Tips to Avoid Dry Skin During Winter01/06/13
SUNDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Throughout the winter,
excessive hand washing to prevent the spread of germs can leave
skin extremely dry and itchy. Drinking coffee and alcoholic
beverages can also lead to dehydration and dry skin, experts say,
but proper skin care and hydration can prevent skin from chapping
"As the temperature is low and the heater is on, the indoor air gets dehydrated and your skin loses moisture from the environment," said Dr. Michelle Tarbox, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, in a medical center news release. "Water always moves downhill, even on a microscopic level, and when the level of moisture in the air drops due to the heating process, it practically sucks the water out of your skin."
Tarbox offered the following tips to help keep skin hydrated
during the winter months:
- Use a humidifier.Plug this device in at night and while
working to help prevent moisture loss indoors. For best results,
use distilled water instead of tap water. "Humidifying the air can
reverse the process of skin dehydration and is particularly helpful
for patients with dermatitis (an itchy inflammation of the skin),"
- Use over-the-counter saline sprays.These sprays can help
keep the mouth, eyes and nasal areas hydrated, particularly during
travel. When they are too dry, these mucosal surfaces can become
itchy and are less able to protect against viral infections, such
as the flu.
- Avoid harsh cleansers.Some cleansers are irritating and can
lead to hand eczema, a long-term skin disorder, dermatitis and
dryness. Replace these cleansers with more mild, skin-friendly
products to prevent dry skin. "You can look for some beneficial
ingredients like essential oils, jojoba oil and shea butter oil,"
- Choose the right moisturizer.Essential oils, jojoba oil and
shea butter oil are also beneficial ingredients found in certain
moisturizers. Use products that also contain fat molecules known as
ceramides that help protect the skin. It's also important for
people to choose products suited to their skin type. "The less
water a moisturizer has, the longer it will last," Tarbox
explained. "When in doubt, thicker is often better while choosing a
- Drink water.Drinking caffeinated coffee and alcoholic drinks
can also lead to dehydration and dry skin. To prevent dehydration,
Tarbox recommended drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic
or caffeinated beverage consumed.
The American Academy of Dermatology provides more tips on how to
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.