Most of us experience the same problem during the colder months: Our skin gets drier and loses moisture more quickly. In some instances, however, skin can become very dry during the wintertime, leading to cracked, bleeding, or itchy skin. This is known as xeroderma, which is the medical term for dry skin. In order to avoid this level of dryness — or if you already experience xeroderma year round — you’ll need to take a few extra steps to care for your skin in winter.
Drs. Michael Del Torto, Donald Stranahan, Jr., Kirra Brandon, and Hyland Cronin, as well as the rest of our team at Easton Dermatology Associates, want to make sure that you have the tools you need to protect your skin at home. If you ever have any questions or you want to get a checkup to make sure things are shipshape, just visit us at one of our two Maryland locations.
The dos of winter skincare
Avoiding dry skin is the best thing you can do for your body during the wintertime. Dry skin can worsen and become painful, even causing bleeding. If you know you are already prone to dry skin, you’ll want to make sure you take on these activities, especially in the wintertime.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
You can purchase oils, ointments, creams, and lotions over-the-counter, and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks when it comes to keeping your skin moist. In the winter, we recommend oil-based moisturizers or ointments because they offer the most protection. Remember to moisturize after your shower or bath so that you lock in moisture as much as possible.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Many people skip the sunscreen in the winter, but it’s a great way to lock in moisture and protect your skin. Remember, sunny days still exist, and the more you protect your skin, the less chance it will have to get dried out.
Your hands are the most vulnerable part of your skin, as you use them all the time, and the skin there is actually thinner. Wearing gloves when you go out protects your hands from the elements, which can suck up their necessary moisture.
Drink lots and lots of water
Yes, hydrating your body with lots of water is always a good idea, and especially when it’s cold. During cold weather, your skin is looking for moisture in every possible place; it will thank you for the helping hand of staying hydrated.
Use a humidifier
Another great and easy way to lock in moisture is to have a humidifier in your room while you’re sleeping. Harvard Medical School suggests setting yours at around 60% to recharge the top layer of your skin at night.
The don’ts of winter skincare
With dos come don’ts, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that there are some things you’ll need to avoid during the winter months if you want to keep your skin from drying out.
Avoid hot baths and showers
We know, we know! It’s heaven to jump into a hot shower or bath after spending all day in the freezing cold, but hot water sucks the moisture out of your skin like nothing else. As such, you’re going to want to limit those bathing sessions — or at least alternate with cold water.
Hand washing can take a hit
Okay, yes. You still need to wash your hands in the winter, but try to avoid it if it isn’t necessary. Washing your hands 10 times a day if you aren’t a nurse or a preschool teacher probably isn’t a requirement, and avoiding using all that extra soap or hand sanitizer can help keep your hands moist.
If you do notice that your skin has become flaky or dry, for goodness sake, don’t scratch it! We recommend using a fragrance-free moisturizer to bring down the itching, but continue watching the area, and make sure it doesn’t worsen.
If you want to make an appointment with one of our dermatologists, simply call 410-819-8867 to reach our Easton or Salisbury, Maryland, offices.