Winter can be a particularly harsh season for our skin. Not only is the cold temperature to blame but also the dry air which affects the skin. A major reason skin becomes dry is because of the low humidity in the environment. Another reason is because we spend more time indoors where heating systems tend to warm the air and deplete the water content in the environment.
Dry skin most commonly appears as being rough and flaky patches on the arms and legs which are typically the areas exposed to the air. In more severe cases, the skin will develop creases and cracks when it is extremely dry. The feet and hands frequently show deep fissures and cracks during the winter months because the skin tends to be thinner and there is less protection from micro trauma.
The outer layer of the skin is called the stratum corneum. It is composed of dead skin cells and natural oils that act as a protective layer, preventing water from evaporating from the surface. When the outer layer becomes compromised, water begins to evaporate, outer skin cells become flaky and will cause cracks and fissures.
Steps we can take to prevent dry skin:
• Bathe in warm water, never hot
• Use mild soaps that contain moisturizing creams
• Pat the skin dry with soft towels
• Use a moisturizer several times a day on exposed areas of the body.
• Drink a lot of water
• Apply sunscreen to prevent drying out from the sun’s rays
• Wear gloves
• Avoid wearing wet articles of clothes outdoors.
• Have a humidifier in the home
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center to discuss dry skin and how best to treat it, please call 718-670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.