What to Do about Dry Winter Skin

As cooler weather starts to settle into Southwestern Pennsylvania, you might start to notice signs of dry, itchy skin cropping up. For some people, dry skin only becomes a problem in the winter months, when the air is much drier than in the summer. For others, chronic dry skin is a concern a year-round. In either case, these tips can help you soothe itchy, uncomfortable skin.

Use the Right Moisturizer

Believe it or not, moisturizing creams and lotions are not all created equal. For people with very dry skin, choosing the right moisturizer is key to relieving symptoms. Look for barrier repair creams that contain lipids to help your skin repair itself.

Avoid irritating ingredients like:

  • Fragrances
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • Petrochemicals
  • Some essential oils

Stay away from Scratchy Fabrics

As much as you might love your wool Christmas sweater, it’s not the best clothing choice if you have dry skin. Itchy fabrics like wool can aggravate your skin and make matters worse. Try layering a soft cotton shirt underneath these types of fabrics if you really want to wear them.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Dry, flaky skin is often associated with an inflammatory skin condition called atopic dermatitis, or eczema. One way to help reduce skin inflammation is to stock up on anti-inflammatory foods and spices like:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts

Talk to Your Doctor

If your dry skin symptoms are unmanageable, talk to your doctor. There are many prescription and non-prescription treatments that can help to calm severely dry, irritated skin.

Don’t hesitate to contact the Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation’s community nurses, free of charge, if you need help finding community resources or locating a doctor in our area.