Dr. Eve Lupenko provides tips on how to moisturize during winter
The most common complaint my dermatology patients have during winter is dry, flaky skin, particularly of hands and lips. The most common reason is lack of humidity in the air. Forced-heat ventilation also contributes, as does aging.
Careers that require over-washing lend to excessive dryness of the hands which can cause painful cracks. Also, teachers use alcohol-based sanitizing gels, and “new” parents handle diaper wipes. As a medical professional, I, personally, wash my hands at least once per patient, then go home to a house full of kids and two dogs, so I may wash upwards of 100 times per day.
So what special advice do I give? First of all, showers should be short—five minutes in and out, with warm water instead of hot. Then pat dry, and while you’re still a bit damp, within the first three minutes, apply a good moisturizer all over. Use a cream form rather than a lotion, preferably one with ceramides. One of my favorites is CeraVe cream, which works really well and is not greasy. You may need it twice per day, but try to limit showers to once. Non-soap liquid or bar cleansers are best, and try using a humidifier.
Specifically for your hands, absolutely clean for sanitary reasons, but maybe the next time you get a little bit of tomato sauce on one finger, just wipe it off instead of scrubbing both hands in hot water. When possible, stick to soap and water, and avoid sanitizing gels. Try Neutrogena Hand Cream Norwegian Formula several times per day, especially right after washing. And while you’re at it, put a tiny dab on your lips—it works better than any lip balm. Try not to lick your lips because, like elsewhere, the more you go from wet to dry, liquids that air-dry or towel-dry off will also wick moisture out of your skin, worsening your problem.
Take these tips and tricks into consideration when looking for ways to quench your dry skin this winter.
Dr. Eve Lupenko is a board-certified dermatologist with more than 20 years of experience who specializes in medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology for both adults and children. Call 516-364-8200 or visit www.greenbergcosmeticsurgery.com for more.