December 15, 2022

| perri dermatology
Medically reviewed by Anthony J. Perri, M.D.

It’s that time of year again. The temperatures are dropping and the dry skin is on the rise. Dry skin due to cold weather is not only annoying but it can cause the skin to itch and, in some cases, become painful. The moisture in your skin is protected by a barrier layer called the stratum corneum. This layer is made up of fats, proteins and skin cells called keratinocytes. When the humidity drops and the air becomes dryer, this causes water to escape through the barrier layer, causing dry skin.

There are some risk factors that could make your chances of developing skin dryness higher, such as eczema and other skin conditions. Harsh chemicals and fragrances in soaps and other skin care products can also cause dry skin.

How to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated during winter:

Many people deal with dry skin during the winter months, but it is easy to treat with over-the-counter products. Since the humidity and moisture in the air is down, we want to make sure that the barrier layer of skin is protected to help lock in moisture.

  • Adding the right kind of moisturizer to your skin routine can help keep your skin hydrated. The best time to moisturize is after you take a shower or bath. An ointment, such as Vaseline®, or a thick cream moisturizer are the best options for keeping skin hydrated. Look for ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, ammonium lactate and urea.
  • Vitamin E oil, coconut oil and seed oil can also help prevent dry skin by aiding to maintain the barrier layer.
  • Adding a humidifier to your home can help dry skin by adding moisture to the air

What to avoid to reduce dry skin:

  • Avoid taking long hot showers or baths – hot water can dry your skin out, instead try taking shorter showers that are about 5-10 minutes long with warm water instead of hot.
  • Avoid scented products – dryer sheets, detergents, lotions and soaps with added scents can cause skin irritation and dryness. These added scents are often made from chemicals that can be harsh on the skin. Opt for sensitive skin or unscented products.
  • Avoid thin lotions – While these won’t necessarily dry out your skin if they don’t contain irritants, they probably won’t be thick enough to stop water loss and keep your skin hydrated during the winter. Ointments or cream moisturizers are much more effective.

When is it time to see the dermatologist?

If your skin is getting to the point that the pain, itching, or flaking is impacting your life it might be time to see a dermatologist for a prescription medication. Contact our team today!

Unsure if your insurance will cover your visit? Check out our insurance coverage page for a list of accepted insurance companies so you know beforehand if you’re covered.