Soothe dry skin this winter with simple tips from Aspirus

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 3:45 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Skin is the body’s largest organ and in the midst of National Healthy Skin Month, it is important to know how to protect it in the dry, cold winter months.

“As we age, our skin loses moisture, so it’s important to create healthy daily habits and skincare regimens if you want to maintain optimal skin health,” says Thomas Howard, MD, FACS, Aspirus Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He adds, “It’s never too late to start.”

The American Academy of Dermatology Association offers several tips to adopt this winter for a lifetime of healthier skin.

When the humidity drops or your skin feels dry, be sure to turn down the temperature for your bath or shower. Wash with a gentle cleanser, limit shower or bath time to 5 or 10 minutes, and pat your skin dry with a towel. 

Ointments, creams, and lotions work by trapping existing moisture in your skin. Apply a moisturizer within a few minutes of drying off after bathing or washing your face or hands. Ointments and creams are more effective and less irritating than lotions, so look for products with moisture-locking ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone.

“When applied topically, hyaluronic acid acts as a powerful humectant, meaning it draws water to itself. It’s good at hydrating because it can bind so much water,” says Dr. Howard. “It leaves your skin feeling moisturized and softens the looks of lines and wrinkles.”

Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that is more soothing. Hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce this by putting on gloves before you go outdoors in the winter to keep them protected from the environment.

Sitting in front of an open flame or other heat sources can dry your skin too. Instead, layer up your clothes and use blankets. Lastly, plug in a humidifier or check your home heating system to find out if you have a humidifier on the system and whether it’s working.