When winter weather hits the Windy City, dry, cracked skin is a common complaint. While not a serious medical condition, dry skin is uncomfortable and can lead to premature aging of the affected area. The good news for people afflicted by this common winter ailment is that dry skin can often be treated.
Winter Weather Is One of the Causes of Dry Skin
Dry skin is more common in the winter because of how the air is heated in homes, offices and cars. Indoor heat pulls moisture out of the air and away from your skin. Outside, winter weather tends to be less humid, as well. This adds to the problem. Without natural moisture in the air, your skin becomes dry, itchy and cracked.
Potential Complications of Extremely Dry Skin
Dry skin may be nothing more than an annoyance at first, but extremely dry skin can cause other problems. Excessive dryness can lead to eczema, which is an inflammation, redness and cracking of the skin. Severely dry skin can also crack, giving bacteria a place to enter the body to cause infection. Because of these risks, it’s important to take measures to protect and treat your dry skin.
Tips for Dry Skin
If you struggle with dry skin in the winter, consider these tips:
- Moisturize your skin well several times a day in the winter with a thick moisturizer, especially after bathing.
- Limit your time in the bath or shower and use warm, not hot, water.
- Use cleansing cream instead of soap, which can dry the skin further.
- Add humidity to indoor air with a humidifier.
- Keep exposed skin covered when outside in the elements.
If, in spite of these measures, you are still struggling, visit a dermatologist to have your skin evaluated. Sometimes, individuals will need prescription creams, including hydrocortisone steroid creams, to treat the inflammation and itching of their dry skin. To determine if you need further dry skin treatment or to get advice about home care, visit Lakeview Immediate Care to see a board-certified urgent care physician.