Temperatures drop, wind picks up, and heaters crank on. Dry air robs our skin of moisture this time of year causing itchiness, cracking, even more serious conditions like eczema. If this sounds like your skin, try these at-home tips from Dermatologist Lori Ramirez to lock in moisture and ward off winter dryness.
It Starts with Soap
Dr. Ramirez recommends using a gentle, fragrance-free soap for bathing. Soaps that contain fragrances and added colors can cause allergic reactions for people with delicate skin.
She also recommends reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower or bath in the winter. Use warm—not hot—water and gently pat skin dry when you’re out.
Moisturize Right after Bathing
Moisturizers work by trapping existing moisture and our skin is very moisturized immediately after bathing. To trap that much-needed moisture in, Dr. Ramirez advises applying a lotion, cream, or ointment within a few minutes of drying off. Use this same tip after washing your face or hands in the winter.
Slather Up Throughout the Day
At least one more time after bathing, apply some lotion or cream each day. If you don’t have time to moisturize head-to-toe, at least focus on dry-prone areas like hands/knuckles, face, neck, elbows, and knees.
Sunscreen Still Applies
Don’t be misled by the drop in temperature, the sun’s rays are just as strong and damaging despite the chill in the air. Keep using a daily sunscreen throughout the winter to seal in moisture and protect your skin from premature aging.
Create a Barrier for Areas Prone to Dryness
Our hands bear the brunt of winter’s wrath; sometimes our knuckles can even crack and bleed. In addition to the tips above, wear gloves while you’re outside to keep a barrier between your hands and the dry air.
Another area prone to dryness is our lips. Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips and reapply often. If your lips sting or tingle after applying balm, switch to one that doesn’t cause this reaction.
What to Look for in a Moisturizer
If you don’t have any complaints about your current moisturizer, continue using it. But if your moisturizer isn’t getting the job done or if you develop a rash or persistent itch, Dr. Ramirez recommends switching to a fragrance-free and colorless moisturizer.
People with very dry skin can also try a cream instead of a lotion. Creams are thicker and offer better skin lubrication.
When to See a Dermatologist
Consider visiting a dermatologist if the tips above do not improve your skin within a few weeks. Very dry skin may require a prescription-strength ointment or cream. Dry skin can also be a sign of a skin condition that needs addressing. Dr. Ramirez or another Ogden Clinic dermatologist will examine your skin and determine the course of treatment that will reduce your discomfort.