As the temperature drops in the winter months, many of us will discover that our largest organ (our skin) may start to be noticeably dry. This can cause itching and visibly chapped skin on the face, lips or arms. Dry skin can decrease quality of life and increase anxiety for many when going out in public. The treatment and prevention of dry skin in an important aspect to those who suffer from it.
Even though the cold can be a cause of dry skin for most people, there are other underlying risk factors and conditions that cause dry skin. Aging, certain medical conditions, dry windy climate are all risk factors and potential causes for dry skin.
What can be done to prevent dry skin?
- A Humidifier – a humidifier moisturizes the air in a dry climate and can be a valuable tool to prevent dry skin, especially during the winter.
- Avoid Electric Heaters – Electric heat is dry heat, and decreases moisture in the air which increases the risk of dry skin.
- Increase Hydration – Most dry skin symptoms happen due to dehydration. Proper hydration is important to prevent dry skin. Drinking water can help your skin stay hydrated, preventing it from drying out.
- Avoid Hot Water Baths – Hot water and long baths can dehydrate the skin. They wash away the skin’s natural oils faster than warm or cold water. Having shorter baths and using cool-warm water can help prevent dry skin.
- Use Mild Soaps – Antibacterial, perfumed and deodorant soap can cause irritation which can lead to dry skin. Unscented or mildly scented soaps can reduce skin irritation.
How do we treat dry and chapped skin?
- Moisturizers – Applying a moisturizing cream or lotion within 3 minutes of taking a bath and twice daily will improve overall skin moisture. Talk to your pharmacist about which lotion or cream would work for you.
- Towels – Use soft towels and avoid rubbing skin. Patting skin dry with a soft towel can help improve dry skin.
- Lip Balm – Use Lip Balm frequently for dry chapped skin. Licking the lips can further irritate the lips and worsen the condition.
Talk to your Health Care Professional
Most People who have dry skin are perfectly healthy. However, there are some serious diseases that can cause dry skin. These can include hormonal changes, hypothyroidism (low thyroid levels), diabetes, and malnutrition. It is important to inform your doctor and get regular checkups to ensure that dry skin is not a sign of an underlying medical condition.
- Dry Skin—What You Need to Know. Compendium of Therapeutics for Minor Ailments. Canadian Pharmacists Association (2016)
- Look after your skin – National Health Services (UK). (2016)
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This article was provided by the clinical pharmacy at Rx Infinity. Rx Infinity provides optimal and sustainable patient management solutions through customized programs, innovative technology and added value services that improve the overall patient experience; while helping payers and plan sponsors achieve sustainability in the management of drug plans expenditures.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.