Fall has arrived, and with cold air moving in most of us will suffer from dry and itchy skin. Dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as; cold air, frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do at home to relive dry skin:
- Use a humidifier in the fall & winter months
Humidity refers to the amount of atmospheric water vapor in the air and humidifiers are devices that increase it. Humidifiers infuse the air with moisture and this helps to soothe dried, cracked, itchy and parched skin.
- Limit your shower to 5 – 10 minutes a day
Our skin secretes oils that form a protective layer to hold in moisture which can help make up for our bad winter habits. This effort can be sabotaged by taking long, hot showers that strip away those natural oils and allow the moisture to evaporate.
- Pat rather than rub your skin when toweling dry
Drying off with a soft towel is already causing small tears and scratches on skin so make sure you gently pat with a very clean soft towel that is not used for any other purpose.
- Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing or washing your hands
Applying a moisturizer helps to lock in your skin’s own moisture. If you have dry skin you will probably need to moisturize more often than people with normal or oily skin. No matter what type of skin you have there are certain times it will need moisturizer.
Extra moisturizing throughout the day may be necessary, especially during the cold months, so consider carrying a small tube of hand lotion to combat dry skin.
- Avoid scratching; a cold pack or compress can relieve those itchy spots
Scratching can cause severe damage to skin. The cycle of itching and scratching is very difficult to break, instead place an ice pack inside a plastic bag or soft towel. Hold the ice against the itchy area for a few minutes to help relieve the itch and as the area gets numb you will gain relief.
- Limit direct contact with wool and other fabrics that can irritate your skin
If irritating fabrics are not in direct contact with skin they will not itch. A basic suggestion is to wear clothing beneath it. Consider using other lining materials, such as thin knit silk or cotton undergarments, or perhaps even woven nylon or polyester pant liners to prevent irritation.