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Winter Skin


During the winter months it is common for people to experience dry skin. The air outside is cold which causes the humidity level to drop, making the water in your skin evaporate more quickly. Water is also lost when we try to keep our body warm with the heater in our home and car. Dermatologists recommend implementing a few changes to help combat dry skin.

  • Use warm rather than hot water and limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 or 10 minutes; pat your skin gently dry with a towel.
  • Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil, but avoid using so much that you see a thick lather.
  • Immediately after washing apply an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions. This will trap moisture in the skin. Look for an ointment or cream that contains an oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil. Shea butter and petroleum jelly also works well.
  • Use lip balm often. The skin on lips is thin and fragile. Lips are prone to drying and cracking with winter winds and the cold temperatures, so use lip balm as often as you can instead of licking your lips or pulling off dry skin.
  • Choose non-irritating clothes and laundry detergent. When our skin is dry and raw even clothes and laundry detergent can be irritating. Use laundry detergent labeled “hypoallergenic”.

If your skin is extremely red, weeping, oozing or painful, your dry skin could be caused by something more than just general winter water loss and you should see your doctor.

How to Care for Problem Skin in the Winter,,20307071,00.html#moisturize-moisturize-0

Harvard Women's Health Watch: What to do about dry skin in winter

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics: Winter Dry Skin