I don’t know about you, but the winter season does a number on my skin. Utah winters are especially bad. The extreme cold and low humidity seem to suck the life out of my skin, leaving it dry and itchy. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one feels this way.
To get my poor skin through the winter, I solicited expert skin care advice from Utah’s very own Adrienne Packham, a PA-C from Cache Valley Dermatology. Not only is she wicked smart, but also she has some seriously beautiful skin.
Here is what she typically instructs her patients. It may seem simple, but it works.
In order to avoid dry skin, there are 3 main approaches to skin care in the wintertime.
1) Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Some skin types require moisturizing from neck to toe at least twice a day (if not more). The type of moisturizer makes ALL the difference. The ideal moisturizer is THICK and adds a barrier to the skin. Vanicream Skin Cream is what we recommend in our office. Ideally, these thicker moisturizers should also be free of dyes and fragrances. Individuals with extremely dry skin may even need to use an additional ointment like Aquaphor for at least one of the two applications per day. Applying moisturizer that many times a day is high maintenance, but is truly necessary for some skin types.
2) Avoid Exposures
When possible, avoid irritants that dry skin out. Cold air and low humidity have been mentioned. Water is common irritant to the skin. Individuals who wash hands excessively, who take long or hot showers, sit in hot tubs, swim in chlorinated pools, are all more likely to struggle with dry skin. If these exposures are unavoidable, than a person needs to make sure he/she is moisturizing frequently to compensate for the loss of moisture that has taken place from the exposure.
3) Low Allergy products
Make sure that products used on the skin are low allergy—meaning they are free from dyes and fragrances. No doubt during the Christmas season we all have received about 10 different varieties of Bath and Body Works soaps and lotions. These have potential to aggravate the skin. Beware of products that say “all natural.” Some interpret that as being chemical free and therefore less likely to cause irritation. Not so! They often contain plant extracts like lavender or tea tree oil, for instance, which can cause irritation.
So go ahead and give dry skin just what it’s hungry for with these recommended products:
1. Vanicream Skin Cream – Vanicream has additional products like sunscreen available. This brand is a bit tricky to find. Some pharmacies like Walgreens keep it in stock. Or you can find it online.
2. Cetaphil RESTORADERM Cream and Cleanser
3. Hylatopic Skin Cream (prescription)
4. & 5. CeraVe Cleaner and Skin Cream (not lotion)