First Krauss Dermatology Post- How to Battle Dry Winter Skin
Welcome to our new blog! We hope to answer the commonly asked questions by our patients. Hopefully with these tips and advice, we can make your skin healthier and perhaps even save you a trip to the dermatologist!
For our first blog entry we will try to help you solve one of New England’s most difficult problems. How to help the dry, itchy skin of winter. Dry skin is not only uncomfortable, unsightly and extremely common, it can also become inflamed leading to dermatitis (eczema) and can even become infected. But have no fear, there are simple and inexpensive ways of improving your scaly epidermis.
First, identify the problem. Dry skin begins to resemble the craquelae finish of a porcelain vase.Often this is accompanied by itch in the area. The first step is to use a fragrance free moisturizer every day immediately after you get out of the shower and bath. Good choices are Cerave lotion , or Cetaphil Restoraderm . In addition, the use of a moisturizing body wash (also made by Cerave or Cetaphil Restoraderm) in the bath or shower can prevent the irritation and dryness caused by many soaps. Very dry skin is more prone to allergic reactions to products, so avoid fragranced lotions and cleansers. Do not scratch, as the injury to the skin and the bacteria on your hands and under your nails can encourage infection.
If you still have dry itchy areas despite the above regimen, apply 1% hydrocortisone ointment (not cream!) to the area twice a day. Although ointment is greasy, the petrolatum in the ointment will help heal and treat the skin and allow better penetration of the hydrocortisone which will stop the inflammation which is causing the itch. If itch continues to be an issue, an oral antihistamine such as Benadryl can help stop itch and help sleep when taken before bed. If itch is an issue during the day, try Zyrtec in the morning. This over the counter antihistamine does not cause the drowsiness that Benadryl does.
So now you are better, but somehow that scale on the legs is still visible no matter how much moisturizer you use, resembling the plates of an armadillo.Ask for Amlactin Lotion at the pharmacy desk. This over-the-counter lotion contains lactic acid. It dissolves the dead skin accumulating on the surface and makes the skin a better barrier to moisture loss. Be careful not to get Amlactin in open, scratched skin as it will cause a really uncomfortable burning sensation.
If all of this has failed to improve your skin, a visit to the dermatologist in order. You may have a different cause for your itching such as a fungal infection (ringworm), bacterial infection (impetigo) or other condition. Other clues that you should see your doctor right away are pain, swelling, or fever.
Madeline Krauss, M.D.
This entry was posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011 at 1:12 am and is filed under Medical Dermatology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.