Soothe and Smooth Dry Winter Skin
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains that in the winter, the humidity drops, making it more difficult for skin to moisturize itself. Normal skin problems can be exacerbated during the cold months. As skin cells get dry, their edges curl up, creating a rough texture, per AAD. The coldness of winter encourages people to turn up the heat in the house, the car and the shower. These actions lead to drying and cracking of the skin. Winter skin is officially called xerosis or asteatosis. Soothing and smoothing dry winter skin only requires a few simple changes to your daily routine. The AAD suggests preventing winter skin before it starts as the best way to avoid discomfort.
Take cooler showers. The AAD points out that in the winter, baths and showers tend to get hotter as people do not want to feel cold. The heat has a drying effect on the skin.
Avoid perfumes and fragrances in any products, especially lotions, clothing detergents and fabric softeners. The AAD suggests liquid fabric softener instead of dryer sheets because the fragrance is rinsed out during the wash.
Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to problem areas or as an overall moisturizer. The greasier the lotion, according to the AAD, the better it will hydrate the skin. Apply hand cream immediately after washing your hands to lock in your skin's natural moisture.
Apply sunscreen to skin that will be exposed, even in the winter. Use a lip balm that contains an SPF as well. Wind burn or sunburn will only aggravate already dry winter skin.
Soak in a warm, not hot, tub of oatmeal to soothe your skin if it is itchy or painful. Be sure to pat yourself dry instead of rubbing. Apply moisturizer to your body within three minutes of getting out of the tub, per the AAD. This prevents further evaporation of water and moisture.
Apply a thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to areas that are inflamed, painful or itchy. This will reduce some of the discomfort. Take an oral anti-histamine to block the itchiness as well. Scratching dry and irritated skin will only worsen it.
Slather on a layer of emollient cream before bed. This thick cream will hydrate your skin overnight. It is especially helpful if you showered before the application and do not shower in the morning.
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