How to Stop Dry Winter Skin

Cold weather takes a toll on your skin

Winter winds put a chill in the air and cold weather often brings dry skin with it. If you’re on a quest to heal and prevent dry skin –– Consumer Reports can help. They’ve got several strategies for keeping your skin soft and supple –– and what to look for in a moisturizer.

Itchy legs, chapped lips, rough hands –– in winter, it may feel like you’re fighting a never-ending battle, trying to quench the thirst of dry skin. It’s not only uncomfortable, it can also be a health risk. If bacteria gets into breaks in the skin, that can cause an infection… certain medications like diuretics or certain medical conditions like thyroid hormone disease can also make the problem worse, so it’s really important to pay attention to it.

Consumer Reports can offer some simple fixes. Moisturizers with ingredients such as ceramides, dimethicone and shea butter can all help put a good seal on the skin. The thicker your moisturizer, the better. A good test is to put some in your palm and turn your hand over. It shouldn’t slide off. If you can tolerate the greasiness, ointments like petroleum jelly can help hydrate skin even better than creams and lotions.

 For most people, moisturizing once a day is enough. But when people get older and their skin gets drier, many dermatologists say that upping that routine from once to twice a day, can be really helpful. Also, skip the long, hot showers –– which can dry out skin. Use lukewarm water instead and keep showers to no more than five minutes. And, moisturizing while your skin is still a little wet can also help it hang on to some water. Finally, dial up the humidity –– to add back the moisture indoor heat sucks out of the air and your skin.

If your skin becomes red, inflamed or irritated and it isn’t getting better after using thicker, richer creams –– Consumer Reports suggests seeing a doctor. You may have a more serious condition or an infection that may require prescription medication to treat. If the chill in the air has put the chap in your hands or lips, Consumer Reports has some help –– for dry winter skin. 

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