Dry skin can be a year-round occurrence, especially for those more prone to this condition. Some people are more susceptible than others. People with naturally dry skin, those with certain medical conditions such as eczema, and those taking certain medications are more likely to experience and suffer from dry skin.
Dry skin is often worse during the winter months due to cold and dry air. Even those not generally prone to dry skin will often experience it during the winter. Cold and dry air pulls moisture from the skin and can strip away natural oils. Plus, indoor heating can dry out the air inside your home, another factor leading to dry skin.
Whether you are prone to dry skin or not, the following tips will help you avoid and get rid of dry skin during the winter months and year-round:
Change your bath and shower routine. Limit your time in the bath or shower to 5 minutes. This can be achieved especially if you only wash odor areas and do not wash areas of dry skin at all.
Moisturize your skin immediately after washing. Use a heavy, oil-based moisturizer to help lock water in your skin. Not toweling off and letting your skin dry naturally can also help. You can even moisturize while your skin is still damp.
Use ointments over lotions. Ointments and creams are more viscous, more effective, and less irritating. Look for products that contain at least one of the following ingredients:
- Shea butter
- Jojoba oil
- Hyaluronic acid
- Lactic acid
While ointments and creams are more effective, some people do not find them cosmetically elegant or practical to put under clothing. Lotions will also be effective but may require additional application(s) daily, especially in the winter months or dryer climates.
Protect yourself from the sun. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before going outdoors.
Use lip balm. Find a product that feels soothing to your lips. If a tingling or stinging sensation occurs after application, find a different product.
Drink plenty of water. Dry skin is often a sign of dehydration. If you notice it’s difficult to reach your liquid goals on water alone, find other palatable liquids to obtain your daily fluid needs. In the winter, it can be more difficult to drink cool beverages. Non-caffeinated teas and warm soup are also great sources of additional liquid.
Avoid harsh skin care products. Use mild, fragrance-free cleansers, avoid scrubbing your skin, and keep your skincare routine simple. Stay away from harsh soaps that contain fragrances, dyes, and alcohol, which can dry out your skin. Even products marketed for dry skin may be too harsh. Products that claim to be “unscented” can still contain odor-neutralizing chemicals that can irritate your skin. Also, stay away from products that contain alcohol, alpha-hydroxy acid, and retinoids.
Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can help add moisture to the air, which can help relieve dry skin.
Wear gloves. Many people suffer from dry hands. You can avoid and heal dry hands by wearing winter gloves when you go outdoors in winter, and wearing gloves when performing kitchen and other duties that require you to get your hands wet.
Seek advice from your dermatologist. If these changes do not bring relief, you should seek out the trusted medical advice and treatment of a dermatologist. If your dry skin is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, you may need professional care. Very dry skin may require prescription ointments or may indicate an underlying condition that needs to be treated. Dry skin can be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, harsh soaps and skin care products, low humidity, dehydration, and certain medical conditions. If you need to seek dermatological advice about your dry skin, call our office today at (913) 469-1115 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaplan and the team at Adult and Pediatric Dermatology.