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Johns Hopkins Health - Banishing Dry Winter Skin

Winter 2010
Issue No. 7

Banishing Dry Winter Skin

Date: January 24, 2010

two hands with white lotion

If you’re feeling the pinch and tightness of dry winter skin, you’re not alone. Thankfully, a few easy steps can help ease your discomfort. Dermatologist Rachel Abuav, M.D., says the keys are prevention and protection.

Part of the problem is that when it gets colder outside, and we’re exposed to heaters, dryness in the air leads to dryness of the skin. It’s absolutely essential to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, she says.

Thick creams and ointments are far more effective than watery lotions. And the best time to use them—from head to toe—is right after your bath or shower, while your skin is still moist. Abuav says to avoid super-hot baths or showers, as these worsen dry skin. If you suffer from itchy winter skin or eczema, moisturizing can help keep the itching down, too.

If you have sensitive skin, Abuav cautions against soaps with heavy fragrances. Plus, scrubbing with washcloths and other abrasive materials in the shower can make dry, itchy skin worse.

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