See Ya Later, Alligator!

Say goodbye to dry, itchy wintertime skin.

Is your dry, itchy skin driving you crazy? Does it feel as if you can’t stop scratching no matter what products you use? We can relate. 

Cold weather culprits such as dry, indoor air, winter wind, low humidity or even cold weather sunburns can sap the moisture from your skin and make you to want to hibernate until spring. 

These winter skin care steps will help you prevent, pamper and say goodbye to your winter-dry skin once and for all.

Remove old skin cells. Sloughing away those dead skin cells is the first step in pampering your itchy, dry skin. When your skin is clear, moisturizers can penetrate more deeply. Exfoliate your skin with a prescription or over-the-counter keratolytic moisturizer that contains salicylic or lactic acid. A gentle, soft scrub is all you need. 

Moisturize. Now that your skin is smooth and free of dead cells, moisturize with an oil-based moisturizer. Heavy, thick moisturizers keep water from evaporating from the skin. If you’re not a fan of heavy creams and lotions, you can still keep your skin in good shape by using the basic ingredients included in moisturizers such as glycerin, mineral oil or petroleum jelly. No matter what products you choose to moisturize with, always slather the product on immediately after bathing or showering. Then, gently pat your skin dry.

Stay away from hot water. A really hot shower or bath feels heavenly, but they are terrible for your skin and will dry out your skin even more. Take only short, lukewarm baths or showers to help your body retain the natural oils needed to protect your skin.

Stay away from hot water.

Use gentle soaps or cleansers. Deodorant, anti-bacterial or scented soaps can be harsh on your skin. Use unscented and mild cleansers or even products that are soap-free, such as Dove, Dreft, Cetaphil, Neutrogena or Aveeno. Body washes that contain petrolatum are a wonderful, soothing option.

Use sunscreen. You should be using a daily moisturizer with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 15. If you’re heading outside use a sunscreen that blocks UVB and UVA rays with an SPF of 15 or more. Wearing a hat, sunglasses and a scarf also protects your skin.

Change your diet. Diets that contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help your skin retain moisture. Eating foods such as walnuts, flax, safflower oil and cold-water fish such as halibut, salmon, tuna, mackeral, sardines and herring will give your skin the essential fatty acids it needs.

Stay hydrated. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily. Dry, indoor air can also sap your skin of moisture. Use a humidifier to keep the moisture level in your home between 40 and 50 percent. Inexpensive hygrometers can be purchased for about $5 and will help you keep track of your home’s moisture level. Another option is to keep plenty of indoor house plants around.

If your skin is really irritated or dry, it’s best to speak with your doctor before beginning a new skin regimen or product. 

A dermatologist can prescribe stronger treatments for your skin and can help  develop a skin care regimen that works for your individual needs. WGW

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