7 Ways to Beat the Winter Dry Skin

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Cold weather brings on dry, itchy skin that can become annoying if you're not ready for it. There are a number of ways to beat the dry skin problem. Try several of these to find the best combination of treatments for your itchy skin this year.

1. Get Help from a Professional

If you have dry skin with severe flaking, inflammation and redness, you may have eczema. Most general practice physicians can diagnose this for you and recommend ways to minimize the itching and swelling. If you suspect this is the case, don't waste time on over-the-counter remedies that won't help, and will just prolong your scratching. Talk to physicians such as Friedrich Tomas J MD for assistance.

2. Use a Thicker Moisturizer

You may need a more dense, oil-based moisturizer in the winter months. Thin moisturizers get absorbed by the skin, leaving the outside layer exposed to the dry air. An ointment-type product leaves a protective coating on the skin to prevent loss of moisture to the air.

3. Find a Simpler Formulation

When looking for moisturizers, find those with little or no fragrance, colors or additives. These can irritate your already vulnerable skin. Shampoos and conditioners that have fewer additives and soap made for sensitive skin will be kinder to your skin when it's dry.

4. Give More Attention to Your Hands

Your hands have fewer oil glands than other areas of skin on your body. They also have thinner skin layers. Hands get dry faster and the skin can crack and itch. Wear gloves as often as you can when out in the cold. Keep hand lotion with you and apply several times each day.

5. Use a Humidifier at Night

Your furnace does a good job of heating the air in your house but you still lose humidity. The warm, dry air in your house is another cause of dry, itchy skin. A whole house humidifier will add moisture back into the air. This can be an expensive option so you can settle for a room humidifier in your bedroom. Your skin will, at least, get a moist-air treatment while you're sleeping.

6. Avoid Long Hot Baths and Showers

It's always tempting to settle into a tub of hot, soapy water after a day out in the cold. But hot water makes your skin lose moisture faster, so you are better off using slightly warm water. Adding oatmeal or baking soda to a warm bath can relieve itchy skin.

7. Make Diet Changes

Increase the unsaturated fats in your diet to give your skin extra protection. Add more of the following foods to get this boost:

  • salmon or other oily fish
  • nuts, especially almonds
  • avocados
  • olive oil

Prepare yourself, and your skin, for the cold weather with these moisture-saving tips. Don't scratch your way through another winter.