Winter Skin Care Guidelines
The low humidity
common in many parts of the United States during winter can cause dry,
irritated skin. When skin becomes dry and irritated, eczema can flare.
Here are some tips to help skin feel more comfortable during winter or
anytime the air is dry:
With the heat on and the windows closed, the air inside can become very
dry in the winter, making the dryness and itching of eczema even worse.
Use a humidifier to place moisture in the air. If you don’t want to
invest in an expensive humidifying system, smaller, relatively
inexpensive humidifiers can be obtained at a local drug store. Placing
two or three of these around your home will help to humidify the dry
air. This can keep skin from drying and becoming cracked and itchy.
2. Switch to an oil-based moisturizer and moisturize frequently.
The more oil a moisturizer contains the more effectively it protects
against moisture loss. Moisturizers that come in ointment form contain
the most oil because an ointment, by definition, consists of 80% oil and
20% water. This water-in-oil emulsion forms a protective layer on the
skin and makes it more “moisturizing” than creams and lotions. Ointments
are especially beneficial when humidity is low. Ointments should not be
used on areas of the body that tend to get hot and sweaty.
3. Before Going Outside in Winter:
Apply a heavy layer
of moisturizing broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
to the face, hands and any other skin that may be exposed. This will act as a barrier to help protect against the
harsh elements and is especially important if you will be outside for
any length of time. Sunscreen is important in winter as the sun’s
reflective powers are great year round—17% on the sand and 80% on the
snow. Today, several products are available that combine oily,
moisturizing cream with sunscreen.
If you are unsure of which product to use, ask a dermatologist.
Grab those gloves.
Protecting hands from the cold air and low humidity plays an important
role in preventing flare-ups. Make sure the gloves are made from
material that does not irritate your skin. Some patients find that
wearing a cotton mitten next to the skin and a woolen mitten over the
cotton one, keeps hands warm and dry.
most common triggers of the scratch/itch cycle are sweating and
overheating. Wearing layers allows you to remove clothing as needed to
prevent overheating. Be sure to wear loose-fitting cotton fabrics next
to your skin.
5. Shed wet clothes and shoes immediately. These can irritate the skin and cause a flare-up.
Around the Home
What you can
do around the home that may help relieve the signs and symptoms of
Bathing and Moisturizing Guidelines
Tips to maximize the effectiveness of
bathing and moisturizing
Stress Reduction Techniques
found these methods effective