Dry skin is common and can impact both adults and children. As your skin loses water and oil, whether from frequent hand washing or dry winter air, dry skin can occur.
Symptoms can include peeling, flaking or scaling skin; a rough feel to skin; skin tightness; cracking skin; and itching. Dry skin flare-ups are most common on the hands, feet, arms and lower legs.
To make matters worse, there are many environmental factors that can cause dry skin including:
- Cold, dry winter air
- Furnaces that heat the air and remove moisture
- Hot, dry air in desert environments
- Air conditioners that cool the air and remove moisture
- Taking long, hot baths and frequent showers
- Frequent hand washing
- Some soaps and detergents
- Skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis
- Some medicines (both topical and oral)
- Age – skin gets thinner and produces less natural oil
To ease winter itch and other dry skin signs, consider the following tips:
- Moisturize your skin with an ointment, cream or lotion 2 to 3 times a day.
- Moisturizers help lock in moisture, so they work best on damp skin. After you bathe, pat skin dry then apply your moisturizer.
- Avoid skin care products and soaps that contain alcohol, fragrances, dyes or other chemicals.
- Take short, warm baths or showers.
- Bathe only once a day.
- Use gentle skin cleansers or soap with added moisturizers.
- Avoid scrubbing your skin.
- Shave right after bathing, when hair is soft.
- Wear soft, comfortable clothing next to your skin. Avoid rough fabrics like wool.
- Wash clothes with detergents that are free of dyes or fragrances.
- Apply a cool compress to irritated skin.
As they say, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate to help prevent dry skin flare-ups to help take one worry off your list during the busy winter months.