Health Team

Dry skin? Try these skin-quenching tips

Posted January 7, 2010 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 7, 2010 7:04 p.m. EST

When temperatures drop, skin can get painfully dry. It's not just the cold, dry air outdoors that damages skin. The warm, dry air indoors can also be harmful.

Doctors say the best way to prevent dry winter skin is to moisturize several times a day, especially after bathing, and to apply sunscreen.

"On a winter day, on a cloudy day, even if you’re sitting inside, the ultraviolet radiation comes through the window,” said Dr. Monica Halem with New York Presbyterian Hospital.

For those who want to get tan in the winter, Halem suggests using self-tanning creams or lotions – not tanning salons.

“Stay out of the tanning bed. It is the worst thing for your skin,” she said.

When it's bitter cold, many people pull out the winter hat and gloves. But some fabrics, like wool, can irritate dry skin.

“In the winter, things that wouldn't bother you in the summer will,” Halem said. “For example, wool and fragrance things that just make your skin more sensitive.”

People with dry skin should also limit their use of hot water and soap and keep their humidifiers going. Skin needs vitamin D all year long, but it's especially important during the cold months.

“If you want to make sure you're getting enough, you may consider vitamin D supplement,” said WRAL Health Team Physician Dr. Allen Mask. “Also, some moisturizing lotions are better than others. Look on the label for lactic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid. Another very important thing for your skin (is to) drink plenty of water.”