Spring Training for Winter Skin

By admin
March 07, 2012

By Anne Miller

If the promise of spring is making you long to shed the boots and heavy sweaters and trade them in for shorts and sandals, you might want to take a close look at your winter skin. It’s easy to forget to moisturize those knees, elbows and feet that have been hidden away while the outside temperature was low and the indoor air is warm and dry. When you forget to moisturize, your neglected skin can become dry, dull, flakey and sometimes red and irritated.

Don’t despair. You can get your skin in top spring condition in no time with some tender loving care. Give your skin a much needed all-over moisturizing, particularly the heels, elbows and knees. After your bath or shower, pat your skin dry and use your regular moisturizer, giving special attention to the trouble spots. For an intensive treatment for your feet and hands, try putting on a pair of cotton socks and white cotton gloves after moisturizing before bedtime. Then sleep on it! You’ll see a difference in your skin almost overnight.

Simple tips to cure dry, itchy skin in any season.

  • Dry air is the most common cause of dry skin. Try turning down the thermostat during cold weather and use a humidifier in your bedroom.
  • Misuse of moisturizers can compound the problem. If you are using moisturizer on dry skin (as in skin that is not wet), you are missing the boat. Moisturizers work best when the skin is still slightly damp so it can trap the moisture.
  • Avoid long hot showers and baths. Prolonged exposure to hot water can wash away the skin’s natural oils.
  • Don’t overdo the soap. Soap can strip away your skin’s protective oils, especially deodorant and antibacterial soaps. Go easy on your skin. Your skin doesn’t have to be harshly scrubbed to get clean.
  • Know your soap. As with everything these days, it pays to read your soap labels. If you have sensitive skin, look for “fragrance-free” products. That is not the same as “unscented,” which may still have perfumes.
  • Scratch itchy clothing for more comfortable, soothing fabrics. Rough, itchy clothing can play havoc with already dry skin causing further irritation.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is great for your skin. As weather gets warmer, it’s important to stay well hydrated. Carry a bottle of water wherever you go and make drinking water throughout the day a habit. It’s a great way to get those 8 glasses a day.

If you have tried all of the simple steps to smoother more “presentable” skin, there could be an underlying reason for your problem. For one, several kinds of medications have dry skin as a common side effect, including high blood pressure drugs, like diuretics and retinoids such as Retin-A, used to treat acne and as a mild facial peal. Dry skin can also be a symptom of a medical condition such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, or could be caused by hormonal changes.

If your dry, itchy skin is persistent, talk to your primary care physician or schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Your skin condition could be a sign of something more serious that can’t be treated with a heavy moisturizer.

Some final advice…

As more of your skin is exposed to the sun this spring, don’t forget the sunscreen. Look for an overall moisturizer with built-in sunscreen. Keep your skin soft and supple while you protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

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