When the winter winds begin to blow, dry, flaky skin comes right along with it! Theresa Schimmels answers some common questions about dry winter skin and how to protect your skin.
Q: What causes dry skin symptoms in the winter?
A: Cold weather outside, warmth in our homes with decreased humidity in our homes from furnaces.
Q:What's the best way to protect your skin and lips?
A: Lotion and lip balm applied regularly.
Q: What about hand washing- many people like to wash in hot water to kill germs. Is there an alternative?
A: Use cooler water, mild soap, try and avoid hand sanitizer unless needed. The rule is to wash the hands while singing "The Alphabet Song", scrubbing the hands during the entire song. That'll get most of the germs off. Don't forget under your nails!
Q: What about baths and showers- does that add moisture to the skin?
A:The water can but using hot water, especially long showers, dries the skin out. Again, turn down the temperature of your shower, don't stay in too long, and even go to showering every other day if the skin is too dry.
Q: When is the best time to moisturize your skin?
A: Immediately after your shower while your skin is still wet as well as after washing your hands.
Q:What about shaving- what can you do to avoid irritation?
A: Use a sensitive skin shave gel, try not to use your razor blade more than a couple of times before changing it, moisturize the skin after shaving.
Q: How can a humidifier help soothe dry skin?
A: It sure can and it also helps moisturize dry nasal passages.
Q: How should your skin care routine change in the winter?
A: Less frequent bathing, cooler water when washing, milder soaps, more frequent or heavier lotions. Also, continue on the sunscreen for your face and hands!
Q: What type of cleanser should you use on your face?
A: I like mild cleansers. If you are using deodorant soap you may be clogging your pores. Facial washes are specifically designed for the facial skin and are great products to use.
Q:What are the benefits to your skin when you cover up when you go outdoors in the cold?
A: It helps you avoid the dryness caused by the insult of cold, freezing temperatures on the skin, helps you avoid "wind burn", and also the suns harmful rays. Don't forget the sunscreen for your face and sunglasses for the eyes to protect from the glare off the snow.
Theresa Schimmels, P.A.-C, has worked in health care in Spokane for 27 years. She has been a Physicians Assistant for 12 years, and worked in dermatology the past eight years.