"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 recurrently and use hand sanitizer occasionally to attempt to avoid colds. It is perhaps 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 likely to wash their hands faster, but the mixture of cold air and lack of humidity also plays a task. Your skin spends the winter months fighting to retain moisture, not to say keeping 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 falling inconspicuously 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 just The skin feels dry and rough.

Eczema craquelé is one other problem to look at for within the winter months. It is essentially 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 might 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've got 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 susceptible 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 for those who can, she says, search for moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acids, also often known as fruit acids, reminiscent of lactic acid or glycolic acid. Creams with alpha hydroxy acids retain moisture within the skin longer than other moisturizers. She says you possibly can get loads of them. Use small amounts until your skin gets used to them, so you possibly can apply them without stinging.

5. Any other winter suggestions you possibly can offer?

Keeping the skin's outer barrier well hydrated is critical. 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 may also help prevent painful and white fingers, that are more common in winter. Keeping hands warm may also ensure healthy nail growth throughout the colder months, she says.

Also, as comfortable because it is, it's best to avoid sitting near a fireplace or radiator all day, as such a direct heat can damage your skin. Avoid extremely 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 that to remove it as soon as you get back inside, or put it on soft clothes.

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