gentle soap that is designed to be less drying, and try to apply it only on the areas that really need to be washed, such as the feet and underarms.

Take the time to moisturize

Use a heavy moisturizer, as they stay on longer and keep water from evaporating on your skin. Apply moisturizer immediately after showering, while the skin is still moist, to increase its effectiveness.

Ointment-based moisturizers, like petroleum jelly, usually trap the most moisture in your skin. The skin absorbs oil-based and cream moisturizers more easily, and they are still effective at fighting dry skin.

Wear protective clothing

As hard as you might try to stay inside during the winter, spending some time outdoors is inevitable. When you’re outside, wear a scarf and gloves or mittens to protect your hands from cold winds, as well as long sleeves and pants.

Drink more water

It’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re not as hot and sweaty as during the summertime, but dry indoor heat saps the moisture out of skin. Staying hydrated is an important part of keeping your skin feeling soft and smooth. Increase your water intake, and limit caffeine and alcohol consumption, as they are diuretics and will cause dehydration.

If you are extremely uncomfortable or continue to struggle with dry skin, call your doctor and schedule an appointment.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.