Dry air in
winter can cause dry and itchy skin, but there
are some simple steps you can take to protect
your skin, said dermatologist Dr. Sarah Myers
of Duke University.
"It's important to try and control some
parts of your immediate environment. The goal
is to keep as much moisture in the skin as possible
to prevent any itching, irritation or redness,"
Myers said in a prepared statement.
She offers the following tips:
- Use humidifiers throughout the house, or
at least in the bedroom.
- Wear protective gloves to minimize exposure
to the elements.
- Take shorter, cooler showers instead of
longer, hotter ones.
- Use gentler, non-deodorant soaps and use
moisturizing shampoos on hair that is frequently
curled or blow-dried.
- After showering and before drying off completely,
apply a moisturizer or emollient to your skin.
- People with very dry skin should use thicker
or oil-based moisturizers and ointments and
apply them liberally on fingertips and knuckles.
- Use a Vaseline-based emollient to protect
If you do develop dry skin and over-the-counter
products don't relieve the itching or your skin
begins to crack and break down, you should consult
a doctor, Myers said. You should also see a
doctor if you develop red patches, crusting
of the skin, and cracks that won't heal.