Home » Uncategorized » We Talked to Dermatologists and Skincare Entrepreneurs About How to Take Better Care of Your Dry Winter Skin

Dealing with dry skin now that the weather’s gotten colder? Here’s how to address it. / Photograph courtesy of Getty Images

If it seems like your skin has gone from soft to dry, peeling, and itchy in a matter of days, you’re not wrong. Philly’s sudden swing from 80-degree temps to this colder snap means there’s way less moisture in the air — and less moisture in your skin, especially if you’ve been stripping it of its natural oils with all your hot showers and forced heat.

When your skin’s ultra-dry, you can even develop eczema: inflamed, red, itchy, scaly patches on your hands, legs, arms, face, or even lips. (Researchers believe eczema is genetic, related to a DNA variation that makes skin extra sensitive and irritable to allergens.) In that case, you should head to a dermatologist to see if you need a prescription product that’s stronger or more targeted than the standard over-the-counter moisturizer.

However, if you’re dealing with run-of-the-mill dryness, there are some easy ways to counteract that uncomfortable itchiness. Follow these steps to ensure your winter skin is just as bright and healthy as your summer mug.Moisturize already.

The word “moisture” is the literal root of this word, so it makes sense that moisturizers are going to provide your skin with much-needed hydration. In general, go with ointments or creams as opposed to lotions. Yes, there technically is a difference; ointments are oil-based and lock in the most moisture. “A lot of people like lotions because they’re so easy to spread, but they’re easy to spread because there’s a lot of water in them and alcohol, which are both drying,” says Naomi Lawrence, a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at Cooper University Health Care in south Jersey. “The rule of thumb is the thicker something is, the harder it is to spread, and probably the more emollient it is.”

That’s why multiple dermatologists say our tried-and-true friend Vaseline is the best route to go — as long as you can tolerate the greasiness. If it’s too goopy or you’re too impatient to let an ointment absorb into your skin, go with a thick, fragrance-free cream like Cetaphil or CeraVe. Worried more about time constraints? Franklin and Whitman’s Mount Airy Body Serum, with vanilla, bergamot, and lavender, sprays on quickly and smells like a London Fog latte. Whatever you use, apply it right after your shower or bath, when your skin is still wet and better able to absorb the luscious ingredients.

Note that if you have sensitive skin, and there’s an element in your moisturizer that you’re unknowingly allergic to, it may actually be doing more damage than good. Do some trial and error to see if you can determine which ingredient is wreaking havoc on your epidermis or head to an allergist to get patch tested. (Both false positives and false negatives can occur with allergy skin tests, so your own observations may be necessary regardless.)

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