MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the Minnesota weather turns cold, the air gets dry, and our skin starts to crack. So, what is the best way to treat dry skin?
“I think this year has been worse, less rain, haven’t had snow, that all contributes to the lack of moisture,” said Dr. Rehana Ahmed, a dermatologist at Uptown Dermatology and Skinspa in Minneapolis.
“I always say to patients, thicker is better,” said Ahmed, “if you were to open a jar, put a spoon inside, it shouldn’t fall over. It should stay there.”
Ahmed said there’s no perfect product for everyone.
Still: “I prefer a cream to a lotion. If you can pump it out, it’s really ‘liquidy,’ and it dries right away on your skin, it’s not moisturizing,” she said.
Ahmed recommends creams with no fragrances and no preservatives, like Vanicream, which is made in Minnesota.
Also, if there’s one ingredient she looks for, it’s something called ceramides.
“They add back lipids to the skin that decrease in wintertime and certain people are predisposed to making less of,” she said.
CeraVe moisturizing cream has ceramides. So does Cetaphil Restoraderm moisturizing lotion. You can get both of these at any drugstore.
Many people believe the best way to moisturize the skin outside, is by drinking more water, moisturizing from the inside out. Ahmed said, “I think it’s a helpful addition,” pointing out that people tend to drink less water in the winter because it’s not hot out.
Still, it’s not enough to compensate for the moisture lost because of the dry air.
“You probably still need a moisturizing cream if your skin is feeling dry,” she said.
And even though bathing feels great, your biggest enemy to moist skin, is actually water. Well, a certain kind and duration of hot water.
“Be careful of taking hot showers, hot baths, and using harsh soaps while washing, that can strip moisture from the skin,” she said.
She recommends a lip balm.
“There’s no evidence using a lip balm regularly will dry out your lips, no truth. I think there’s something helpful to have something on your lips,” she said. “It prevents people from licking their lips, which can really dry out the lips and lead to rashes.”
There are some natural, cheap remedies that work too. Olive oil is a great moisturizer. However, it can stain your clothes, so be careful.
One last tip: After you take a short, lukewarm shower, pat your skin dry instead of scrubbing yourself with a towel. That lets you keep some moisture in your skin.