Winter is Here: Learn How to Care for Dry and Chapped Skin

Woman applying cream Winter is Here: Learn How to Care for Dry and Chapped Skin

New England winters are harsh for a number of reasons: bad roads, shoveling, and oppressive cold. Amid the winter months, the air is at its most dry, and your skin is at risk!

Winter and Dry Skin

Warm air holds moisture, or humidity, far better than cold air. On blustery winter days, the air outside is carrying far less moisture in it than in the warm, summer months. Here in the northeastern United States, these extreme differences are incredibly apparent. While a gentle summer or spring breeze won’t hurt your skin’s moisture level, the cold winter air can pull it from your skin in no time. If you need proof, consider how quickly your lips dry out in winter, even if you’re cooped up indoors.

Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, which cause dry skin among other symptoms, are often at their worst in winter. Even if you don’t have a skin condition related to dryness, your skin can still get chapped and rough. Thankfully, you’re probably already well aware of how winter can impact your skin if you suffer from chronic dry skin. If you’re new to snowy, bitter winters, this might be a bit of a shock to your system. Additionally, as people age, their skin begins to retain less moisture, and that makes you more prone to winter dryness. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to make sure that your skin keeps its moisture and isn’t made rough and dry by arid winter conditions.

How to Care for Dry and Chapped Skin

Whether this is your first or 45th winter, you’re going to need some help keeping your skin from drying. Thankfully, there are a number of over-the-counter products and treatments available for most dryness. It’s important to moisturize daily, and avoid harsh soaps and cleansers when bathing or washing your hands. Hand sanitizer or other cleaners that contain alcohol can especially dry skin. For most people, the moisturizers you can buy in any department store are strong enough. Even if you do need a bit more than the average lotion, there are stronger formulas available that use natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe, and oatmeal, which are all very hydrating. Cool mist humidifiers, or whole-home/office humidifiers, work very well to balance the humidity of your indoor environments.

If you do have a pre-existing condition like psoriasis or eczema, you’re probably already prepared for winter with your daily routine. But the steps you’re taking every day might need a boost in the winter. If you’re using prescription ointments or creams, you might need to use some more lotion to supplement those treatments, or use these topical medications more frequently. Remember, it’s important to talk to your dermatologist whenever you change how often you apply prescription ointments or use a new moisturizer. Psoriasis can benefit from controlled exposure to UVB light. When the days are shorter and the skies are gray, your psoriasis plaques won’t have the added benefit of natural UVB light. Light therapy, either with a full body light box or a smaller device can be administered to your skin, easing the symptoms of psoriasis. The full effects of UVB light on psoriasis are not fully understood, but there is a great deal of correlation between light therapy and improving psoriasis symptoms. This treatment can be administered at your dermatologist’s office, or with doctor approved at-home devices that your doctor can recommend.

Winter in the northeast can make your skin dry and chapped, but you don’t need to face these problems alone. If you want to keep your skin feeling moisturized and free of irritation, find the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates.

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