MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Have you noticed yourself reaching for moisturizer more often these past two weeks?
Dry, winter air came early this year, and so did itchy skin.
“Cold air has less moisture in it and the air is basically sucking the moisture out of our skin,” said dermatologist Dr. Karla Rosenman. “It’s evaporating, and so that’s one of the reasons why moisturizing helps a lot. Moisturizing is a sealant, so you’re putting a layer of sealant on your skin and it blocks the path of evaporation.”
She recommends lathering up multiple times a day.
“At least two or three, if not more,” Rosenman said. “If you can put on moisturizing lotion after every hand wash, that will really help.”
So, lotion, cream or ointment? Dr. Rosenman says it doesn’t matter — as long as you use it.
“I am a big fan of whatever one you will actually use is the best one. Traditionally, we will tell you that creams moisturize more than lotions,” she said. “But I find in practice a lot of people won’t use a cream because it doesn’t rub in well.”
Look for the stuff that’s labelled for eczema or sensitive skin
“In general, I encourage people to look for lotions that are boring, they don’t have a lot of fragrance,” Rosenman said. “Fragrances are the most common things in our skin care that can irritate our skin.”
Keep your showers short and warm, not hot; wear gloves or scarves to protect against the moisture-sucking wind; use a humidifier, especially in your bedroom at night; and use soap only where you need it — because that really dries you out.
“As soon as you get out of the shower, you want to pat dry so that you’re still a little moist. That’s the best time to put on your moisturizing lotion because it’s a sealant,” she said. “Even when you’re doing everything right, we are still going to have dry skin, because we live in Minnesota and this is winter.”
You may have also heard that drinking water helps, but Dr. Rosenman says there’s not a direct correlation between staying hydrated and moisturized skin.