Winter weather is now in full force and many will suffer dry and chapped skin before the winter solstice thanks to Mother Nature. The American Academy of Dermatology has released a video via email with winter skin care tips to relieve dry skin, and the Spa Examiner has added a few additions after years of professional experience as a licensed cosmetologist.
Dry skin is a common problem during the winter and its effects, which cause the skin to flake, itch, crack and sometimes bleed, can be painful. Board-certified dermatologist Stephen P. Stone, MD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and director of clinical research, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield has winter skin care tips and advice for people to find relief through implementing a few changes to their daily lives.
It’s tempting, especially in cold weather, to take long, hot showers, but being in the water for a long time and using hot water can be extremely drying to the skin. Keep your baths and showers short and make sure you use warm, not hot water. Switching to a mild cleanser can also help reduce itching, and be sure to gently pat the skin dry after your bath or shower, as rubbing the skin can be irritating.
- Apply moisturizer after getting out of the bath or shower. Ointments and creams tend to be more effective than lotions. Baby oil on wet skin is an old-time favorite of the Spa Examiner to retain moisture. Apply baby oil immediately after stepping out of the shower to the entire body and then wrap yourself in a towel, but do not rub. Let yourself dry as you complete the rest of your regimen and then apply a moisturizer. I highly recommend Out of Africa Skin Saver.
- Read ingredients on skin care products. Deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners, and products that contain fragrance can irritate dry, sensitive skin.
- Use a humidifier to add much-needed moisture to the air. Dry heating systems of the home exacerbate dry skin. Lower the heat at night to a comfortable sleeping level.
- Wear soft fabrics that breathe, such as 100 percent cotton. If you want to wear wool and other rough fabrics, wear a soft fabric underneath.
- Don’t skimp on hand washing, which can remove harmful bacteria and viruses. If you need to wash your hands frequently, hand sanitizers are a good alternative.
- Apply hand cream after each hand washing. If more relief is needed, dab petroleum jelly on your hands before bed. For an intense treatment, apply petroleum jelly and sleep with white cotton gloves. If your hands are frequently immersed in water, wear waterproof gloves to help protect them.
- Exfoliate when necessary. A good exfoliator for the hands and/or body will rid chapped skin and leave the body’s largest organ feeling soft and supple.
Dr. Stone advises to see a board-certified dermatologist if these winter skin care tips do not relieve dry skin.
Very dry skin may require a prescription ointment or cream, and dry skin also can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as eczema.
These winter skin care tips are demonstrated in the “Dry Skin Relief,” video posted to the Academy website, the Academy’s YouTube channel and above.
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