As the temperature outside gets colder, we tend to crank up the heat in our homes. But heaters remove moisture from the air, causing our skin to get dry. To prevent dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends a modified skin care routine during colder weather:
• Baths and showers. Limit baths and showers to 5-10 minutes, and use warm water rather than hot. Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, and lightly blot skin with a towel to dry.
• Moisturize immediately. Applying a moisturizer will trap much-needed moisture to help soothe dry skin.
• Wear gloves. The hands often are the first place dry skin appears, so be sure to wear gloves while going outside in the winter, performing tasks that may require hands to get wet, and exposing hands to chemicals and greases.
• Humidify. During winter the humidity in the air drops, and using a humidifier puts moisture back into the air, helping to fight against dry skin.
“Vaseline is an excellent moisturizer, and one of the most economical,” says Laura Howard, MD, with Sentara Palmyra Medical Associates. “It should be applied regularly after a warm bath or shower. And for dry, cracked hands or feet, apply Vaseline liberally before bed and cover with white cotton gloves or socks.”
If, despite your best efforts, your dry winter skin doesn’t start to feel better, see a dermatologist, as you may require a prescription ointment or cream. A dermatologist can examine your skin and explore treatment options with you.