As the bitter chill of winter sets in, you may find that your skin is begging for hydration. Dry, cracked, rough skin can not only be unappealing, but it can also be very uncomfortable. In some cases, your hands and feet may even crack and bleed during this time of year. Whether your dry skin is a result of a chronic condition, aging, or simply seasonal irritation, it is important that it is addressed. Here at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston, we know how important dry skin relief can be, so we’ve put together a few tips to help aid in combating dry skin woes this season.
Not all Moisturizers Are Created Equally
Are you the kind of person who can use lotion multiple times a day and still feel like your skin is constantly dry? Perhaps you should examine the moisturizer you are using and consider investing in one that will better suit your skin’s needs. Generally speaking, thicker, greasier moisturizers are more effective than smooth, thin lotions. While water is an important ingredient in moisturizers, you want to make sure your product is also working to seal the moisture into your skin so that it stays well hydrated as you move throughout your day. If cost is a factor and you tend to go with the cheapest product on the shelf, it is important to note that the most effective and often cheapest products are petroleum jelly and moisturizing oils such as mineral oil. Many stores even sell travel sizes of these products so you can stick them in your purse or briefcase in case you need to reapply them throughout the day. The best time to use these products is right after you wash your hands or follow a shower or bath. Because your body will be damp, the products will help to seal in moisture and prevent clogging pores.
While these products are the most effective, they can be a bit messy if you are using them on the go frequently. If this is the case, consider using petroleum jelly or mineral oil after you bathe and using a less greasy, thick moisturizer while working throughout the day.
Other Ways to Hydrate
While moisturizing is the first step in hydrating your skin, there are other steps you can take to help lock in moisture and combat dry skin this season:
- Use a humidifier during the winter months
- Limit your time in the shower to 5-10 minutes. Try to use only lukewarm water rather than hot water, as hot water can wash away natural oils on your skin and leave it dehydrated
- Use gentle soaps that are meant to help moisturize the skin rather than heavily perfumed shower gels and soaps
- Avoid any sponges or brushes that might be abrasive to your skin while showering or bathing. Pat yourself dry rather than rubbing a towel across your skin.
- Avoid scratching your skin which can further irritate dry areas
- Use gentle detergents to wash your clothing, bed linens, and towels. Avoid anything that is heavily scented.
- Wear gloves and appropriate outerwear when going outside to avoid exposing your skin to the elements.
If you have any questions about how to best treat your skin during the winter months, contact Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston today.