The Doctors: Skin care in dry air

skin

This time of year, temperatures get colder, humidity levels drop, and your skin feels the effects. It loses moisture, gets dry and scaly, and often itches. Here are tips to keep your skin healthy and looking good.

Don’t linger in the shower. Any more than 10 minutes under the steady stream will strip your skin of its natural oils. Set the water to warm, rather than hot (which removes oils more quickly).

Switch to a gentle cleanser. Deodorant and antibacterial soaps — and skin-care products with alcohol, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid — are too harsh for dry, sensitive skin, says the American Academy of Dermatology. Mild, fragrance-free cleansing creams are best.

Moisturize with an ointment or cream. Both are more effective, and less irritating, than lotions. Ointments are thicker mixtures; creams are thinner and need to be applied more often. They create a seal over your skin to trap moisture. The AAD advises looking for a moisturizer that contains an oil, such as olive or jojoba; other soothing ingredients include lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum The best time to slather it on is after showering, while your skin is still damp.

Use a humidifier. Central heat, space heaters and fireplaces dry the air and, therefore, your skin even more. A humidifier is an easy way to add moisture back in.

Wear layers. Wool and other rough fabrics, can irritate skin, but even more so when it’s dry. Slip a cotton or silk T-shirt under scratchy clothing.

Protect hands and lips. They’re often exposed to outdoor air, which can leave them raw and chapped. Wear gloves and apply a lip balm containing petrolatum.

via The Doctors: Skin care in dry air.

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