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Protect your skin from winter weather

Paoli Hospital November 19, 2014 General Wellness By Michele Ziskind, MD

Taking care of your skin during the winter season requires special consideration.

Cold, dry winter air can be particularly harsh to both exposed and protected skin. The outer epidermal layer of the skin acts as a protective barrier from the environment, holding in moisture and keeping out bacteria. However, as humidity drops, skin becomes chapped and cracked, allowing moisture to escape more easily from the skin. Combined with frequent hand washing with harsh soaps and exposure to detergents, the epidermal barrier can break down and lead to infections and itching. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your skin moisturized this season.

Here are some tips to help prevent winter skin problems:

  • Start hand protection early in the season. Use a mild, moisturized soap for hand washing and apply a moisturizer immediately after drying hands.
  • Wear protective rubberized gloves for washing dishes. Remember that the same detergent that is de-greasing your dishes is also removing protective oils from your skin.
  • Wear gloves outdoors to prevent windburn, even if it's to empty the garbage or clean off your car.
  • Use a moisturized soap or body wash for showers and apply moisturizer to arms, legs and body immediately after drying off.
  • Remember to use sunscreen for outdoor activities like high-altitude skiing, where direct and reflected sun can still be strong enough to cause sunburn.

With the above mentioned tips, anyone can enjoy the winter season with the best skin possible.

Michele Ziskind, MD is a dermatologist at Paoli Hospital.