Winter is just around the corner and with it comes new challenges for your skin. The most common complaint patients present with during winter months are dry, itchy skin. Trips to the desert, mountains and other cold or dry climates is often accompanied by central heat, hot tubs, long hot baths and showers, all of which can dry out your skin. Eventually this can lead to itchy rashes. Older patients and patients with eczema have a particularly rough time during the winter months. To counter this moisturize your full body once or even twice daily. Pick moisturizers that are unscented and hypoallergenic. Many brands are available over the counter: Aveeno, Vanicream, Lubiderm, Cetaphil, CeraVe, Eucerin, aquaphor are just a few. The key is to find one you like and to use it daily to prevent a rash or itchy dry skin. Do not use the moisturizers “here and there” only when you have symptoms.
For the face, some more cosmetically elegant, rich, hydrating creams that are available at our office include SkinMedical Dermal Repair cream, IS Clinical Youth Intensive Crème and GLO B5 gel. Use soaps that are hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin.
Decrease your exposure to long hot baths, showers and hot tubs and counter those exposures with additional applications of moisturizer.
For dry cracked lips, try liberal and frequent application of Aquaphor ointment. Avoid lip licking and if a dry itchy rash around lips develops, you could try over the counter hydrocortisone 1% cream twice a day for a few days. Many of our patients like to use Skinceuticals AOX lip repair and GLO B5 gel to prevent cracked, dry, irritated lips.
Other tricks to improve your skin’s hydration include increasing the ambient humidity in your home with house plants and humidifiers. Finally, do not forget to drink plenty of fluids. We are happy to help if these tips do not control your winter rashes, just give us a call. Happy winter!
— Keith Llewellyn, M.D.
Santa Barbara & Santa Ynez, California