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Skin is your largest organ, so take care of it! Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Long baths and showers, chlorine, & salt water: Exposure to water strips away natural oils that keep your skin moist and supple. Chlorine (the chemical used in pools) and salty water both dry out your skin and hair.
- Soap and shampoo:These can strip your skin of moisture
- Sun exposure: As with other forms of heat, the sun dries out your skin.
- Heat: Heating systems, wood- burning stoves, and fireplaces decrease moisture in the air.
- Inadequate hydration:Even if you don’t feel thirsty, water is essential to skin health.
- Cover up: Limit the areas of your skin exposed to the elements. Hands are especially sensitive, so wear gloves or mittens if it’s cold. Use sunscreen or wear a hat.
- Shorten bathing time: Cool down the water and avoid long soaks. Rinse thoroughly after swimming in pools or salty water.
- Use mild, gentle soap: Look for added moisturizers, such as oils and vitamin E. Your skin should feel smooth, not tight or dry, after use.
- Use sunscreen: Apply and reapply sunscreen to exposed skin and lips. Even in cold or cloudy weather, the sun’s ultraviolet rays come through.
- Moisturize: Moisturizing products contain ingredients that form a protective layer on your skin. Don’t forget your lips!
- Use a humidifier: These add moisture back into the air. A bowl of water on or near a heat source (like the radiator) works, too. Make sure the container won’t melt or catch fire.
Although dry skin isn’t usually serious, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. If it’s persistent or very bothersome, make an appointment with your health care provider.
Get help or find out more
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Do’s and Don’ts for Winter Skin
The Skin Cancer Foundation, Your Winter Face