"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A physician answers 5 questions on dry skin.

During the winter months, I wash my hands repeatedly and use hand sanitizer on occasion to attempt to avoid colds. It could be an excellent health habit, nevertheless it also just about guarantees that I'll be affected by dry, chapped skin and tiny cuts around my toes by spring.

Dry skin is common within the winter months, partly because people are inclined to wash their hands faster, but the mixture of cold air and lack of humidity also plays a job. Your skin spends the winter months fighting to retain moisture, not to say heading off other insults from cold-weather staples like scratchy woolen clothes and raging wood fires.

1. What is probably the most common skin problem in winter?

For most individuals, it's dry skin and itching, Dr. Gilchrist says. You can blame cold air and low humidity for stripping water out of your skin's surface. Instead of lying flat and smooth after which inconspicuously falling off the surface, dead skin cells from the numerous layers of skin that make up our protective skin barrier form small but visible partially connected clumps that you simply The skin feels dry and rough.

Eczema craquelé is one other problem to observe for within the winter months. It is largely an extreme manifestation of dry skin, which often occurs on the lower legs. With this condition, dandruff actually causes cracks in the highest layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum. Bleeding can occur under the skin, which may appear as red streaks, giving the skin a mottled appearance. Some individuals with this condition experience itching and stinging.

2. How are you able to prevent dry skin throughout the winter months?

Combating the issue starts with keeping your property environment moist. Use a humidifier if possible. But probably the most effective strategy is to make use of skin moisturizers, which reduce dehydration and physically smooth the skin, making it feel less rough, says Dr. Gilhurst.

3. Do you will have any suggestions for selecting a moisturizer?

Choose the heaviest moisturizer that's comfortable to wear, and use more in your lower legs and hands, that are most liable to dryness. After showering or bathing, pat skin dry and apply moisturizer immediately. Reapply as needed throughout the day, says Dr. Gilchrist.

4. Do expensive, brand-name moisturizers work higher than lower-cost options?

“It's not expensive to do,” says Dr. Gilhurst. “To my knowledge, although there are some very expensive moisturizers, there are none that are magically better.” But in case you can, Look for moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acids, also called fruit acids, corresponding to lactic acid or glycolic acid. Creams with alpha hydroxy acids hold moisture longer than other moisturizers, she says Says you possibly can get plenty of them. Use a small amount until your skin gets used to them, so you possibly can apply them they usually don't sting.

5. Any other winter suggestions you possibly can offer?

Keeping the skin's outer barrier well hydrated is crucial. Also, keep your skin covered in cold temperatures, and don't forget to wear gloves if you're outside, says Dr. Gilchrist. For individuals with Raynaud's syndrome, where the blood vessels within the fingers are more reactive to cold temperatures, gloves might help prevent painful and white fingers, that are more common in winter. Keeping hands warm also can ensure healthy nail growth throughout the colder months, she says.

Also, as comfortable because it is, it's best to avoid sitting near a hearth or radiator all day, as this sort of direct heat can damage your skin. Avoid very popular baths for that reason, says Dr. Gilchrist. Whenever possible, attempt to wear soft clothes. Wool is warm, but it may possibly scratch and itch the skin. If you wear wool if you exit, ensure to remove it as soon as you get in, or put it on soft clothes.

With a bit of extra care, you'll have the option to guard your skin from the results of the winter chill.