-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Nov. 30, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- The cold, dry air of
winter can deplete your skin of moisture and cause "winter
But you can take steps to protect your skin and prevent that
itchy feeling, according to Dr. Robyn Gmyrek, a dermatologist and
director of the Skin and Laser Center at
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
Moisturize daily with petrolatum- or cream-based moisturizers,
Gmyrek said. Apply them directly to your wet skin after a bath or
shower so that the moisturizer can help trap surface moisture. For
sensitive skin, choose a moisturizer without fragrance or
Clean your skin, but don't overdo. Too much cleansing depletes
the skin's natural moisturizers, Gmyrek explained. Washing your
face, hands, feet and between the folds of your skin once a day is
enough. You can rinse your trunk, arms and legs daily, but you
don't have to use soap or cleanser on these areas every day.
Limit your use of hot water and soap. If you do have winter
itch, take short, lukewarm showers or baths with a cleanser that is
non-irritating and non-detergent-based. Apply a thick cream or a
petroleum-jelly-type moisturizer right away, and then gently pat
skin dry, Gmyrek said.
Room humidifiers can help prevent indoor air from becoming too
dry, she added. When you're outside, protect your skin from wind,
extreme cold and sun. Don't use tanning beds or artificial
sunlamps, which can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin
See a dermatologist if you have persistent dry skin, scaling,
itching or skin growths that concern you. This applies throughout
the year, not just during winter, Gmyrek said.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology has more about
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