Treat Yourself to Better Skin this Winter

Wintertime means dry, flaky, and itchy skin for many people, but it can be managed with a few basic steps. These tips from UAB Dermatology can help keep your skin comfortable despite the cold and dry air.

Dry Skin Do’s and Don’ts

Help prevent your skin’s natural oils from drying out by avoiding very hot water when washing your hands and showering, running the heat less (especially gas heat), and watching how much time you spend fireside. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially in rooms with heat sources. If your home’s heating system has a built-in humidifier, make sure it’s working.

Don’t Ignore Your Body

Dry skin isn’t just a problem for the hands and face – it can affect your scalp, nose, lips, eyelids, thighs, calves, and heels. Before you head outdoors, use sunscreen on all exposed areas of your face and head, and use a high-quality moisturizer on your entire body, especially the parts most likely to become dry and itchy.

Moisturizers vs. Hydrators

Hydrators add essential moisture and help replenish the skin. Moisturizers help prevent water loss, to keep moisture on top of the skin. Both products treat dryness during the winter season, but if your skin is especially dry and vulnerable, then hydrators tend to be the better choice. Read the labels carefully to see which product is right for you.

Timing is Everything

There’s never a bad time to moisturize, and doing so throughout the day is a good way to fight dry skin. Ointments, creams, and lotions work by trapping existing moisture in your skin, so you should apply these products within minutes of drying off after a shower or bath and immediately after washing your face or hands.

Fragrance-Free Products

Some skincare products, such as deodorant soaps, are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin, so try to choose products labeled “fragrance-free”. This usually is a better choice than “unscented”, which can still mean that the product contains odor-hiding chemicals that can irritate the skin.

Talk to an Expert

If you have dry or itchy skin that won’t go away, it’s wise to talk with a board-certified dermatologist. Very dry skin may require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin also can be a sign of a treatable medical condition, such as eczema.

UAB Dermatology offers products created specifically for dry skin. We treat conditions of the skin, hair, and nails in patients of all ages, and we also can help improve the skin’s appearance (cosmetic dermatology). Click here to learn more or make an appointment.

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