Winter Is Tough on Your Skin – Fight Back

The key to keeping skin soft in winter: Moisturize.

“Skin tends to be drier when the weather is less humid, so individuals should moisturize at least twice a day, if not more often,” according to Dr. Vicky Zhen Ren, a dermatologist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Ren offered some tips for getting that moisture back into skin.

  • Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. Lotions have higher water content and not as much of the agents that prevent dry skin. Apply creams after a shower or bath to lock in the moisture.
  • Choose lukewarm water temperatures instead of hot showers or baths. Limit them to five to 10 minutes.
  • A humidifier at home during the dry season can help. Just be sure to keep it clean.
  • Wear clothing that protects the skin from the wind and cold.
  • Creams that contain urea, lactic acid, ammonium lactate or alpha hydroxy acids may be beneficial for skin that is thick or scaly. However, these may also be irritating if the skin is fissuring or cracking.

Anyone can get dry skin. People who have eczema may be especially susceptible to weather changes.

Keep track of your skin habits because some symptoms can be a sign of cancer or thyroid, kidney or liver disease. If you’re taking good care of your skin and your efforts aren’t helping, or your skin is severely inflamed, fissured or crusted, you may need to see a dermatologist.

“Remember, not moisturizing will always lead to dry skin,” Ren said in a college news release.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on self-care for dry skin.

SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, news release, Dec. 14, 2022