Caregiver's Home Companion Free captioning phone for those with hearing loss.

Posted: December 31, 2008

8 Tips for Protecting Skin from Winter's Bite

Those 'Flakes' Are Not Just Snow

Cold weather wreaks havoc on our skin, sometimes making it dry and flaky. Skin dries out if it's deprived of water, and this dryness often causes itchiness, resulting in a condition commonly referred to as "winter itch."

"Most of us experience dry and itchy skin from time to time, but you should seek medical attention if discomfort becomes severe," says Dr. Anjali Dahiya, a dermatologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "The best thing you can do to relieve the itch is to moisturize your skin because, unfortunately, you can't do anything about the weather."

"Remember, dry skin is due to lack of water. Apply moisturizers immediately after bathing or showering, while your skin is still wet, to trap water in the skin," notes Dahiya.

She suggests the following tips to protect your skin:

  1. Moisturize daily. Cream moisturizers are better than lotions for normal to dry skin. For sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer without fragrance or lanolin.
  2. Cleanse the skin, but don't overdo it. Too much cleansing removes skin's natural moisturizers. It is enough to wash the face, hands, feet, and between the folds of your skin once a day. It’s not necessary to use soap or cleanser on your torso, arms, and legs every day – just rinse.
  3. Limit the use of hot water and soap. If you have "winter itch," take short lukewarm showers or baths with a non-irritating, non-detergent-based cleanser. Immediately afterward, apply a mineral oil or petroleum jelly type moisturizer. Gently pat skin dry.
  4. Humidify. Humidifiers can be beneficial. However, be sure to clean the unit according to the manufacturer's instructions to reduce mold and fungi.
  5. Protect yourself from the wind. Cover your face and use a petroleum-based balm for your lips.
  6. Avoid extreme cold. Cold temperatures can cause skin disorders or frostbite. See a doctor immediately if you develop color changes in your hands or feet, accompanied by pain or ulceration. Extreme pain followed by numbness in a finger or toe may mean you have frostbite.
  7. Protect your skin from the sun. Even winter sun can be dangerous to the skin. Use sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of 15 or greater, if you will be outdoors for prolonged winter periods.
  8. See your dermatologist. Regardless of the time of year, see a dermatologist if you have persistent dry skin, scaling, itching, skin growths that concern you, or other rashes.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share

Search CaregiversHome
Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search CaregiversHome's archives for related news topics, the latest news stories, timely times, and reference articles.

© 2008 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.


Back to Top

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2020. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.