Almost everyone that experiences winter weather is susceptible to dry, flaky, and cracked skin.

However, patients can take these 11 steps to prevent and treat skin in the wintertime.

1. Treat Cracked Skin to Prevent Infection

Cracks in the skin can be an aesthetic as well as a medical concern. Dermatologists advise washing the cracks thoroughly and applying an antibiotic cream to kill infection-causing bacteria.

2. Use an Oil-Based Body Moisturizer

Just as you change clothes depending on the season, you may need to switch to a thicker, oil-based moisturizer in the winter.

Look for a moisturizer containing humectants such as lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, and propylene glycol which draw water into the skin.

3. Moisturize Immediately After Bathing and Washing Your Face

To properly seal in hydration, patients should apply moisturizer right after washing, when the skin is still damp.

4. Apply Moisturizer Before Bed and Sleep in Cotton Socks and Gloves

Moisturize before bed so that the body has an extended period of time to absorb skincare products. Wearing cotton gloves and socks can also help moisturizer sink into the skin.

5. Wear Rubber Gloves When Washing Dishes

Dishwashing soap can be very irritating and drying to your hands. Wearing gloves provides a physical barrier between these harsh solvents and skin.

6. Use Gentle and Fragrance-Free Detergent and Soaps

In addition to dishwashing soap, detergent and other cleansers can strip the skin of natural oils. Patients should especially avoid products containing alcohol, fragrances, and dyes.

7. Place a Humidifier in Your Bedroom

A humidifier in the bedroom can replenish moisture to the air and counteract the drying effects of heat while you sleep.

8. Take Cooler, Shorter Showers

A hot shower may be just what you need in cold temperatures, but it can also cause significant dehydration in the skin. Dermatologists recommend lukewarm showers that are ten minutes or less.

9. Layer Clothing With Breathable Fabrics

Fabrics like wool keep you warm , but they can also be very irritating. Protect yourself by wearing a 100% cotton shirt under sweaters and heavier items of clothing.

10. Drink Enough Water and Fluids

Many patients focus solely on the exterior when it comes to protecting and treating dry skin. However, drinking at least 11.5 cups of fluid per day helps the body stay hydrated and send moisture to the heart, lungs, and skin.

11. Seek professional help

If preventative measures and at-home treatments do not improve your skin or if it worsens, seek professional help from a board-certified dermatologist.

To learn more about winter skincare, please call Integrated Dermatology of Reston today to schedule an appointment.