Winter can be hard on your skin, but there are several ways to deal with those challenges, a dermatologist says.
If your skin gets drier in the winter, use oil-based ointments and creams that tend to be more moisturizing and less irritating than water-based lotions, suggested Dr. Nicole Burkemper, an associate professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University.
People with dry skin on the face should avoid harsh peels, masks, alcohol-based toners or astringents that can strip oil from the skin, Burkemper said in a university news release. Products with alpha-hydroxy and retinoid can also worsen dry facial skin, she added.
For dry lips, plain petroleum jelly is an effective and cheap way to prevent chapping, Burkemper said.
When having a bath or shower, she recommends closing the bathroom door to trap humidity, and limiting baths or showers to 5 to 10 minutes. Use warm, rather than hot, water and a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. And blot your skin dry with a towel, and apply moisturizer immediately after you dry your skin.
When outside, protect exposed skin with sunscreen, Burkemper said.
“Gloves are important, and leather gloves hold in warmth better than cloth or woven gloves,” Burkemper added. “You should also remove wet gloves and socks as soon as possible since the moisture can actually worsen dry, irritated skin.”
If you have dry skin on your hands, apply moisturizing cream after washing your hands, she said.
“If dry, itchy skin does not respond to the above recommendations, see a dermatologist,” Burkemper said. “Severe dry skin may need a prescription ointment or cream, and dry skin may be a sign of a skin condition that needs medical treatment.”
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on keeping your skin healthy.