Home » Health » Beauty

Dry Skin in Winter: How to Get Relief

May 16, 2008
Dry skin, itchy skin! That's what so many of our clients complain of, once winter settles in. It's so uncomfortable! But sometimes the remedies people try are the opposite of what their winter skin needs. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep your skin hydrated and comfortable.

Would you believe that some of these steps involve your home? Consider this: The first, biggest enemy of skin hydration is dry air. Hot air blowing around in your home from heating systems usually contains no water molecules at all. So by January the drywall and furniture are completely dried out, with no more moisture to give back to the air. Your entire household is dried out! That's why this time of year is when we see most dry skin problems.

How do you recognize this dry winter skin syndrome? You'll see tiny dry flakes on your legs, and your skin becomes itchy - sometimes insufferably so - especially when you undress at night and the back of your arms, hips, and legs itch to the point you can draw blood by scratching. You now have... The Winter Itch!

So what can you do? First step - everything you can do to increase humidity in your household air.

* Lower your home's temperature, because cooler air can hold more water molecules. I recommend 66 degrees at night and around 70 degrees during the daytime - slightly higher (72) if you have children.

* If you have a choice, use radiant or baseboard heating instead of forced air.

* Humidifiers are helpful. Be sure to use additives in the water to retard bacterial and mold growth. (Mold spores can trigger allergies, and some are even dangerous.)

Next, help your skin retain moisture. As the household air tips above indicate, your skin can take moisture from the air - and lose it to dry air, as well. Skin has a protective barrier of dead cells that slow down this moisture loss. So you'll want to take very good care of this protective layer. This is where so many people get into trouble with winter skin care. When skin starts flaking, it's easy to think that the flaky skin is the problem itself, and try to wash or exfoliate it. And then it's easy to end up with seriously dry, itchy skin!

You see, the second biggest enemy of skin hydration is over-washing. The skin's barrier against water loss is easily removed by frequent or vigorous washing - especially with harsher soaps, loofahs, and other scrubbers. Removing the protective layer exposes the next layer of skin. This layer is alive and easily inflamed when exposed to dry air. And it's inflammation that triggers the itch sensation. Scratching the itch further disrupts your skin's natural barrier - so infection can occur, and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis will be exacerbated. Here are 7 bathing tips to keep from washing away your skin's moisture protection.

* Bathe as infrequently as you can get away with, certainly no more than once daily. If you go to the gym, a simple rinse-off is sufficient for the non-odor areas.

* Keep your bath or shower brief.

* Avoid physical scrubbing agents completely. This means NO washcloth, except for odor areas.

* Avoid hot water; use warm instead.

* Soaps should be of the moisturizing variety (like Dove, Caress, Tone). Use sparingly.

* Pat dry with the towel - no scrubbing dry.

* Immediately after patting dry, apply a generous amount of moisturizing lotion to your skin, especially where most exposure to ambient air occurs - your arms and legs. Then apply a facial moisturizing cream.

Then, while your skin still feels moist, be sure to put on adequate clothing that covers up air-exposed areas as much as possible, to retain your skin's water. Apply more of your moisturizing, hydrating skin care products throughout the day. You cannot overdo it! And speaking of products - over-the-counter moisturizing lotions and creams are much better than none at all. However, recent developments in hydrating products incorporate hyaluronic acid and green tea, which both attract and hold water. These formulations are anti-inflammatory, and they are available in medical offices.

Here's the basic moisturizer rule: Whenever you are tempted (or driven) to scratch - that is when you need a moisturizing lotion or cream. You'll soon know how often your skin needs to have additional moisturizing help to prevent these episodes of severe itching.

Try these methods for dry skin relief. Your skin will thank you!
About the Author
James C. Fairfield, MD has established the oldest and most respected dermatology practice in the Delaware Valley. For more free cosmetic dermatology information and resources and to sign up for his free report, Erase the Years, visit his web site at http://www.cmderm.com .
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 178
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources