Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but your skin doesn’t have to suffer for it. Dry skin – also called xerosis – is more common during the winter months, when temperatures and humidity levels drop and the air outside is drier. You may be suffering from dry skin if you have any of the following symptoms:
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering or bathing;
- Red, swollen, and/or rough areas of skin;
- Itching (pruritus);
- Lines or cracks in the skin that may open or bleed;
- Chapped lips; and
- Peeling or flaking skin.
During the cold winter months, dry skin is a common condition and there are numerous self-care treatments you can employ to maintain your summertime glow all winter long:
- While it may be tempting to soak in a long, hot bath when the weather turns frosty, prolonged exposure to hot water will leach moisture from your skin and dry it out. During the winter, you should limit your shower time to one short session a day, in lukewarm water.
- Cover up whenever you are going to be outside in the chill air. Heat escapes the body through the head, hands, and feet – bundle up in thick socks, a snug hat, a scarf, and gloves for outdoor treks, to protect your skin from dry air and whipping winds.
- Think twice before blasting the heat. Central heating systems, space heaters, and fireplaces all suck moisture from the air and create a low-humidity environment, which in turn leads to dry skin.
- Drink plenty of water. Keep your body adequately hydrated; good skin care starts from the inside out.
If you are experiencing dry skin this winter, there are several products you can use to soothe rough and itchy skin and prevent further flare-ups. Use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free creams, lotions, and soaps when possible; gentle products are less likely to contain chemicals and ingredients that will irritate or exacerbate dry skin. Moisturize with a mild lotion directly after showering or bathing, to lock in moisture to your skin. Use products with petroleum jelly or mineral oil – these greasy ingredients are natural, gentle, and effective at sealing in your body’s water. If your dry skin is itchy, soak in a lukewarm oatmeal bath for 15 minutes to ease the burn. For dry lips, try a peppermint-flavored lip balm – the menthol in peppermint is a coolant which will soothe chapped lips. And who doesn’t love the taste of peppermint around the holidays? Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom to keep moisture circulating in the air.
Sometimes, dry skin can be an early sign of a more serious skin condition, such as dermatitis or eczema – click here to read more about the signs and symptoms of eczema. If you have dry skin over a prolonged period of time, without relief from at-home remedies, it may be time to see a dermatologist. Schedule an appointment with Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers and let our wonderful team of medical professionals use their knowledge and experience to find the root cause of your dry skin. Visit our website to find the office location nearest you, and call today for appointment times.