Local News

Learn How To Soothe Your Winter Itch

Posted February 12, 2002

— Many people have dry skin from time to time. Some people have it worse than others, but if you are dealing with itchy, dry skin, there are things you can do to find relief.

With the cold air outside and dry, warm air on the inside, it is no wonder our skin gets so dry. Experts call the process, winter skin.

"It's often seen on areas along the lower legs, the front of the legs, sometimes around the elbows," dermatologist Dr. Timothy Flynn of the Cary Skin Center said.

Winter skin can show up when there is not enough moisture on the top layer of our skin. Cold, dry air is usually to blame, but other things also dry out your skin.

"You're washing your hands more. You're bathing more frequently or you're bathing in very hot water," Flynn said.

Replacing that lost moisture is the key to smoothing and soothing your dry skin.

"Moisturizers are then need to rehydrate the skin," Flynn said.

Flynn recommends moisturizers that contain both occlusants and humectants. Occlusants trap moisture that is already on your skin. Humectants draw moisture from inside the body to the skin.

"Many modern moisturizers are made of these components," Flynn said.

"You can just apply it when you feel the skin is dry and itchy. You can apply it to the area," pharmacist Charlotte Luft said.

While you can spend money on things like hydrating facials to help lock in moisture, you do not have to. Instead, find the one that is best for your skin type. No matter how itchy your skin is now, it will not last much longer. Spring is right around the corner.

A humidifier can also add moisture to your home. Experts said to be sure to drink plenty of water. If your skin does not clear up or if it is a problem year-round, you should see a dermatologist. You could have eczema or psoriasis.

As for creams or gels, the choice is up to you. Most people like a moisturizer that is not shiny or sticky.

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