Dry skin is a very common skin problem that tends to give some people more trouble in colder weather months, especially when humidity is low. When skin becomes dehydrated, it loses its flexibility and becomes cracked, scaly and sometimes itchy. Your skin needs moisture to stay smooth and supple. You can help relieve dry “winter skin” with the following remedies:
Keep water lukewarm, not hot - Hot water depletes skin of moisture causing dry skin, so it is best to shower in lukewarm water. This also means skipping hot tubs. The hot, hot temperature, combined with drying chemicals, is extra drying to skin.
Moisturize daily especially after showers and hand washing - Dry skin problems result when there is not enough water in the skin and the moisture is allowed to escape. A wide variety of dry skin lotion and creams are available to smooth out our skin and provide a seal over your skin to keep water from escaping, adding moisture and keeping it moist. Gently pat skin dry after showers and apply a cream moisturizer which is best for people with normal to dry skin.
Use a humidifier - The moisture in the air is good for skin. If you live in a low-humidity climate or you are around furnaces in the winter, humidifiers can moisturize skin that is dry from cold weather.
Cleanse your skin, but skip drying soaps - Soaps can be increase dry skin. Stick with a creamy moisturizing cleanser that contains glycerin or petrolatum, such as Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash.
Protect yourself from the weather, avoid extreme cold and excessive heat – Use sunblock SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun. Cover your face and use a petroleum-based lip balm for the lips. Cold temperatures can cause skin disorders and heat depletes moisture from the air. Avoid using heating pads or keeping your legs in front of the fireplace for long periods of time.
In most cases dry skin causes can be easily remedied however, certain types of skin diseases or medical conditions such as diabetes, hormonal changes, skin eczema, and psoriasis of the skin are some of the causes of decreased amounts of protective moisture and may require professional medical help. If you have persistently dry skin, scaling, itching, rashes or skin growths that concern you, see your dermatologist.