Dealing With Dry Skin This Winter

Along with the cold temperatures and lower humidity of winter, comes dry skin. Unfortunately, it is just a fact of life for many during the colder months.

Though some people hardly notice the change beyond having slightly tighter skin, many others suffer everything from mildly itchy and flaky skin, all the way to more serious issues like cracks and bleeding due to the excessive dryness. If you are one of those sufferers, here are a few tips that may provide relief from your dry skin issues.

Take shorter showers
Sounds a bit counter-intuitive, right? After all, how can your skin dry out if you're standing underneath a stream of water? Long showers - particularly hot showers - can wash away your skin's natural, oily layer and leave it susceptible to losing moisture. A single five-minute, lukewarm shower per day with perfume- and deodorant-free soap is a great strategy, as is applying moisturizer to your skin while it's still damp after your bath or shower. And when it comes to lotions and moisturizers, the thicker the better! In fact, mineral oil and petroleum jelly are very effective and inexpensive moisturizers, though admittedly a bit impractical for day-to-day use. Also, pat yourself dry with a towel after you bathe instead of rubbing to minimize damage to your skin.

Protect your extremities
In addition to using lotion after each time you wash your hands (which you're probably doing more in the winter than other seasons due to cold and flu germs), remember to wear gloves outside, as well. You may even consider keeping a pair in your car for when you drive. Moisturizing lotions will also promote healthy cuticles.

As if your feet don't already take enough abuse, winter weather can be extra brutal on them. Exfoliating regularly and a healthy dose of lotion underneath cotton socks while you sleep provide excellent protection against dryness.

While dry skin is not generally a serious risk to your health, lack of preventive measures or attention can lead to more serious conditions like eczema or even bleeding. Excessive scratching can also result in infections only treatable with antibiotics. If your dry skin symptoms are not subsiding using these tips, or become more severe, a visit to an AppleCare Immediate Care physician may help you with a prescription strength cream or even a more in depth look at other causes of dry skin, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.