CareNow® - January 10, 2022

Do you have dry, itchy skin during the colder months of the year? If you do, you're not alone. It's a common misconception that summer is the most important season to protect your skin. While sun damage can be dangerous, winter weather can wreak havoc on your skin.

Cold, brisk air in the winter can leave your hands chapped and your face dried out. Changing your skincare during the cold weather months is a must to prevent fine lines and wrinkles on your face and dry, itchy or cracked and bleeding skin on your hands. Use these four proven principles to get rid of dry skin for good.

Shorten your shower to 5 minutes

When it's cold outside, that long, hot luxurious shower is hard to resist. Although the water soothes and relaxes, hot showers dry out your skin's natural oils and open your pores, allowing moisture to escape, which leads to dry skin. Dermatologists recommend showering no longer than 5-10 minutes.

Because humidity levels drop in the winter, close your bathroom door while you shower to keep the moist air inside. Dial back the temperature of the water so that it's warm, not hot. Apply just enough mild cleanser to remove dirt and oil; too much can dry out the skin.

Moisturize immediately after showering and before bed

Showering opens the pores of your skin, allowing moisture to escape. Using a quality moisturizer immediately after patting dry with a towel will help to replace moisture and keep it in.

It's important to choose only gentle, unscented products on your skin. If you're suffering from dry skin, avoid soaps that contain deodorant and skincare products that include alcohol, retinoids and fragrance.

While it can be tempting to save money and buy cheap products, it's often a good idea to spend a bit more to have a more skin-friendly product. Choose an ointment or cream versus a lotion. Creams and ointments with oil additives, such as olive oil or jojoba, typically work best. Shea butter is another great option.

You can also fight dry skin while you sleep. Simply apply your moisturizer to dry skin a few minutes before bed. Remember to always apply moisturizer after washing your face or hands.

Cover exposed skin while outdoors

Cover as much of your skin as possible when outside. Take advantage of seasonal fashion. Scarves serve a function other than accessorizing your outfit; they can also keep the skin around your neck and on your face safe from whipping winds that will dry your skin out. Gloves are the best way to keep your hands from getting chapped when out in the cold.

Don't forget about your lips. It's hard to keep them covered, but a tube of your favorite lip balm will protect them from the wintry weather. Apply lip balm throughout the day as needed to keep your lips moist.

If your face and hands are taking a beating from winter winds, one of the best ways to treat dry skin is by exfoliating. Slough off dead skin cells that make your skin look flaky with an exfoliating product.

Treat your home

Turning on the heater in your home during the winter months will keep you warm but will also remove moisture from the air. Space heaters and fireplaces are two key culprits that dry out the air in your home. Using a humidifier in your bedroom can make a huge difference to your skin if the air is dry.

What if that doesn't work?

Most of the time, dry skin is just that: dry skin. However, there are instances where dry skin can be indicative of something more. If your dry skin is accompanied by redness, swelling, excessive itchiness or crusting, it could be symptomatic of an allergy, eczema or even psoriasis. These conditions are sometimes difficult to tell apart.

Both eczema and psoriasis include symptoms similar to those experienced with dry skin, along with scaling and red patches. However, psoriasis brings other symptoms such as painful joints and soreness around skin patches.

By following the above tips, you should be able to treat your dry skin quickly. However, there are instances where you should see a provider. If your skin doesn't heal even after you've attempted treatment, is accompanied by redness, interferes with sleeping, results in open sores or infections caused by scratching or begins to peel, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If you feel ill or are struggling with habitually dry skin this season, consider visiting your local CareNow®. To find the nearest CareNow® to you, visit our website. Be sure to check in online to avoid the waiting room by using the Web Check-In®.

Disclaimer: Patients' health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.