Along with winter weather comes itchy, dry skin.
Our home heating systems, those at work, stores and other buildings we frequent during the winter months tend to dry out our skin. Moisture is what our skin needs if our skin is going to remain smooth and supple. The older we get the more moisture our skin needs and the more we need to moisturize.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology makes the following suggestions to avoid dry skin:
- Each day when you take your bath or shower, try to use lukewarm water. Hot water dries out the skin. Try to limit your time to fifteen minutes or less in the bath or shower. Bathing should be done no more than once a day. If you bathe too frequently you will remove the natural oils from the skin causing dryness.
- Avoid using harsh soaps that dry the skin. Recommended soaps are Dove, Olay and Basis. Even better than soap are skin cleansers such as Cetaphil Skin Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and Aquanil Cleanser.
- Deodorant soaps are often very harsh and drying. If you need them, limit their use to areas that develop an odor such as the armpits, genital area, and feet.
- Avoid vigorous use of a washcloth in cleansing. When toweling dry, do not rub the skin. Blot or pat dry so there is still some moisture left on the skin.
- Next apply a moisturizing cream (not lotion) to the skin. The best time to do this is immediately after a bath or shower so that the moisturizer holds in the moisture from the shower. Choose either Cetaphil, Moisturel, CeraVe or Eucerin Cream. If you have severely dry skin, apply an oil to the still moist skin such as Neutrogena Light Sesame Oil, Hermal Body Oil, Alpha-Keri Oil or Robathol, then apply a moisturizing cream and also apply the moisturizer at bedtime.
- All areas that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, ears, hands, and back of the neck should have a moisturizer containing sun block or a sunscreen of SPF 25 or greater applied daily.
- For laundry, use “All-free”, “Tide-free” or “Cheer-free” detergents. Avoid using fabric softeners, especially in the dryer. Keep irritating fabrics away from your skin. Don’t wear clothing made of wool or other “scratchy” fabrics. Use cotton percale sheets on your bed.
Use a humidifier in your home during the central heating season. If sweating causes itching, modify your activity and surroundings to minimize sweating. Work and sleep in a fairly constant temperature (68-75o F) and humidity (45-55%). Remember to keep drinking plenty of water and other liquids to keep your skin moist from the inside, too.
Source information:The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology – http://www.aocd.org/